Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Small eyes watch the bite

Moving some matting that was on the ground to use in the garden I uncovered a small snake (about 50cm long) which twisted and turned and tried to look quite aggressive. My thought was that I had disturbed a small Red-bellied Black Snake but it did not react as I would have expected. I manage to get a photo ( although not too good) before it dashed for cover.

I thought to check the identification and after doing a few comparisons and reading descriptions I believe it was in fact an Eastern Small Eyed Snake Cryptophis nigrescens, which can be confused with a Red Belly but the slight variation in colour and the aggressive and thrashing movements agreed with the patterns noted for the Eastern Small Eyed Snake.
As the common name suggests they are found down the east of Australia and are mainly nocturnal hunters spending their days under bark, stones etc (matting). Even though they are a small snake they are in the dangerous category with at least one fatality attributed to a bite from one.


  1. First hing I think of when the subject of an Ozzie Snake comes up is - POISONOUS!

    Your country is alot like my former home in the southwestern USA, there all all manner of things that will either stick you - stab you - or bite you.


    1. Welcome and thank you for the comment. Although we have lots of poisonous snakes spiders etc most are not aggressive and generally keep out of your way.

  2. I have a friend who monitors one of these "Small-eyed Snakes" which lives under various sheets of old Galvanised Iron in a public reserve.
    No red edges to belly, on yours, so ID probably right.
    Nice find.

    1. Thanks Denis for the ID support; it is quite hard at times to be sure of the identity when you only get a quick glimpse and there are a few similar coloured species.