Significance to Humans

The Broad-headed Snake is a moderately sized species of venomous snake and is potentially dangerous.

General Description

The Broad-Headed Snake is a small to medium sized species of venomous snake. Fully-grown snakes attain an average maximum length of 60 cm although some records show that they can grow as large as 90 cm. They are black with numerous irregular yellow markings arranged in narrow cross-bands, which for inexperienced people can easily lead to confusion with young Diamond Pythons which are superficially very similar and found in the same habitat.

It is considered to be a highly endangered species.

Average Length

Around 60cm is an average maximum length usually

Habitat in Sydney Region

The Broad-Headed snake is found in the Sydney Basin in New South Wales, Australia. The snake's choice of habitat depends on temperature, age, gender, and breeding status. In the colder months, adult and juvenile snakes reside in the crevices of sandstone outcrops on exposed cliff edges to maximise warmth from the sun. When the temperature rises in spring, adult males and non-breeding females move to adjacent woodlands and forests, inhabiting hollow trees during the summer months. Juvenile snakes and gravid females remain in the rocks and move to cooler, shaded areas.

Their habitat has been degraded by urbanization, illegal rock removal, vandalisation and indescriminate reptile collecting. The sandstone rocks that the snakes occupy are valued for landscaping purposes. Their removal has led to a loss of habitat for both the snakes and their prey.

General Habits


Broad-headed snakes feed infrequently on small reptiles and mammals. Snakes in captivity are able to maintain or gain weight when fed one to two newborn rats per month. In one documented case, a snake survived a fast lasting twelve months.

Juvenile snakes feed mostly on Lesueur's Velvet Geckos (Oedura lesueuri) and occasionally on small skinks. Adult snakes feed on Lesueur's Velvet Geckos, but also prey on lizards, small-eyed snakes, and mice.

Local distribution

The Broad-headed Snake is found in the Sydney Basin and throughout a 250 km radius from Sydney.

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Conservation Status

Once quite common in the area, the Broad-headed Snake is currently listed as endangered in New South Wales and vulnerable under Commonwealth legislation. Aside from the loss of habitat through increasing urbanisation, it is also under threat from the removal of bush rock for landscaping. Bush rock removal impacts on sheltering and foraging sites for the snake and also results in loss of habitat for its prey.

Conservation Status (Federal): Vulnerable
Conservation Status (NSW): Endangered species


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