Brown Tree Snake

Identifying A Brown Tree Snake

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Brown Tree Snake (Boiga Irregularis)

The Brown Tree Snake, sometimes referred to as a Night Tiger, is a fairly common snake found on the Sunshine Coast and along eastern Australia. They are an arboreal species with distinctive protruding eyes.

These snakes can range from 1m – 2m in length, with the longest recorded at 3m.


About the Brown Tree Snake

The brown tree snake has an average built body with a large head and large, protruding eyes marked with vertical pupils. Its large head is clearly distinct from its narrow neck. They are brown in colour, with darker cross bands along the back and sides, extending to its tail.

Usually growing to 2m in length, the brown tree snake has 19 – 23 midbody scale rows.


Where Can You Find the Brown Tree Snake?

The brown tree snake’s natural habitats include forests, grasslands and sparsely forested areas. They rest in trees and caves during the day, but can also be found hiding in urban areas such as in gardens and home ceilings.


Is The Brown Tree Snake Dangerous?

Nocturnal, and rear-fanged, bites from this snake are rare. They are mildly venomous, but the nature of their fangs makes delivering a bite to a human difficult. They have 2 grooved rear fangs that require the snake to “chew” to be able to inject their venom.

Although their venom is considered quite weak in comparison to other snake species in Australia, large specimens may still cause adverse reactions.


What Does the Brown Tree Snake Eat?

The “Night Tiger” is a generalist feeder but primarily preys on lizards, bats, and small birds and their eggs. However, reptiles, frogs and small mammals may also be hunted by brown tree snakes.

To inject its venom, the brown tree snake ‘chews’ on its prey while wrapping its body around it, restraining it as the snake consumes it.


What to do if you see a Brown Tree Snake

This snake is not considered aggressive, but when threatened, the brown tree snake will take a defensive stance and strike out in hopes to deter perceived threats. 

If you spot a brown tree snake, or suspect there may be one living in your home or garden, get in touch with our team. We operate 24/7 and can provide identification, capture and relocation services for wild snakes. To ensure your safety and the safety of your family and pets, our team always aims to assist you as soon as possible.

Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers

Our Snake Catching Process

When we’re looking for a snake, the first places we look are along the walls and under debris. Snakes try to avoid predators by moving along the walls and beneath cover. Unless they are going from concealment to cover or seeking warmth from the sun, it’s unusual to observe a snake moving out in the open. 

We study their body language once we discover the snake, before we attempt to catch it. This tells us what the snake is thinking and indicates what it might do. We can tell when they are going to run, stand up and fight, or simply be apathetic toward our presence based on their body language. It’s critical for us to understand how to capture and handle snakes using this information.

After they’ve been captured, they’re put in a bag and kept quiet in a dark, tight space. This keeps us safe while handling the snake, as well as allows the snake to calm down.

Following the capture of the snake, they are relocated to suitable bushland and set free. Each snake is assigned its own habitat and food. As a result, we release them into areas that are ideal for each species. Keelbacks and Red-bellied black snakes enjoy frogs and lizards, so we put them in areas near water sources such as rivers or dams.

During an operation, we always want to double-check the snakes for health and remove any external parasites like ticks before they are released. If the snake is not healthy enough to be released, it may be due to injury or sickness; they are taken to Australia Zoo’s wildlife hospital for further evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation.

As snake catchers, all the snakes we catch are logged with the department of wildlife and science. This is so they can keep track of where each snake has been caught and released, to monitor and maintain the biodiversity in the area.

We have also been keeping a personal log of all the snakes we have caught on the Sunshine Coast that you can view on our website. This way you can see the species and location of each snake we have caught around the sunshine coast and in your areas.

Brown Tree Snakes

Frequently Asked Questions

Brown tree snakes can be identified by their coloration, markings and physical features. They have an average built body, with a large head and large, protruding eyes marked with vertical pupils. Their large head is clearly distinct from their narrow neck. They are brown in color, with darker cross bands along the back and sides, extending to their tail. They usually grow to around 2m in length.

Here are a few additional characteristics to look out for:

  • Black and brown spotted snake
  • Brown and light brown snake
  • Brown and orange snake
  • Brown and tan snake
  • Brown snake with black bands
  • Brown snake with black diamonds on back
  • Brown snake with black dots
  • Brown snake with dark brown head
  • Brown snake with dark brown spots
  • Brown snake with markings
  • Brown snake with orange underbelly
  • Brown snake with yellow belly


It is important to note that not all brown tree snakes will have all of these characteristics, and that their appearance can vary depending on location and individual. If you suspect you have seen a brown tree snake, it is best to contact Snake Rescue Sunny Coast for identification and guidance.

Yes, Australian brown tree snakes are venomous. Their venom is not considered dangerous to humans, but it can cause mild symptoms such as swelling and pain at the bite site. Maintain a safe distance from any snake, even if you are sure of its species and whether or not it is venomous. It’s always best to be safe! Call Snake Rescue Sunny Coast to safely capture and relocate the snake.

All snake bites should be treated as soon as possible by a trained medical professional – always call 000! In the event of a bite, follow our snake bite first aid guidelines and call for medical assistance as soon as possible. 

Brown tree snakes are not typically aggressive towards humans. They will usually try to flee from danger before resorting to biting. However, if they feel threatened, they may bite as a defensive measure.

Yes, brown tree snakes are nocturnal reptiles and are most active during the night.

No, Australian brown tree snakes are not known to be territorial. They are solitary creatures and do not defend specific areas.

Yes, the venom of the brown tree snake can be dangerous to dogs and cats. It is important to seek immediate veterinary attention if you suspect your pet has been bitten by a brown tree snake.

Arboreal refers to an organism that lives in trees. The term arboreal is used to describe the fact that these snakes spend the majority of their time in trees. They are able to climb trees and branches with ease and are often found hiding in the canopy or inside tree hollows. This arboreal lifestyle gives them access to food sources, such as birds and their eggs, that are not found on the ground, as well as protection from predators.

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