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A guy on another forum made these disparaging remarks about our elapids.

His comment was:
Just the other day I told a visiting Australian what a pity it is that most of the snakes in Oz, while certainly very interesting, are also quite drab-colored and (dare I say it?) boring to look at.

I decided to reply and thought that some of you would enjoy these pics as well. I am sure that you will agree that we have plenty of brilliantly coloured snakes that are various shades of olive, brown and grey. Actually, we do have a few beauties but I suppose that most of our elapids tend to be more subtly coloured and more refined than their ostentatious cousins in the New World.

Northern Death Adder (Acanthophis praelongus): Cooktown, QLD. These are interesting little snakes that will flatten themselves when alarmed. They normally hide within leaf litter and then use their brightly coloured tail tips as a lure to try and attract small animals.

Desert Death Adder (Acanthophis pyrrhus): Great Sandy Desert, WA.

Pilbara Death Adder (Acanthophis wellsi): North West Cape, WA. A recently described species with a tiny range in the Pilbara and also at North West Cape, WA.

Highland Copperhead (Austrelaps ramsayi): I found this in the southern highlands near Wollongong. They have a great display and will elevate the head and flatten their necks when alarmed.

Australian Coral Snake (Brachyurophis australis): Windorah, Qld and Fowler's Gap, NSW. Reptile egg specialist.

Northwestern Shovel-nosed Snake (Brachyurophis approximans): North West Cape. Reptile egg specialist.

Unbanded Shovel-nosed Snake (Brachyurophis incinctus): Windorah, QLD. Reptile egg specialist.

Southern Shovel-nosed Snake (Brachyurophis semifasciatus): Kalbarri, WA and Kimba, SA. Reptile egg specialist.

Golden-crowned Snake (Cacophis squamulosus): Wollongong, NSW. These are one of my favourites due to their ferocious bluffs. I sometimes see them in my yard here in the suburbs but they are more common on warm humid nights up in the hills.

White-crowned Snake (Cacophis harriettae): Mt. Glorious, QLD.

Northern Dwarf Crowned Snake (Cacophis churchilli): Bartle Frere, QLD. This one was quite amusing. It lifted and would strike ... but usually the wrong direction away from me.

Eastern Small-eyed Snake (Cryptophis nigrescens): Wollongong, NSW, Mt. Glorious, QLD. These snakes usually seem placid by day but are much more active and defensive at night. They tend to move with quick bursts of speed and can change position in an instant.

Carpentaria Snake (Cryptophis boschmai): Chillagoe, QLD.

Yellow-faced Whipsnake (Demansia psammophis): Dharawal and Nowra, NSW.

Collared Whipsnake (Demansia torquata): Jourama Falls, QLD.

De Vis' Banded Snake (Denisonia devisi): Brigalow, QLD and Brewarrina, NSW.

White-lipped Snake (Drysdalia coronoides): Mt. Wellington and Mt. Field, TAS.

Mustard-bellied Snake (Drysdalia rhodogaster): Wollongong, NSW.

Bardick (Echiopsis curta): southwestern WA.

Western Crowned Snake (Elapognathus coronatus): southwestern WA.

Brown-headed Snake (Furina tristis): Iron Range, QLD. One of the largest members of Furina. It initially thrashed about on the road and was difficult to approach for photos.

Red-naped Snake (Furina diadema): NSW and QLD. I like the display of these snakes. They slowly elevate the head and neck while slowing flicking their tongues.

Orange-naped Snake (Furina ornata): North West Cape, WA. These are similar to the Red-naped Snakes but are larger and found in the northern half of Australia.

Marsh Snake (Hemiaspis signata): NSW and QLD.

Stephen's Banded Snake (Hoplocephalus stephensii): Mt. Glorious, QLD. Although not brightly coloured, they have an interesting pattern and great display.

Broad-headed Snake (Hoplocephalus bungaroides): I unfortunately did not see this snake. The photo was taken by a friend while a group of us were backpacking in mountains on the south coast of NSW. The snake was sliding down a boulder during a cool, autumn day.

Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus): Wollongong, NSW. Final shot was of an snake from Margaret River, WA.

Fierce Snake (Oxyuranus microlepidotus): Windorah, Qld. This would still be one of the highlights from all of my herping trips. It is a special species and lives in such a harsh, bleak habitat.

Dwyer's Snake (Parasuta dwyeri): Qld and NSW.

Ringed Brown Snake (Pseudonaja modesta): Shark Bay, WA and Gundabooka, NSW.

Speckled Brown Snake (Pseudonaja guttata): Windorah, QLD. Quite a different threat display to Eastern Brown Snakes. These flattened their necks and slowly swayed from side to side.

Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis): Dharawal and Royal NP, NSW.

Gwardar (Pseudonaja nuchalis): Geraldton and Goldfields, WA. Both are DOR. I have seen live animals on the road at night but they are fast and highly defensive snakes that are difficult to safely photograph.

Mulga Snake (Pseudechis australis): Cape York, Windorah, WLD and Karijini, WA.

Red-bellied Blacksnake (Pseudechis porphyriacus): All of these photos are of snakes from NSW.

Spotted Blacksnake (Pseudechis guttatus): Warrumbungles, NSW.

Square-nosed Snake (Rhinoplocephalus bicolor): southwestern WA.

Jan's Banded Snake (Simoselaps bertholdi): Kimba, SA.

West Coast Banded Snake (Simoselaps littoralis): Shark Bay, WA.

Desert Banded Snake (Simoselaps anomalus): Great Sandy Desert, WA.

Rosen's Snake (Suta fasciata): Karijini and Goldfields, WA.

Curl Snake (Suta suta): NSW and QLD.

Rough-scaled Snake (Tropidechis carinatus): Mt. Glorious and Atherton Tablelands (final pic), QLD.

Bandy Bandy (Vermicella annulata): NSW and QLD. These snakes have one of the most amazing displays. They will form stiff coils and then drop to the ground and crawl quickly before again forming the coils.



Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
Spectacular post, wow. I love the WA Bardick! I have never seen one in the flesh and they look very different from ours from the east.

You simply can't deny though, that one the whole, the snakes from over there, including the typical wild specimens, tend to be much more brilliantly coloured than ours. The very first snake I ever found in the northern hemisphere (in Florida) was bright blood red, jet black and pure white, in bands (imagine adding vivid blood red bands to a Bandy Bandy). I wasn't targetting that species, I just hired a car, asked a local where I might see some snakes, was pointed towards a wet area, went for a drive, and that's the first thing I happened to find. The next thing I found was a bright orange Corn Snake marked in black and yellow. We have some spectacular snakes as you've shown, but when it comes to colour, we are the underdogs overall.


Almost Legendary
Awesome pics thanks a heap. Excuse my ignorance but what does DOR mean.
DOR = dead on road
I like the subtle colours of our snakes.
Those fancy bright ones from abroad are of course going to get the most attention.
Fantastic set of pics david, thanks.


Very Well-Known Member
Is the Western Crowned snake Elapognathus Coronatus the same as the Crowned snake Drysdalia Coronata.


Very Well-Known Member
You have to admit, if you scroll down this page quickly, all you see is brown :(
I do agree that our elapids are quite dull, and probably even more boring to look at while in captivity.

Sock Puppet

Very Well-Known Member
Great pics Moloch, love the Broad Headed, one of my holy grails to find for sure.
Those banded snakes are fantastic too!


I think elapids in general are pretty dull, drab and patternless. Vipers is where the colour and pattern is at.


Very Well-Known Member
Nothing wrong with the simoselaps species when it comes to colour.
They (New worldies), may have the colour but we have the venom! Lol!


Well-Known Member
Thanks, all.

The Bardicks were common in the southwest corner of WA. I saw 8 one cool, windy evening along a road through heathland. Conditions did not seem good but the snakes were still active.

Drysdalia coronoides is different. In the guides that I use, Drysdalia coronoides is known as White-lipped Snake (included in my pics).

Colletts is a difficult one. I visited its habitat earlier this year but I think that there would be a better chance of seeing one now during the wet.

The Desert Banded Snake was beautiful and small. It also would not stop moving. This was one of my first snake photos and I had lots to learn about the camera and the subjects. I photographed this one on the road since it could vanish in an instant when it reached the sand.

Thanks, chickensnake, dtulip, kronky, slither, Baz, Duke, Tonsky, waruikazi and cement.

I tend to think of our drab elapids as more interesting than the brightly coloured Corals. There is no need for wussy warning colours here in Australia. Also, no need for the "deceitful" species that claim they are something that they aren't. ;-)

Seriously, though, I do admire the vivid colour and pattern of Micrurus and hope to see and photograph some of these (and pit vipers, waruikazi) a little later this summer.



Very Well-Known Member
my guide has the crowned snake ( not western crowned snake) listed as belonging to the Genus Drysdalia i can not find a western crowned snake in my guides is it possible that it has been moved from one genus to the next, your picture of the western crowned snake looks near identical to the picture in my guide including the white lip. It amazes me the similarities between some of our snakes and although not the most colourful i think they are far from drab. Your pics are awesome


Very Well-Known Member
Great elapid photos! Love the golden-crowneds. Anyone keeping/breeding these pm me.



my guide has the crowned snake ( not western crowned snake) listed as belonging to the Genus Drysdalia i can not find a western crowned snake in my guides is it possible that it has been moved from one genus to the next, your picture of the western crowned snake looks near identical to the picture in my guide including the white lip. It amazes me the similarities between some of our snakes and although not the most colourful i think they are far from drab. Your pics are awesome

I'd say your feild guide is out of date. Which one do you use? A copy of the latest Wilson and Swan is pretty handy and comprehensive.
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