Unexpected Encounters with Australian Reptiles #9 -the King Brown, Mulga Snake or Pilbara Cobra!

Thursday, Jan 08, 2015 at 20:40


Pseudechis Australis, the common King Brown, Mulga Snake or Pilbara Cobra,

is a species of venomous snake found in the northern climes of Australia. It is one of the longest venomous snakes in the world and is the second longest in Australia. Despite one of its common names, "king brown", it is a species in the genus Pseudechis, known as the black snake genus.

Mulga snakes are large, venomous snakes growing up to 2.5 to 3.0 m in length in the largest specimens, although 1.5 m is a more typical length for an average adult.] It is exceeded in length amongst venomous snakes only by the Asiatic king cobra, some species of African mambas, the Australian taipan, and Bushmasters of the American neotropics. A good-sized adult mulga snake of 2 to 2.5 m length can weigh 3 to 6 kg and mulga snakes are often heavier than the co-occurring taipans.

The colour of the snakes differs from area to area within their range; mulga snakes can be a light brown colour in the desert to a dark, brown-blackish colour in the cooler regions of Queensland,South Australia and New South Wales. Mulga Snakes are robust, with a wide head and smooth snout.]

The king brown snake has specialized in eating other reptiles. Lizards and snakes, including other king browns are preferred but occasionally birds, mammals and frogs are also consumed.


The mulga snake venom consists of myotoxins. Its venom is not particularly toxic to mice, but it is produced in huge quantities. The average tiger snake produces around 10–40 mg when milked. By comparison, a large king brown snake may deliver 150 mg in one bite.

Black snake antivenom is used to treat bites from this species, after a CSL venom detection kit has returned a conclusive result for mulga snake envenomation, and there are signs that antivenom use is required.
Venomous snakes normally only attack humans when disturbed. Mulga snakes have, however, been noted to bite people who were asleep at the time.


Female king browns produce a clutch of around 8-20 eggs, which may be laid in a disused burrow or beneath a log or rock. There is no maternal care for the eggs once they have been laid. Incubation lasts for about 2-3 months after which time the baby snakes go in search of their first lizard meal.

Here's a bonus video I found on Youtube with a magnificent specimen. You can really see why it gets the name "Pilbara Cobra". One crazy bloke.

Photos & Video - Mick O Words Wiki and the WWW
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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