Papuan Black Snake

Pseudechis papuanus

Papuan Black Snake (Pseudechis papuanus) Papuan Black Snake, Pseudechis papuanus, on Saibai Island. Photograph by Peter Mirtschin, Venom Supplies Pty Ltd.

Identification:

The Papuan Black Snake has a shiny to matt black back and a greyish belly. This species grows to 2 metres. Midbody scale rows 19 (rarely 21); ventrals 221–230; anal divided; subcaudals single at front, remainder divided, 49–63.

Distribution:

Found in southern Papua New Guinea and its adjacent islands, including Saibai Island in far northern Torres Strait.

Habitat:

Lives in open monsoon forests in swampy areas.

Habits:

This species is active by day but also at dawn and dusk in hot weather.

Danger:

This is a dangerously venomous snake with strongly neurotoxic and haemotoxic venom. If bitten, apply first aid and seek urgent medical attention. First aid procedure for any snakebite from the Australian Venom Research Unit.

Food:

Feeds on frogs; small mammals, lizards and, possibly ground nesting birds.

Breeding:

This species lays eggs.

Similar species:

There are no similar looking snakes on the Torres Strait islands.

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