|The common or eastern brown snake is active mostly by day, except in very hot weather. It feeds on rats, mice, birds, lizards and other snakes and is therefore attracted to barns and farms. It prefers dry country to swampy areas. The brown snake lays from 10 to 35 eggs. The young brown snakes are banded in dark grey or black, and have a broad band on the back of their heads. By three years of age, the bands disappear, and the adult is usually uniform in colour, ranging through light or dark brown, orange-yellow or even black. The shape is streamlined, and the head is not distinct.|
Photo: R. Lowe, AVRU
The eastern brown snake is found throughout the eastern half of Australia, with the exception of Tasmania. It has also been reported in New Guinea, where it is believed to have been introduced by man. The average length is approximately 1.5 metres, and the largest recorded length 2.4 metres. When attacking, the brown snake winds its body into an 'S' shape, raising itself off the ground. It strikes very rapidly, with its mouth open, possibly because of its relatively small fangs (approximately 3mm in length).
The average venom yield is around 4mg (although the record venom yield was 67mg). The venom contains potent neurotoxins and procoagulants, resulting in progressive paralysis and incoagulable blood. Clotting defects may require multiple doses of antivenom for complete reversal. Occasional fatalities have occurred as a result of bleeding into the brain due to coagulation disturbances.