Western Brown Snake

Pseudonaja nuchalis

Western Brown Snake (Pseudonaja nuchalis) A black-headed form of the Western Brown Snake, Pseudonaja nuchalis.
Photograph by Angus Emmott.
Pseudonaja nuchalis distribution


The Western Brown Snakes is highly variable in colour pattern. The back can be any shade of brown and may be plain but is often patterned with darker flecks or bands. The head may be brown or black and the belly is cream with orange or grey spotting. Juveniles may be plain or banded but usually have distinctive head markings consisting of a black blotch on the crown and a dark neck band. This species grows to 1.6 metres. Midbody scale rows 17–19; ventrals180–230; anal divided; subcaudals divided 50–70.


Found over most of mainland Australia but absent from wetter parts of eastern Australia, and south-western Western Australia.


Lives in dry open forests, grasslands and scrublands.


This species is active by day but may be nocturnal in hot weather.


A dangerously venomous species with neurotoxic and haemotoxic venom. If bitten, apply first aid and seek urgent medical attention. First aid procedure for any snakebite from the Australian Venom Research Unit.


Feeds mainly on mammals and lizards but frogs, snakes and reptile eggs are also taken.


Mating activity occurs from spring to midsummer and eggs are laid between November and February. The hatchlings are around 21 cm from the tip of the snout to the base of the tail (snout-vent length).

Similar species:

Some colour forms of the Western Brown Snake are similar to those of the Eastern Brown snake. Black-headed specimens may resemble Black-headed Pythons (Aspidites melanocephalus). Juveniles may resemble Red-naped snakes (Furina diadema), Orange-naped snakes (Furina ornata), Grey snakes (Hemiaspis damelii), Dwyer’s snake (Parasuta dwyeri) or Curl snakes (Suta suta).

Additional Information:

Pseudonaja nuchalis, as currently recognised, is made up of several species - the taxonomic boundaries for these are still being resolved.

Western Brown Snake (Pseudonaja nuchalis) One of the many colour forms of the Western Brown Snake.

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