Small-eyed Snake

Cryptophis nigrescens

Small-eyed Snake (Cryptophis nigrescens) Small-eyed Snake, Cryptophis nigrescens. Cryptophis nigrescens distribution

Identification:

The Small-eyed Snake has a glossy dark grey to black back.  The belly is commonly pink with a line of dark grey spots, but can be cream with grey blotches. This species grows to 1 metre.  Midbody scale rows 15; ventrals 165–210; anal single; subcaudals single 30–45.

Distribution:

Found in eastern Australia, from southern Cape York Peninsula (Queensland) south to Victoria.

Habitat:

Lives in rainforests, wet and dry eucalypt forests and heaths, agricultural and grazing lands.  This species is common in suburban Brisbane having benefitted from well-mulched, well-watered gardens.

Habits:

Active by night and shelters beneath rocks, logs and the bark of fallen trees during the day.

Danger:

A dangerously venomous snake with strongly myotoxic venom.  This species has been responsible for one human death.  If bitten, apply first aid and seek urgent medical attention.  First aid procedure for any snakebite from the Australian Venom Research Unit.

Food:

Feeds in the litter layer on lizards and their eggs, small snakes and, rarely, frogs.

Breeding:

Gives birth to up to 8 live young between October and April.  The newborn snakes are around 15 cm from the tip of the snout to the base of the tail (snout-vent length).

Similar species:

Similar to the Red-bellied Black snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus), which is more robust and has larger head and eyes, and obvious red on lower flanks.  It can also be mistaken for dark Carpentaria Snakes, Cryptophis boschmai.

Small-eyed Snake (Cryptophis nigrescens) Small-eyed Snake, Cryptophis nigrescens; note the small eyes of this nocturnal species.

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