Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake

Identifying A Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake

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Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake (Cacophis krefftii)

Rarely seen if only for their miniscule size, the southern dwarf crowned snake is a common snake species found across the Queensland region, including in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and on the Sunshine Coast.

Tiny in comparison to their golden crowned relatives, the dwarf crowned snake is considered weakly venomous but not dangerous to humans.


About the Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake

Dwarf crowned snakes are some of the smallest snakes found on the Sunshine Coast and usually grow to lengths of between 25cm – 35cm. They are typically gun-metal black in colour with yellow or pale-coloured underbellies. Their noteworthy ‘crown’ is yellow in colour and frames the back of the southern dwarf’s head, creating the ‘crowned’ appearance they are named for.

These snakes are incredibly small and, as such, have a very small set of eyes and a tiny mouth.


Where Can You Find the Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake?

Like other crowned snakes, the southern dwarf crowned snake prefers wet, cool habitats with plenty of ground and leaf litter to hide in. They spend most of their time hidden amongst the ground foliage, foraging for their favourite type of food – skinks!

Suburban backyards often provide this kind of ideal environment, which is why Sunshine Coast residents may encounter a southern dwarf or two in their gardens.


Is The Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake Dangerous?

The southern dwarf crowned snake is considered weakly venomous. Like their golden crowned relative, the southern dwarf crowned snake will rear up to expose their bright underbelly and may even strike out when threatened. However, these snakes tend to ‘mock bite’ at first – they will lunge out in a striking motion but only effectively ‘headbutt’ their would-be opponent.

Despite their small size and non-lethal venom, all snake bite wounds should be addressed immediately by a medical professional.


What Does the Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake Eat?

The diet for the southern dwarf crowned snake consists primarily of small skinks.


What to do if you see a Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake

If you encounter a southern dwarf crowned snake in your home or garden, do not be alarmed. These snakes are unlikely to face confrontation and your pets pose more of a threat to them than they do to your pets!

With that in mind, always be sure to keep underaged children away from snakes – always treat an unfamiliar snake breed as it if were venomous. If you require assistance in removing the snake from your property, call the Snake Rescue Sunny Coast team. We can safely capture and relocate the southern dwarf crowned snake to a more suitable location.

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.

Southern Dwarf Crowned Snake

Frequently Asked Questions

The southern dwarf crowned snake, also known as the crowned dwarf snake, is a small brown snake with a distinctive “crown” on its head made up of raised scales. It has a short tail and smooth scales. These features can help distinguish it from other small snakes found in the area. If you encounter a snake you believe may be a southern dwarf crowned snake, look for the following appearance characteristics:

  • Snake with a crown on its head
  • Small brown snake with a crown on its head
  • Small snake with short tail and smooth scales


Remember, it’s always safer and more accurate to rely on the experience of professional and licensed snake handlers like us at Snake Rescue Sunny Coast to identify any snake you encounter.

The southern crowned dwarf snake is not currently considered to be endangered, but habitat loss and other threats to its habitat could potentially impact its population in the future.

Yes, the southern dwarf crowned snake is venomous, but its venom is not considered to be highly dangerous to humans. This makes it “weakly venomous”. 

The southern crowned dwarf snake is not commonly kept as a pet, and its venomous nature and specialised habitat requirements make it unsuitable for most people to keep in captivity.

If you encounter a snake and are not sure what kind it is, the best course of action is to call professional and experienced snake handlers like us at Snake Rescue Sunny Coast. We can accurately identify the snake and safely remove it if necessary.

It’s important to never attempt to handle or approach a snake on your own, as this can be dangerous for both you and the snake.

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