The Little Whip Snake, Rhinoplocephalus flagellum, is a small brown, black-headed species usually with a narrow pale bar across the snout, no vertebral stripe and an unmarked white belly. It has 17 rows of mid-body scales, a single anal scale and 15-40 single subcaudal scales. It has a total length of up to 50cm.
This snake may be confused with a juvenile Brown Snake, however juvenile Brown Snakes have dark collars.
Little Whip Snake
Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd
Distribution and habitat
The Little Whip Snake is found throughout south-western, central and north-eastern Victoria and is common on the basalt plains in the western suburbs of Melbourne. It prefers eucalypt woodland and associated grasslands, particularly stony hills, and is found sheltering under rocks and logs.
Biology and bite
Active at night, its diet consists of small lizards. Females give birth to as many as 7 live young.
The Little Whip Snake is not considered to be dangerous to adults. Envenomation will cause only minor swelling, unless the victim experiences an allergic reaction to the venom. 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.
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.