There are approximately 2500 snake species in the world. In Australia, 110 land species and 32 species of sea snakes inhabit the full range of Australian environments from the rainforest to the outback, freshwater streams to the ocean, as well as our backyards.
Australia is the only country that has more venomous than non-venomous species. However, not all venomous snakes are capable of killing humans. In fact, most Australian snakes are harmless to humans and many are extraordinarily beautiful.
There are many different types of snakes in Australia; from tiny, earthworm like blind snakes (family: Typhlopidae) to the giant scrub python (family: Pythondiae) growing in excess of 8.5 metres in length. Snakes come in a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns to suit their environment, ranging from vivid bands and patterns to dull greys and brown for leaf litter camouflage. Some snakes, like Lone Pine's Olive Pythons, display a brilliant sheen in the sunlight.
Traditionally, snakes have been widely misunderstood and persecuted by the attitude, ‘the only good snake is a dead snake’. These fascinating reptiles play a vital role in the natural environment by maintaining balance in ecosystems. Snakes also remain an important part of Aboriginal religion, art and culture.
"They are a part of our Australian heritage, in the same way as the kangaroo, the kookaburra and the gum tree. It takes a little more effort to learn enough to appreciate the snakes, but it's worth the effort." Richard Shine (1998) Australian Snakes a Natural History, p207.