Red-bellied black snake
This individual snake was basking in the sun during Easter, on the eastern side of the dam at the Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve.
The black top, with red side scales and cream underbody suggests red-belly and this is confirmed by the 17 rows of midbody scales. Its dark iris is round and its paler nose suggests juvenile. Adult red-bellied black snakes tend to have a brown tip to their snout.
The red-belly maintains a body temperature of between 28 to 31 °C by shifting backwards and forwards between the sun and the shade. They are most active in the spring during the mating season and their time in the open declines after that.
Associated with moist habitats such as swamps, wet sclerophyll forest, and grasslands, the pseudechis porphyriacus is mainly a daylight hunter (diurnal), feeding on frogs, tadpoles, lizards, other snakes, and small mammals.
They give birth to live young and when they are young face predation by birds such as kookaburras, frogs, other snakes and even red-backed spiders. The young snakes have a full load of venom and whilst this snake is venomous, it is not regarded as aggressive, preferring to freeze or flee.
References and further information
Australia Venom Research Unit, University of Melbourne (2012) Red-Bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus) http://www.avru.org/general/general_redbellied.html
Beatson, C. Australian Museum (2013) Animal Species: Red-bellied Black Snake http://australianmuseum.net.au/Red-bellied-Black-Snake
Glover, R., ABC (24 June 2009) Self Improvement Wednesday – the life cycle of the Red Belly Black Snake http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2009/06/24/2607346.htm
Street, P. (21 January 2009) Mind your step – Red-bellied Black Snakes! Pete’s wildlife Blog http://peterstreet.com.au/blog/?p=47
Wilson, S. & Swan, G. (2008) A Complete Guide to Reptiles. New Holland Publishers: Chatswood