Mulga Snake

Mulga Snake

King brown snake

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Pseudechis australis
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
25 yrs
WEIGHT
3-6 kg
LENGTH
2-2.5 m

The Mulga snake is a highly venomous snake native to Australia. This is a robust snake, with a head slightly wider than the body, prominent cheeks and small eyes with red-brown irises, and a dark tongue. Scales on the upper-parts, flanks, and tail are two toned-pale or greenish-yellow at the base and various shades of tan or copper, or all shades of brown from pale to blackish towards the rear. This gives the snake a reticulated pattern. The tail is often darker, while the crown is the same color as the body. The belly is cream, white or salmon and can have orange marks. The colors of the snakes' upper-parts and sides differ from area to area within their range; those from northern Australia are tan, those from deserts in Central Australia have prominent white marks on each scale, giving a patterned appearance, and those from southern parts of its range are even blackish. In Western Australia, Mulga snakes are significantly darker in color.

Distribution

Mulga snakes are found in northern, western, and Central Australia. They occur in all states of Australia except for Victoria and Tasmania. The eastern limit of their range runs from Gladstone in central Queensland, and south through Gayndah, Dalby, the Warrumbungles, southwest to Condobolin and the vicinity of Balranald and then across to Port Pirie in South Australia. The southwestern limit of their range runs from Ceduna in South Australia, west through the northern Nullarbor Plain to Kalgoorlie, Narrogin and on coastal plains north of Perth. Mulga snakes live in rainforests, woodlands, hummock grasslands, chenopod scrublands, and gibber or sandy deserts nearly devoid of vegetation. Within the arid to semi-arid parts of their range, however, they prefer areas of greater moisture such as watercourses. They are often observed at modified habitats such as wheat fields, rubbish piles, and vacated buildings.

 Mulga Snake habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Mulga snakes lead a solitary life. They are mostly crepuscular-active at dusk, and are less active during the middle of the day and between midnight and dawn, retiring to crevices in the soil, old animal burrows, or under rocks or logs. During warmer months their activity shifts to later after dusk and into the evening. In cooler climates of their range they are more active during the day and in hotter climates-at night.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Mulga snakes are carnivorous reptiles. They feed on lizards including small monitors, skinks, geckos and agamids, other snakes including whip snakes, brown snakes, the brown tree snake, southern shovel-nosed snake, Gould's hooded snake and crowned snake, birds such as thornbills, small mammals such as rodents and dasyurids, and frogs. They may eat roadkill and are known to exhibit cannibalism.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
spring
INCUBATION PERIOD
70-100 days
FEMALE NAME
female
MALE NAME
male
BABY NAME
snakelet
BABY CARRYING
4-19 eggs

The mating season for Mulga snakes begins in the early Southern Hemisphere spring in southwest Western Australia, mid-spring in the Eyre Peninsula and with the Wet Season in the north of the country. Males engage in wrestling combat, each attempting to push the other over for the right to mate with a female. Females produce a clutch of 4 to 19 eggs, generally 39-45 days after the mating. Eggs are incubated for about 70 to 100 days. Baby snakes are 22.6 cm (9 in) in length and weigh 9.4 g (0.33 oz) on hatching.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats facing Mulga snakes at present. However, populations of this species in some areas of their range may have declined with the spread of the Cane toad. Mulga snakes are sensitive to Cane toad toxins and die after eating them.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Mulga snake total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.

References

1. Mulga Snake on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_brown_snake
2. Mulga Snake on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/42493195/42493211

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