The yellow faced whip snake is fairly common on the Sunshine Coast and along southern parts of Australia. Residents may spot them outside or in their garden, but they have been known to try to enter homes and buildings when searching for food or shelter.
Although the yellow faced whip snake is venomous, it is not considered life threatening to humans. This small snake tends to be quite curious, but will likely try to hide when first encountered.
This petite snake is part of a larger family of considerably dangerous snakes, most of which are venomous. Its relatives also share the yellow faced whip snake’s noteworthy ‘whip-like tail’, slender body, and large eyes. Yellow faced whip snakes can grow up to a 1m in length, with females usually being larger than males.
The yellow faced whip snake is distinguishable by the markings on its face. Their heads are narrow and yellowed, with pale rings around the eyes. It has a dark marking above its upper lip. Adults tend to be pale olive or blue-gray in colour, with rust coloured dustings or longitudinal stripes along its body.
This snake is often confused with the eastern brown snake because they are very similar in appearance.
The yellow faced whip snake is endemic to Australia. They can be found in almost every Australian region apart from Tasmania. Their habitat of choice tends to be coastal forests, grasslands, and scrublands.
The yellow faced whip snake is known as a community dweller, meaning that it is not uncommon to find more than one at a time. In particular, community habitats tend to pop up during the winter months with small gatherings of these snakes found under rocks and in small crevices.
The yellow faced whip snake is venomous, but is not considered a threat to humans (although it is still recommended to seek immediate medical treatment if bitten). Their venom is highly toxic to cats though and would require emergency veterinary treatment if bitten.
These snakes choose to prey on smaller reptiles like lizards and skinks, which is likely why they can be found near homes or in gardens.
You may come across a yellow faced whip snake in your home, garden, garage, or even place of work. Their diet and habitat preference makes them quite common near residential areas on the Sunshine Coast. However, they are a timid and shy species, so this species is more likely to run from you than to try to defend itself.
If you spot a yellow faced whip snake, do not try to grab or trap it yourself. Instead, call our team and we will come to safely capture and relocate the snake elsewhere.
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.
The yellow-faced whip snake is a common snake species found across Australia, including Queensland and in particular in the Sunshine Coast area. They are known for their slender build and long tail which gives them the appearance of a whip. They are more easily identifiable by their blue and yellow coloration, which is primarily blue-green or grey-green on their upper body and yellow on their underside. Distinctive white bands around the eyes also help with identification.
You may be able to identify whether a snake you’ve encountered is a yellow faced whip snake if:
Yellow-faced whip snakes can grow up to 1.5 meters in length, but most individuals are between 0.5 and 1 meter long and females tend to be smaller than males.
While yellow-faced whip snakes are not considered dangerous to humans, they can bite if they feel threatened. The bite may cause mild discomfort but their venom is not considered dangerous to humans.
The venom of a yellow faced whip snake is a mild neurotoxin that primarily affects their prey, such as lizards. They are considered as a non-aggressive species, and typically only bite when they are being handled or are disturbed.
Yes, yellow-faced whip snakes are venomous, but their venom is not considered dangerous to humans. Their venom is primarily used for hunting their prey. They are not considered a dangerous species to humans, and the risk of envenomation from a yellow-faced whip snake is extremely low.
The venom of this species can be fatal for small pets. Cats in particular are at a higher risk if bitten by a yellow faced whip snake, though snake bites on dogs should never be ignored.
If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake, seek immediate veterinary attention. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a snake, even if you are sure of the species and know it isn’t venomous, always seek medical attention and call 000 as soon as possible. Follow our snake bite first aid tips until help arrives.
The yellow-faced whip snake gets its name from its large eyes, slender build and long tail, which resemble a whip. The pattern of scales on the tail look similar to a braided whip, which is why many snakes in this family have the name “whip snake.”
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