Tiger Snake

Identifying A Tiger Snake

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Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus)

Most Australians know about the fearsome tiger snake, whose distribution encompasses some of the most inhospitable areas of the country. These venomous snakes have two fixed front fangs and are renowned for their tiger ‘stripes’, which are often black and yellow in colour.

While coming across a tiger snake on the Sunshine Coast is unlikely, understanding these impressive reptiles can help you prepare for any encounter.


About the Tiger Snake

The tiger snake is a large, extremely venomous snake found across Australia, including Tasmania. Adult tiger snakes can grow to lengths of up to 1.2m, although some variants of this species have recorded growths of 2m and over!

Although the tiger snake’s namesake is obvious, these reptilian hunters actually appear in a range of colours and markings. Patterning tends to include darker bands across the length of the body which are contrasted against the body colour, which is usually a variant of either yellow, olive, orange-brown, and even purely black.

The belly of a tiger snake is typically light yellow or orange. Their scales overlap like shields and their heads are flat and blunt, but distinctive from the body.


Where Can You Find the Tiger Snake?

Typically, tiger snakes can be found in subtropical or temperate regions of Australia, with a particular prevalence in the southern regions of the country. Although the slight differences between sub-species has lead to a final classification of one primary species, Notechis scutatus, the old classifications are still popular and in use:

  • Notechis ater ater – Krefft’s Tiger Snake (Flinders Ranges, South Australia)
  • Notechis ater humphreysi – Tasmanian Tiger Snake (King Is. and Tasmania)
  • Notechis ater niger – Peninsular Tiger Snake (lower Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, offshore islands of South Australia)
  • Notechis ater serventyi – Chappell Island Tiger Snake (Furneaux Group, Bass Strait)
  • Notechis scutatus occidentalis (sometimes ater occidentalis) – Western Tiger Snake (southwest corner of Western Australia)
  • Notechis scutatus scutatus – Eastern Tiger Snake (southeastern mainland Australia)


Is The Tiger Snake Dangerous?

The tiger snake is extremely dangerous, and its venom contains a potent procoagulant toxin that causes venom-induced consumption coagulopathy (VICC) in bite victims.

When threatened, the tiger snake may flatten out its entire body and raise its head in an effort to appear bigger and ward off would-be predators.


What Does the Tiger Snake Eat?

Tiger snakes diet vary greatly, and bigger tiger snakes may prey on larger animals when hunting. Typically, the tiger snake’s diet consists of fish, frogs, lizards, birds, and small mammals.


What to do if you see a Tiger Snake

If you encounter a tiger snake, be sure to keep a safe distance away. Do not let pets or children near the snake, but try to maintain an eye on it until Snake Rescue Sunny Coast arrives. Our professional team have years of experience in handling dangerous snakes and are licensed snake handlers.

Contact us today to assist with the safe relocation of any unwanted snakes in your garden or home.

Licensed Venomous 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.

Tiger Snake

Frequently Asked Questions

The tiger snake is a distinctive, venomous snake species found around Australia. Though you’re unlikely to come across one in or near your home in the Sunshine Coast, it’s worth understanding the species and knowing a bit about them. While their namesake is obvious, here are some other telltale ways to know if a snake you’ve encountered may be a tiger snake:

  • Black and orange striped snake
  • Black and yellow striped snake
  • Black snake with brown stripes 
  • Black snake with copper stripes 
  • Black snake with orange stripes on belly
  • Black snake with yellow stripes

Tiger snakes can range in size from around 1 meter to 2 meters in length, depending on the subspecies. They are typically thick-bodied and muscular.

Yes, tiger snakes are venomous. They are known to have one of the most potent venoms of any Australian snake. Tiger snake venomous is extremely dangerous and bites from this species should be treated as a medical emergency.

Tiger snakes can be aggressive if they feel threatened, cornered, or provoked. When facing a would-be threat or predator, they will flatten out their body and raise their head to appear bigger. 

If you come across a tiger snake, keep a safe distance and do not attempt to touch, capture or harm it. This is when most snake bites occur, and in this species, snake bites can be fatal.

If you or a loved one have been bitten by a tiger snake, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Do not attempt to treat the bite on your own, as this can be very dangerous. Keep the affected limb as still as possible and try to keep the person calm and still. Do not attempt to suck the venom out of the bite, as this can actually make the situation worse.

Read up on more basic snake bite first aid tips here. Snake Rescue Sunny Coast sell our own fully-kitted snake bite first aid kit, containing everything you might need to stabilise a bite wound until further medical attention can be acquired. 

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