Get to Know the Snakes in Darwin

Darwin and the wider Top End region of the Northern Territory is home to over 40 native snake species. It this article, we help you decrease your risk of a snake bite by uncovering the main identifying characteristics of seven of Darwin's most common snake species.
Darwin and the wider Top End region of the Northern Territory is home to over 40 native snake species. It this article, we help you decrease your risk of a snake bite by uncovering the main identifying characteristics of seven of Darwin's most common snake species.

The Darwin region of the Northern Territory is home to over 40 native snake species.

These snakes can range from the perfectly harmless to the virtually deadly.

Continue reading for more information about the main identifying characteristics and preferred habitats of seven of Darwin's most common snake species.

Only by increasing your awareness of snakes can you decrease your risk of a snake bite.

We also cover snake bites in our general and childcare first aid courses - head to our website to find and enrol at a training location near you, including Darwin!

Golden tree snake

  • Can grow up to 2 metres long
  • The scales on its back and sides can range from gold to yellow brown, occasionally with lighter markings - the scales on its underbelly are also lighter
  • The scales on its head and neck can range from slate grey to bluish

Golden tree snakes are frog eaters and so thrive in urban areas where there are plenty of green tree frogs, as well as trees and hollows in which they can shelter.

Though they are not venomous, they can emit a foul odour if handled firmly.

The Olive python
The Olive python

Olive python

  • Can grow up to 6.5m long
  • The scales on their back and sides are shiny and can range from olive to yellow brown
  • The scales on their underbelly can range from cream to yellow
  • They have a large, oval shaped head

These non-venomous, ground-dwelling snakes typically inhabit rocky areas and gorges, where they shelter in rocks, caves, and hollow logs and prey on birds, mammals, and other reptiles.

The Carpet python
The Carpet python

Carpet python

  • As with most pythons, they are heavy bodied, have a large head, and can grow up to several metres long
  • The patterns on their scales can vary, but typically include bands of brown, black, and cream

They can inhabit a wide range of habitats from rainforest and dry woodland to suburban backyards and highly disturbed farmland, where they mostly feed on mammals.

Though they are not venomous, they can bite if provoked and cause significant lacerations or punctures.

The Water python
The Water python

Water python

  • Can grow up to 2.5 metres long
  • The scales on their back and sides have a rainbow sheen and can range from dark olive to black
  • The scales on their underbelly can range from dull to bright yellow

Water pythons are non-venomous, semi-aquatic, and generally encountered close to rivers, creeks, and other freshwater sources. Here, they prey on a variety of animals, including rats, wallabies, and water birds.

The Slaty grey snake
The Slaty grey snake

Slaty grey snake

  • Can grow up to 2 metres long
  • The scales on their back and sides are shiny and can range from deep brown to a dark grey or charcoal
  • The scales on their underbelly can range from white to cream

The Slatey grey snake is generally found in moist forests and open grass and woodlands with floodplains. Here, they shelter beneath rocks, logs, and leaf litter and prey on mammals, birds, and frogs.

Though they are not venomous, they can react aggressively and emit a foul odour if disturbed.

The Death adder
The Death adder

Death adder

  • They have a short, stubby body that can grow up to 1.2 metres long
  • They have a broad head with raised ridges above the eyes
  • The scales on their back and sides can be variable in colour with contrasting bands
  • The scales on their underbelly can range from cream to grey

Death adders are common in forests, woodlands, and heath, where they cover themselves with leaves to ambush frogs, lizards, and birds.

They are highly venomous snakes - in fact, before the introduction of antivenom, 60% of their bites to humans were fatal.

The King brown or Mulga snake
The King brown or Mulga snake

King brown (Mulga snake)

  • Can grow up to 2.5 metres long
  • The scales on their back and sides are large, defined, and can vary greatly from a pale brown to a rich reddish brown
  • The scales on their underbelly can range from cream to white

The Mulga snake can occur in a broad range of habitats, from closed tropical monsoon forest to sandy desert. Here, they shelter in disused animal burrows, soil cracks, and under large rocks and feed mostly on vertebrate prey.

They are considered dangerous snakes, as their venom is highly toxic and can disrupt nerve, muscle, and red blood cells.

First aid

It is important to remember, snakes of the same species can vary dramatically in colour, pattern, and size.

As such, all snake bites should be treated as venomous until proven otherwise by a doctor at a hospital.

To learn how to identify and manage a snake bite, head to our article on snake bite first aid. And if you need a snake relocated from your property, contact a professional snake catcher.

Final thoughts

We also cover snake bites in our general and childcare first aid courses.

Our training locations can be found in every state, capital city, and major town throughout Australia, including Darwin.

Head to our website to find and enrol at a training location near you.

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