The venomous Red-Bellied Black Snake grows to lengths of up to two metres long, and has striking colouration. With stunning red edges to its belly scales and a shiny black back, this snake surely ranks amongst Australia's most stunning venomous snakes. The Red-Bellied Black snake is most active during the day, although they may also be seen on hotter evenings.
The Red-Bellied Black Snake can be found inhabiting most forest types near permanent watercourses or swamps in eastern and south-east Australia.
The Red-Bellied Black Snake's diet consists of frogs, other reptiles and mammals. Usually seen around cool, wet areas the Red-Bellied Black Snake is particularly fond of frogs, making the Cane Toad a big problem. If they even bite a Cane Toad its all over. It's hard to believe that this beautiful snake could suffer so badly as the result of the introduction of one alien species.
Mating occurs in spring with combat between rival males occurring in this period. During combat, the snakes bodies are intertwined with their heads raised. They do this in attempt to place their head higher than that of their opponent. When pregnant, female Red-Bellied Black snakes are known to aggregate and bask in the sun together. January to March is when between five and forty young are born in membranous sacs from which they emerge from shortly after birth.
Local populations were almost driven to extinction by the introduction of the Cane Toad. If a snake tries to consume a toad, they will fall victim to the toad’s poisonous gland secretions. It does however appear now that some of these snakes are finally learning to avoid the Cane Toad and their numbers are beginning to recover.
Red-bellied Black Snake Profiles
Rossco is one of our amazing Red-Bellies on display and between him and his flat mate Reggie, they get up to a lot of mischief and always keep you on your toes at feeding time. The introduction of cane toads has proven to be a problem for many Red-belly populations as the toad's toxic venom spells death to an unsuspecting snake. Some isolated populations have even been thought to have died out! Fortunately for Rossco and Reggie they will never have to worry about that.