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Collett’s Black Snake (aka Collett’s Snake) by Richard Bartlett on 2021-03-01 00:29:00



Old adults are usually much darker than this half-grown example.

By Dick and Patti Bartlett

The elapine (cobra relatives) Australian and Papuan genus Pseudechis contains at least 6 species. Although the snakes in this genus are commonly grouped as “Australian black snakes,” this generalization can be misleading, for some are gray with dark flecks, another is an almost uniform olive-brown, and the one we are about to discuss, Pseudechis colletti, Collett’s Black Snake or simply Collett’s Snake, is a beautiful mixture of red, pink, or off-white and black when a juvenile but does darken considerably as it ages. The venter is usually colored similarly to the light lateral barring.

This elapine is adult at 4 1/2 to 8 feet in length, is rather heavy bodied, and is endemic to the drier regions of the interior of the northeastern Australian state of Queensland. Males are longer than the females. When frightened or defensive this snake may flatten its head and neck like, but not as wide, as the hood of a cobra.

It is dangerously venomous, producing a virulent cytotoxic (blood cell destroying) venom that may be combined with neurotoxins. Despite this it is reportedly commonly kept in Australia as a captive, but because of export restrictions is less commonly seen in captive collections of other countries.

Clutches contain up to 20 eggs.

The diet consists of frogs, lizards, snakes, and small mammals.
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