White Crowned Snake

Identifying A White Crowned Snake

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White Crowned Snake (Cacophis harriettae)

The white crowned snake is a small snake species endemic to Australia and is commonly spotted in and around the Sunshine Coast. Reaching up to lengths of 40cm, this snake is part of the crowned genus and, although it is venomous, this species is not considered dangerous to humans. Like its crowned siblings, the white crowned snake relies more on defensive displays than biting.

Keep an eye out for these small, darkly coloured snakes hunting for food in your garden at night!


About the White Crowned Snake

The white crowned snake is a small species of snake, only growing to lengths of between 40-60cm in adulthood. Usually, females will grow to a larger sizes than males. White crowned snakes are typically a glossy, dark brown or grey colour, with black heads circled by a band of white – as the name suggests, this marking is their crown!

White crowned snakes are usually reclusive in nature and will likely only venture out of their habitat at night to hunt for food.


Where Can You Find the White Crowned Snake?

The white crowned snake can be found in warm, moist areas of Queensland, such as on the Sunshine Coast. This type of habitat is common for this species, and its cousins, the Southern Dwarf Crowned snake and the Golden Crowned snake, hunker down in similar environments.

Shy and timid, these snakes take shelter in ground and leaf litter or under decaying logs during the day and only come out at night to prey on sleeping lizards.


Is The White Crowned Snake Dangerous?

Like the Southern Dwarf Crowned and Golden Crowned snakes, the white crowned snake is considered to be weakly venomous. As such, it does not pose much of a threat to humans. Instead, these snakes will put on a defensive when they feel threatened: it will rear up and lower its head to display its crown, and may mock strike repeatedly out of fear. These movements are mostly for show – more often than not, the white crowned snake will not even open its mouth during this defensive display, relying on its actions to ward off would-be predators.

Although this snake is not a danger to humans, always keep pets and children away from unfamiliar snake species, and treat every snake you encounter as venomous.


What Does the White Crowned Snake Eat?

The white crowned snake is a nocturnal hunter, venturing out from its habitat at night to look for prey. Typically, it will prey on diurnal lizards and skinks while they are sleeping.

These snakes are primarily terrestrial and take shelter under rocks, logs and in leaf litter during the day.


What to do if you see a White Crowned Snake

If you encounter a white crowned snake in your home, garden or garage, there’s no need to be alarmed. If you are confident it is a white crowned snake, simply maintain a safe distance from the snake, keep pets and children away from the area, and give our friendly team a call to have the snake safely captured and relocated to a more suitable location.

Remember, it’s not always possible to identify the species of a snake at a glance. Always treat unfamiliar snakes as venomous and maintain a safe distance from the snake at all times, while keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t find a new place to hide.

Snake Catchers Sunshine Coast

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.

White Crowned Snake

Frequently Asked Questions

White crowned snakes are small and slender with a length of up to 60 cm. They have a distinctive white or cream-colored band across their head, which gives them their name. Their body coloration is usually a dark grey or brown. 

If you’ve encountered what you think may be a white crowned snake, here are some common identifiers:

  • crown headed snake
  • crowned snake
  • snake with a crown
  • white crown snake
  • snake with white crown
  • white markings on snake’s head
  • brown snake with white marking on head

No, white crowned snakes are not currently considered to be endangered. However, like many Australian reptiles, they face threats from habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, as well as the introduction of non-native species.

Yes, white crowned snakes are venomous, but they are not considered to be dangerous to humans. This makes it “weakly venomous”. Despite this, they can still pose a danger to pets and children, which should be kept well away from the snake in the event that one makes its way onto your property or into your garden.

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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