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Red-bellied Black Snake
The Red Bellied Black Snake, Pseudechis porphyriacus, is a venomous species of elapid snake native to eastern Australia. Though its venom is capable of causing significant morbidity, it is not generally fatal and less poisonous than other deadly Australian snakes. It is common in woodlands, forests and swamplands of eastern Australia. It is one of Australia's best known snakes, as it is common in urban areas along the East Coast of Australia.
The Red-bellied is glossy black on the dorsal surface and a brilliant red or crimson colour on the ventral surface. The snout is often a lighter brown colour. It is a relatively large species of snake reaching about 1.5m to 2.5m. Like all Elapid snakes it is front fanged. It has 17 mid-body scale rows. It looks similar to the Eastern Small-eyed Snake.
Distribution and habitat
The Red-bellied Black Snake is native to the east coast of Australia. The Red-bellied Black Snake can be found in the urban forest, woodland, plains and bushland areas of Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. It is most commonly seen close to dams, streams, billabongs and other water systems.
This is generally not an aggressive species. However, when provoked, it will recoil into its striking stance as a threat, but will try to escape at the first opportunity. It is active by day and night. When not hunting or basking it may be found beneath timber, under rocks or down holes and burrows.
The Red-bellied Black Snake's diet consists primarily of frogs, but it also preys on reptiles and small mammals. They also eat other snakes, including those of their own species. The introduction of the cane toad has caused problems for the red-bellied black snake. Many snakes have been fatally poisoned while trying to eat the toxic toad.
Although the Red-bellied Black Snake is docile, it will strike if provoked. Bites from Red-bellied Black Snakes are potentially lethal and require immediate medical attention. Tiger Snake antivenom is used to treat bites from red-bellied black snakes. While black snake antivenom can be used, tiger snake antivenom can be used at a lower dose. The smaller dose is cheaper to produce, and is less likely to cause a reaction in the patient. The Red-bellied Black Snake (when compared to other Australian species) is comparatively low in relative toxicity.
Unlike the other members of the black snake genus, Red-bellied Black Snakes give birth to live young, in individual membranous sacs. The young emerge from their sacs very shortly after birth, numbering between 8 to 40, and which have an average length of about 22 cm.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Red-bellied_Black_Snake". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|