White Crowned Snake

Identifying A White Crowned Snake

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 60cm, 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.

See other snakes commonly found on the Sunshine Coast here...

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