Image copyright Cogger, 1992.
Description: With the exception of the King Brown or
Mulga Snake, which can be as large as ten feet, black snakes are roughly
5 to 6.5 feet in length. They can range from an irredescent black
to black with yellow or red spotting patterns. The King Brown Snake
can range from copper to dark grey-brown. All snakes of this genus
resemble racers though they have three to four inches of the anterior portion
of the neck widened like that of a cobra, which they can spread in a threat
display (Cogger 1992)
Distribution: The King Brown Snake has the widest
distribution, as it is found everywhere but southernmost Australia.
The other four species of this genus are found mainly in eastern Australia,
with the exception of Collett's Snake, which is found in western Australia.
Habit: The "Black" Snakes are the most abundant
of Australia's large and dangerous snake species. They are diurnal,
but like the Tiger Snake, become nocturnal in hot weather. They eat
small mammals, reptiles (including other snakes), and frogs. All
but one species, porphyriacus, whose young are born in membranous
sacs from which they emerge within an hour after birth, are oviparous (Cogger
1992). A typical litter is 10-12 young, with porphyriacus
again being the exception; its young number 8-40. When aggrevated
members of this genus elevate their heads, flatten their necks, make biting
movements and strike repeatedly. If a strike is successful, snakes
will clamp down and chew. Black Snake venom is less toxic than most
other dangerous Australian species, and the average yield is 19.2 mg (Ditmars
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