Tiger Snake

This snake rounds out the top three. The Tiger Snake, the Eastern Brown Snake, and the Taipan account for almost all snake bite fatalities in Australia. Tiger Snakes are called that because they’re striped. Like tigers. Often their stripes are black or very dark brown alternating with lighter brown. They’re not always particularly well striped though. Sometimes there’s little contrast between the colours. One subspecies is black with black stripes. Apparently that’s really a thing.

A Tiger Snake can be identified partially from location. They tend to be found further south than most Australian snakes, which like the tropical north. Obviously the tigerness is a giveaway, but the body shape is also distinctive, being broad and slightly flattened, their body quite a bit wider than their head.

Tiger Snakes follow the basic rule that if it’s brown it’s potentially deadly. Black is also not good. It’s probably for the best to not to mess with any snakes, but if it’s brown or black give it a wide berth.

These snakes are very aggressive, and will often bite repeatedly. Their venom is in the top five most potent land-snake venoms in the world, drop for drop beating more well known snakes such as the Cobra, Black Mamba or any rattlesnakes. The presence of an antivenom keeps fatalities to a minimum. Before the antivenom, fully half the people bitten died from the bite.

The venom is highly paralytic. The first thing to go is the eyelids, weirdly enough. That’s the first sign medics look out for. Once the eyelids start to go droopy it’s all downhill from there. The facial muscles go next, followed by the throat muscles, and then you’re up crap creek because the breathing muscles are next. Antivenom will stop the paralysis from getting to its next stage, but the damage at that point is already done. If breathing has been impared medical personel will have to assist with breathing until the body has remembered that it’s supposed to be doing that.

Tiger snakes like living in damp areas like swamps and riverbanks.

Common Tiger Snake
Notechis scutatus