Pale-headed Snake

Hoplocephalus bitorquatus

Pale-headed Snake (Hoplocephalus bitorquatus) Pale-headed Snake, Hoplocephalus bitorquatus
Photograph by Steve Wilson.

Identification:

The Pale-headed Snake is grey to dark grey.  The head is distinctly marked with black blotches and has a pale grey band across the nape.  The hind edge of the nape band is black.  The lips are marked by dark vertical dashes.  The belly is cream to grey.  This species grows to 80 cm. Midbody scale rows 21; ventrals 190–225, anal single; subcaudals single 40–65.

Distribution:

Found in central eastern Australia, from Mareeba (north-eastern Queensland) to mid-eastern New South Wales; common on the Darling Downs and near Brisbane (Beaudesert, Brisbane Valley, Caboolture).

Habitat:

Lives in wet and dry eucalypt forests and woodlands.  It is often found near watercourses.

Habits:

This species is active by night and climbs well.

Danger:

A potentially dangerous species.  The venom is poorly-known and haemotoxic.  A serious human envenomation has been reported.  If bitten, apply first aid and seek urgent medical attention.  First aid procedure for any snakebite from the Australian Venom Research Unit.

Food:

Feeds on frogs, reptiles and small mammals.

Breeding:

Gives birth to live young (up to 17) in January and February.

Similar species:

The only similar species is the unpatterned form of Stephens’ Banded snake (Hoplocephalus stephensii), which also occurs in south-eastern Queensland.

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