COMMON or EASTERN BROWN SNAKE:
The Brown Snake has a narrow head in apperance, with a slender body. the colour may range from beige to silver, cream, brown, light tan to orange, dark brown and some times even black.
This reptile is "Oviparous" (egg laying), producing from 10-30 eggs. The eggs hatch from January through to April (however in early November 2011, three (3) newly hatched juveniles were located in the southern suburbs of Adelaide - still having their milk skin & umbilical cord attached? A rare happening - maybe due to the unseasonal weather conditions of the past few years). The hatchling snakes are approximatly 22cm (8 1/2") in length, uniform brown in colour and are distinguished by a dark brown to black head and neck, with a redish/orange/brown band, about 5mm wide. Due to colour banding this snake is sometimes referred to as a "Diamond headed snake". The hatchlings can sometimes also emerge from the egg with dark brown bands running across the body, with having a few or multiple cross bands. The black head markings & banding fade as the snake grows, becoming all one colour by the time the snake reaches 60cms.
The Common/Eastern Brown Snake grows to an average length of around 1.4 metres but has been found at 2.4 metres. This snake is found throughout most of the eastern half of Australia. The venom that the Brown Snake carries is said to be the second (2nd) most toxic venom of all land snakes world wide, the first being the Australian Inland Tiapan. The brown snake is considered Dangerous to man. Bites from this species of snake have caused death within minutes, rather than hours or days, with even a juvenile (new born) potentially delivering enough venom in a single bite - to kill 20 adults. Today, brown snakes are responsible for most of the fatalities from snakebite - per year. Even a slight scratch which has broken the top layer of skin can be the cause of a fatality - it doesn't have to be a full on bite to cause envenomation. As snakes have other teeth both top & bottom as well as front fangs, a bite may appear as light scratches to multiple puncture marks - not just two fang marks.
The Common/Eastern Brown Snake is found extremely widespread throughout most of Adelaide and it's suburbs. As our suburbs have grown and overtaken land that wildlife once occupied, some species of wildlife has adapted and learnt to live with us, whilst some have perished. With humans allowing mice and rats to breed around our homes, in the roof or in the unturned compost heap, the brown snake has learnt to live off of & with us with populations expanding more each year!
In suburbia, the diet of a brown snake would consist of mice, small rats, lizards - even sizable blue tongue lizards, birds nestling in low lying areas and if extremely hungary - frogs. Brown snakes have also been known to be cannibalistic.
Why would a snake want to live in harsh & lean conditions in the bush when humans supply an endless oasis & paradise for them to live - around our homes?
To help make your premises more snake unfriendly, especially around the home, you can,
1/ Stack firewood, timber, iron etc; at least 15 > 20cms; up off the ground, removing the secure places that snakes like to hide in & rodents love to breed in. In sheds, garages carports etc; use shelving in stead of having thing laying around on the ground.
2/ Keep lawns, weeds and other long grasses cut to a minimum level. Prune shrubs and low lying branches up off the ground. Keep ground covers to a minimum, especially around mossrocks.
3/ Turn compost heaps regularly to help prevent rodents breeding in them. Store dog/cat bsicuits, bird seed etc; in sealed containers, instead of supplying a regular food source for rodents.
4/ Prevent rodents from breeding in, out or around your property, including in the roof space. Use rodent baits placed where children and pets can't reach. Change the bait on a regular basis to keep it fresh.
5/ Use a torch to light the pathway if needed, when walking around the home on a warm evening.
6/ Don't put your hands where you can't see, use good leather gloves especially when gardening.
When feeling threatened the brown snake can move with lightening speed, sometimes striking multiple times. This snake must be considered dangerous to man at all times.
An Adult Eastern Brown Snake of 1.4mts:
A juvenile (baby) eastern brown snake against a five (5) cent piece to give a size comparison: