EASTERN BROWN SNAKE Pseudonaja textilis (Dumeril, Bibron, and Dumeril, 1854)
A swift moving close relative of the Western Brown Snake Pseudonaja nuchalis, the two species are easily confused, and commonly occur in the same areas. The Eastern Brown snake has a flesh coloured buccal cavity, as opposed to a blackish colour found in the Western Brown Snake. The 1.6 metre, highly dangerous Eastern Brown Snake is found throughout the eastern half of Australia, its' distribution becoming patchier as one moves westwards. The colour of this snake ranges from near white, through various colours to jet black. Some black specimens result from a specific allele (type of gene), and black and non-black specimens may result from a single clutch of eggs. Juveniles from the coast of NSW are strongly banded (see photo), whilst those from elsewhere typically have markings on the head only (see photo). In both cases, these markings usually fade with age. In 'borderline areas' both banded and unbanded snakes may emerge from the same clutch of eggs.
The scalation is smooth with 17 mid body rows, 85-235 ventrals, divided anal, and 45-75 divided subcaudals.
This species has extremely toxic venom, but fortunately it's biting apparatus is not as well developed as in most other deadly snakes. It injects relatively little venom in most bites and it's fangs are relatively short, although they can still easily penetrate the skin. Brown snakes are fast moving and potentially highly aggressive. When aroused a Brown Snake will hold it's neck high, slightly flattened in an S-shape and strike repeatedly at it's aggressor. This snake will occasionally chase an aggressor away, striking at it at every opportunity.
The diurnal Eastern Brown Snake is most common in dry grassy country with scattered ground cover, but occurs in all types of habitat. When resting this snake utilizes any available cover, but is particularly fond of man made cover in the form of sheets of metal, etc. Diet is varied, but introduced pest rodents are a preferred item.
This species has large winter aggregations, with one consisting of 30 individuals being found near Sydney, NSW. These aggregations are maintained in spring for mating purposes. Males which are often the larger sex, also engage in combat. 10-30 eggs are produced in summer, which hatch about 80 days later. Hatchlings measure about 27 cm.
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.
The photo below is of Pseudonaja elliotti which was described in 2003. Click on it to go to the original paper naming this taxa.