Brown Snakes and Woodswallows
Lately I have been trying to go for an early morning walk for the good of my health. Now that the days are beginning to warm up and most of the frosty mornings seem to have gone these are a little more pleasant. First thing in the morning is usually the best time for birding anyway.
We have had the occasional day in recent weeks where the temperature has soared into the low 30s. This means that some of our Australian reptiles are on the move again. Lizards are actively appearing in different parts of the garden and we usually delight to see them as they make their way around.
What I didn’t enjoy seeing on a recent morning walk was a Brown Snake. This species is widespread throughout our region and relatively common. It is also one of the deadliest snakes in the world. While snake bites in Australia can be fatal, the death rate is low because very few people ever get bitten. If they do, it is often their own fault, usually as a result of cornering the snake or trying to kill it. Naturally it will try to defend itself. Most snakes in Australia are intent on getting out of your way as quickly as possible.
Now the snake in question was dead when I saw it as it had been run over while crossing the road I was walking on. In the days that followed I saw two other dead Brown Snakes in nearby roads.
Just a little further on I saw several Dusky Woodswallows. These lovely little birds are widespread in southern and eastern Australia and always a delight to see. Often they can form congregations numbering in the hundreds or even thousands within a relatively small area. On my recent morning rambles, however, I have only ever seen two or three. They have appeared in the same spot along the road now on a number of days. I must watch more attentively to check out if they are nesting somewhere near.
[…] We have Brown Snakes and Woodswallows at Trevor’s Birding blog (South Australia). […]
I understand there are many different poisonous snakes in Australia. I noted that Duncan also talks about brown snakes. Are they these snakes country-wide, or are they confined to specific regions?
Hi there Pam,
My impression is that the Australian Brown Snake is very widespread throughout Australia. To make sure I did a little research out of curiosity and to add to my own knowledge bank. It seems that my first thoughts were correct, but what I didn’t realise was that there are quite a few species commonly called “Browns.”
The Eastern Brown Snake, found throughout most of the eastern half of Australia, in a wide range range of habitats, is the most commonly encountered type and is the one we have here in South Australia. It also happens to be the second most deadly snake in the world. We actually had one in the house last year! But that’s another story.
A Google search will turn up quite a few articles, including photos. Wikipedia also has several articles.
King Browns are another of the “browns” but are not the same as a brown snake but are highly venomous all the same and are wide spread throughout australia.