Red-bellied Black Snakes

In spring we were treated to rare close-up views of our resident Red-bellied Black snakes. My husband had built a series of compost heaps adjoining the vegetable garden fence, very close to a favourite basking spot of the middle-sized black snake. Soon the snake discovered this warm and comfortable place to rest, and before long had allowed the Big Mama black snake from the far side of the dam to join him. One day we saw three of them twined together enjoying the warmth and luxury of the composting grass and leaf litter. We could look down from the deck above, and gaze without disturbing them.

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Red-bellied Black snakes are welcome on most properties because they supposedly drive away more harmful snakes, such as Browns. They are not aggressive, but actually very shy, slipping quietly away if they sense your approach. Our snakes, who are good swimmers, feed mainly on frogs, but also on rats and mice they might find around the garden, another reason to welcome them. We have watched them mating, and every year we have some to the young sliding through the garden or around the house, learning the ropes. However we have had a few exciting experiences with the really big one, Big Mama, who lives in the wetlands on the other side of the house dam.

We were hosting our Swedish friends Ken and Annelie who were keen to see all the wildlife. Although we had seen nearly everything, the snakes had remained hidden. Walking back from the beach on a narrow track through thick trees in the wetlands, I suddenly saw Big Mama lying directly across the track. I only had time to extend my step to miss her, and I signalled the others to continue and step across her. It was all over in a flash, she was barely awake, and moved off sluggishly as we departed, stifling our cries of amazement and laughter until we were further away! That was a good story to take home to Sweden!!


12 thoughts on “Red-bellied Black Snakes

    • her belly is probably pale cream, but the edges are definitely red … you can see some red in the coiled image … she has always kept her belly close to the ground so i cant really say 🙂

  1. I’m afraid of snakes and I would probably freak out if I came across Big Mama. Glad just to enjoy your photos of her and her friends from a distance.


  2. I am one of those weird women that thinks snakes are pretty cool. You are smart to let the guys call your compost pile home. Not to mention, you’ve managed to get some pretty terrific photos. Good job. Of course, if these snakes were poisonous, I would question your sanity. LOL.

    • well ….. i did not mention that part …. would not kill an adult ….. we moved the compost heap eventually, not good to encourage them to hang out so close to the house …. and waking about we always keep an eye out for them!

      • Still, I know so many people that would kill a snake (any snake) just because it is a snake. I commend you for realizing their value and place within the natural environment.

  3. Oh wow! Beautiful shots and she is gorgeous!!!! Thank you and bless you for looking out for them. Lots of people just kill on sight. Lovely post and thanks for sharing hon! 🙂

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