Pseudechis australis — King Brown Snake
Some other names for this species:
This was my first ever sighting of a snake in the family Elapidae, the world-spanning group of highly venomous snakes that includes cobras, coral snakes, and many other notorious serpents. This approximately six-foot-long snake was prowling at night when I came across it on the highway outside of Kings Canyon. (What was I doing on the highway outside of Kings Canyon at night? Why, looking for snakes, of course!) It was a little peeved about me and my flashlight intruding on its evening, and showed its displeasure by flattening its neck in the manner of a cobra and then lunging repeatedly at the flashlight beam. After five or ten minutes of this, with me keeping my distance of course, it settled down long enough for me to adjust my tripod and get a few photos.
Here is a complete list of the reptiles and frogs I saw on this trip to Australia.
I was out at night looking for frogs at a waterhole, and apparently so was this fine fellow. It was motionless in this position when I saw it. After I took a couple of flash photos, it slowly pulled itself backward and then slithered into a crevice.
The next night I came back to the same spot, and I found this snake at a spot very close to where I had seen one the previous night. It seems highly likely to be the same individual, but I didn't get any photos from angles that would have shown this conclusively.
This oh-so-serious looking King Brown was moving across the road when I first saw it. I followed it around for awhile with a flashlight in the dark as it pushed through the low vegetation near the road's edge. I was careful to not lose sight of it. It would be bad to accidentally step on this snake.
My best look yet at a King Brown was of this large individual that was basking near the edge of a dirt road when I first saw it. It was cautious of me, but not worried enough to speed away. Instead it slowly moved off the road and meandered through the grasses and bushes, stopping occasionally to either try to hide from me or to just look menacing, I'm not sure which.
- Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles & Amphibians of Australia, Seventh Edition
- Hoser, R. T. 1989. Australian Reptiles & Frogs
- Swan, G. 1995. A Photographic Guide to Snakes & Other Reptiles of Australia
- Wilson, S. K., Knowles, D. 1988. Australia's Reptiles: A Photographic Reference to the Terrestrial Reptiles of Australia