The White-lipped Snake, Drysdalia coronoides, is readily identifiable by the presence of a conspicuous white stripe along the upper lip. The back colour is variable, from brick-red, through to olive-green or dark grey, while the belly is usually a salmon pink colour. It has 15 rows of mid-body scales, a single anal scale and 38-67 single subcaudal scales. This is a small species with a total length of less than 50 cm.
White-lipped SnakePhotographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd
The White-lipped Snake is quite common in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and occurs throughout the forested areas of southern Victoria, often in wetter habitats.
While active day and night, the White-lipped Snake is rarely seen, preferring areas of heavy cover. It is usually encountered basking in the sun. Its diet consists of small lizards and occasionally frogs. Females produce 3-10 live young in late summer.
The White-lipped Snake is not usually dangerous to humans.
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.
Hi Diana, Tiger Snakes will feed on frogs, tadpoles, fish, lizards, birds, mammals, carrion and even invertebrates. Depending on the location and habitat, their strongest preference is for frogs, followed by birds and mammals. They will also take snakes smaller than themselves, up to 300g (and White Lipped Snakes fall well within this range). Whilst it's possible the Tiger Snake will eat the White Lipped Snakes, it sounds like there are plenty of other prey in your area that they would prefer.
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Hi Andre, thanks for the question. We have chatted with the Herpetologist and she is not an expert on the venom of snakes, she has suggested that the Australian Venom Research Unit will be able to answer this question definitively, as they are the experts in this field.
Hi Jane, the Australian Venom Research Unit are the people to ask about the potency of venom. You can find contact details here.
Hi Laura, as it says in our infosheet above, the white-lipped snake is very common. It's not threatened in the wild.
Hi Rick, consider joining a Herpetologist Society, such as the Australian Herpetological Society. You can find contact details here: http://www.ahs.org.au/
Hi Penny. As white-lipped snakes are famously small (many sites advertise their maximum length as 40 cms) you may have seen a different species, while walking. There are photographs of various Victorian snake species that you can consult at our bioinformatics website. Do you any of them look familiar?
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Hi Derek, please see our replies to Kathy on the 26th January 2014 and Meredith on the 5th September 2012 regarding brown snakes on properties.