Coral Snake Simoselaps australis

Snakes of Victoria series

Identification

The Coral Snake, Simoselaps australis, is a rich brick red snake with numerous dark brown and yellow-flecked cross-bands. The head has a dark band across the eyes and there is a dark collar. The rostral scale on the head has developed a sharp edge, apparently to facilitate movement through the soil. It has 17 rows of mid-body scales, a divided anal scale and 15-30 divided subcaudal scales. Total length up to about 40 cm.

Photo of Coral Snake

Coral Snake
Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd

Distribution and habitat

Within Victoria, the Coral Snake is restricted to the mallee areas of the north-west, where it burrows through the soil.

Biology and bite

Active at night, the Coral Snake feeds mainly on the eggs of small lizards. Females lay 4-6 eggs.

The Coral Snake is venomous, but not considered dangerous to adults. If bitten on a limb, apply a pressure bandage, immobilise the limb and seek medical advice immediately. If bitten elsewhere, apply continual direct pressure to the bite site. Do not wash the wound as the venom can confirm the identification of the snake.

Further Reading

Coventry, A. J. and Robertson, P. 1991. The Snakes of Victoria – A Guide to their Identification. Department of Conservation & Environment/Museum of Victoria.

Cogger, H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books.

Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.

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