Eastern Brown Snake
What a boring name. Who did that? Hey look, it’s a new type of snake, what should we call it? I dunno, what colour is it? Australia is rubbish for this. We have brown snakes. Green tree snakes. Black snakes. Red-bellied Black snakes. Pathetic effort. Boomslang. How great a name is that?! Or the Black Mamba, it’s a colour AND a dance! That’s a lot better. Africa is way better at this.
Oh, also, this is the single deadliest animal in Australia.
We should probably talk about what that means, though. This isn’t the most potent venom, that’s the Small Scaled Snake, or Inland Taipain. It’s not the biggest venomous snake. That would be the Mulga Snake. It’s not the most aggressive. That would be either the Taipan or the Tiger snake.
But the Brown Snake is common. The best known species, the Eastern Brown Snake is also called the Common Brown Snake. They’re not called that because they’re so rare. And its venom is incredibly potent. When the late, great Steve Irwin did a special on the most deadly snakes in the world, for eight of them he didn’t have to leave the country. And one of them, the Brown Snake, he didn’t have to leave the house - he got a call from his wife because there was one in the garage.
Brown Snakes live where people live. They’re encountered quite often, and as a result they’re responsible for more fatalities than any other group of snakes. Like most dangerous animals, 75% of bites are caused by people trying to catch them or kill them. So if you leave them alone you can be in the lucky 25% that just got shat on by life.
Brown snakes are found all over the country, and in a wide range of environments. Basically if there’s food, they’ll be there. They’re particularly fond of mice.
Brown snake venom contains neurotoxins, but also a strong coagulant that turns the blood into a thick sludge startlingly fast. This is not actually good for you.
Antivenom is available and should be administered immediately. Even without treatment only 1/5 people actually die from a brown snake bite, a surprisingly low number because brown snakes try not to inject more than they have to. Venom is hard to make.
Even with the low odds, the use of antivenom and excellent medical treatment, there are still one or two people who die from Brown Snake bites every year in Australia.