Posted By Lauriel O. Posted On

“Eastern Brown” The second most venomous snake in the world

The Eastern brown snake is medium-sized and is also called the common brown snake. They are of the Elapidae family and are alert, fast-moving, and highly venomous snakes.

The adult eastern brown snakes are up to 78.7 in (200 cm) long. This is known to be the second most toxic snake in the world. They have glossy and smooth scales.

They are oviparous. They are native to the south part of New Guinea and central, east, and South Australia.

In 1854, the zoologists Gabriel Bibron, Andre Marie Constant Dumeril, and Auguste Dumeril first described this species. The eastern brown snakes are brown to dark brown and are slender.

These snakes are also found in the shades of tan, olive, russet, or orange color. They are bred in captivity and are available in Australia.

The defensive displays of these snakes are sometimes misinterpreted as aggression by people. The Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) and Mulga snake (Pseudechis australis) are similar to this species.

They grow up to 2 m long and live up to seven years. Feral cats, birds of prey, and red-bellied black snakes are the predators of this snake.

They are found in human habitats as they find house mouse on agricultural lands. In New South Wales, these snakes are the second-most reported for envenoming dogs.

These eastern brown snakes are average-built and slender-bodied snakes and demarcation between their neck and the head is absent. When viewed from the top its snout is round.

The adult snakes are either russet, orange, tan to olive, dark gray-brownish to blackish, or pale to dark brown. The southern snakes are smaller than the northern snakes.

They have medium-sized orange eyes. The pupil of this snake has an orange or yellow-brown ring and the iris is black.

This snake has a dark tongue and the fangs are 0.1-0.15 in (2.8-4 mm) long and are 0.4 in (1.1 cm) apart. The underparts of the snake are pale yellow or cream.

The juvenile land snake has black bands which fade away as they age. They have a light brown snout and blackhead.

Inside their mouth, the western brown snake and northern brown snake have black skin whereas the eastern brown snake has flesh pink skin.

Another identification factor of these species is the number of scales and arrangements on their body. These Australian snakes have divided anal scale and 45-75 divided subcaudal scales.

At midbody, they have 17 rows of dorsal scales and ventral scales between 192-231. They have six supralabials and often seven sublabial scales around the mouth.

Their nasal scales are not divided and sometimes patly divided. They have two to three postocular scales around the eyes.

The diet of these Australian brown snakes includes mammals and vertebrates.

Larger snakes consume more warm-blooded prey whereas ones with smaller snout-vent lengths consume more ectothermic prey (lizards).

In over-covered spaces or captivity, they can show cannibalistic tendencies, eating snakes of about the same size as theirs.

So, their common diet includes rats, mice, frogs, reptile eggs, reptiles, and birds. They have attempted to eat a large eastern bearded dragon but they were unsuccessful.

They have good eyesight and actively hunt in search of prey in hiding places. They kill by both venom injection and suffocating the pry.

They are primarily distributed throughout Australia. Their population is high in dry and well-populated areas.

The eastern brown snake habitat includes heaths of coastal ranges across savannah woodlands, farmlands, arid scrublands, inner grasslands, and dry sclerophyll forests.

This common brown snake is found in alpine regions, open habitats, and the outskirts of urban areas. The diet of these brown snakes includes rodents so they linger around houses and farms.

These areas have rubbish, buildings, corrugated iron which these snakes use as shelter. They also make a habitat under burrows, cracks, and large rocks on the ground.

The male eastern brown snakes come out earlier in the mating season than the female eastern brown snakes.

During the southern hemisphere spring, the mating occurs between male and female eastern brown snakes.

To access the female two males combat each other. This combat looks like a pleated rope. The females mate with the most dominant male.

The development of yoking follicles in females takes place between mid-September to the end of November. Between late October to January, the females have oviducal eggs.

Females then produce 10-35 eggs, which weigh around 8 g each. The females eat only a few times when they are pregnant.

In captivity, it was observed that females coil around eggs, which can either be a recovery from labor or maternal care. Also, it was shown that the females can hold the sperm for several weeks after mating.

The eggs are placed in communal nests as a large number of eggs can be found in a rabbit warren. The eggs can take between 36-95 days to hatch, which depends on the temperature.

The babies can stay in the eggs for about four to eight hours. The eastern brown snake babies differ in patterns, but one common aspect is that they all have bands on their head and neck.

The juvenile eastern brown snake hunt and eat at night. The growth rate of these snakes is high.

As per research, these brown snakes live up to 15 years in captivity. Their lifespan in the wild is unknown.