RED BELLIED BLACK SNAKE Pseudechis porphyriacus (Shaw, 1794)
This distinctive dangerous snake is found in wetter parts of southeast and eastern Australia. It is found along all parts of the Murray-Darling river system. It averages 1.5 metres although specimens (usually males) over 2 metres are known.
The scalation is smooth with 17 mid body rows, 180-210 ventrals, divided
anal, and 40-65 single and divided subcaudals.
Although the Red Bellied Black Snake has killed people, its' venom is not nearly as potent as is widely believed. Typical symptoms of this snakes' bite are, much local pain and swelling, nausea and general sickness. Fortunately this snake is very inoffensive and rarely bites.
When agitated and cornered it may flatten its' neck and raise its' head not unlike a Cobra Naja naja .
In Queensland this species has been decimated by the introduced Cane Toad Bufo marinus. This diurnal snake is most commonly found in the vicinity of water, which it may frequently enter in search of its food. An opportunistic feeder, it feeds mainly on frogs, lizards and small mammals, although it has been known to climb trees presumably in search of birds.
Springtime aggregations of this snake occur, as does male combat. When fighting one another, Black Snakes are effectively oblivious to all that goes on around them. Rarely if ever do they harm one another from combat.
In summer from 8 to 30 live young are born in membraneous sacs, from which they emerge minutes after birth. Newborns measure about 18 cm.
In captivity this species is easy to maintain, being a voracious feeder and resistant to ailments.
The above was from the book Australian Reptiles and Frogs by Raymond Hoser and now available on a fantastic CD-Rom along with a vast amount of other information, papers and the like on reptiles, frogs and other wildlife.