You may think you know everything that you need to know to stay safe from snakes, but the truth is that there are a lot of misnomers and misconceptions floating around out there that could result in some very dangerous situations if allowed to go uncorrected.
For instance, if you take the infamous common brown snake.
The name of the species, “brown snake,” could lead you to believe that a brown snake can be identified by the fact that it is brown in color when in fact brown snakes are highly varied in their appearances and can range in color from black, white and many shades in between.
This picture shows a pile of brown snakes, all which wear a different color on their scales.
“Why is this important” you might ask? The answer is that brown snakes are the second most venomous land snakes in all the world, second only to the Indian Taipan, meaning one bite that is untreated can mean almost certain death.
The brown snake which is common in Dubbo is certainly an efficient killer.
Luckily, with prompt treatment, a brown snake’s venom can be neutralized and the victim of the bite can survive. For this reason, brown snake related deaths in Australia have greatly decreased in recent times.
That said, these fellas are not to be trifled with, so learning a bit about them, how to react in the event of being bitten or even more desirably, how to avoid them all together are bits of knowledge that could potentially save a life.
Firstly, as mentioned above, the brown snake comes in many variations of size and color. They can be black, white, cream colored, brown, tan or orange. Their bellies are often a lighter tan or orange color with speckles of darker colored spots.
On average, a brown snake ranges in size between three and five feet, though they can get grow to be over 8 feet long in extreme instances.
If bitten, seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Using the standard pressure immobilization methods are a good Idea to help thwart the spread of the venom through the body, particularly to the heart.
It’s also not a good idea to wash the bite with soap and water until after the appropriate antivenoms have been administered, as traces of venom left over from the bite can help medical professionals to identify the species of snake and therefore know which antivenom to use.
This is especially important as you might confuse a black brown snake with a red bellied black snake if a bite happens quickly. Panic can make identification difficult.
Despite the fact the brown snake is venomous and dangerous, Australian law actually prohibits the killing or capture of these creatures. Due to the unnatural introduction of rodents into the region of Australia, brown snakes play an important role in the region’s ecosystem by feeding on the rodents and helping to keep their numbers in check.
This makes it a species of snake that finds itself on the government’s protected list, so if you do see one, you’re better off just leaving it completely alone or avoiding it as much as possible. You can also find a local snake catcher on this website here.
The brown snake is just one of the many venomous and dangerous creatures that are indigenous to Australia, so learn the lay of the land, be aware of your surroundings and be careful out there!
The image used in this post was taken by Bryan Robinson from Snake Catchers Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold Coast & Toowoomba. They’re all dead and were collected over a few months and frozen until he had enough for the photo.