What is a Tiger Snake?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2019
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The tiger snake is one of the world's deadliest snakes. It is found in Australia there are several different types. The colors and varieties of tiger snakes vary. Some tiger snakes do have Tiger-like band patterns, while others are band-less. The tiger snake is of the genus, Notechis.

Tiger snakes thrive in warm temperatures and are known to be more active during warmer evenings. They are fairly timid, but will bite if provoked. Tiger snakes have neurotoxic venom which has the potential to be fatal. Any bite from a tiger snake must be treated immediately. Even newborn tiger snakes are highly venomous.

The neurotoxic characteristics of tiger snake venom means that it has a toxic effect on muscles that causes weakness or paralysis. The venom also has myotoxins that cause muscle damage. Procoagulants are other toxins found in tiger snake venom. These destroy the body's ability to clot blood properly and life-threatening bleeding could result. Kidney failure could also occur after a tiger snake bite.

The tiger snake is an elapid. Elapids include cobras, coral snakes, kraits and mambos. The length of tiger snakes varies, but they may be over 6 feet (1.9 m) long. The colors most seen in tiger snakes include black, orange-brown, olive and yellow. Band patterns may be faint or strong in intensity and some types of tiger snakes have no banding or markings at all.


The Chappell Island tiger snake, or notechis ater serventyi, is the largest of all tiger snakes. It has a background color that is mostly dark and may feature lighter bands. Chappell Island is located in Australia's Bass Strait which is at the northeastern end of Tasmania. The Chappell Island tiger snake is also found in the eastern portion of Bass Strait.

The King Island tiger snake, or notechis ater humphreysi, also lives in the Bass Strait area of Australia. It prefers dry environments, but can also be found in marshland, grassland and rocky habitats. King Island tiger snakes are mostly black and gray, but may feature brown tones as well. There are at least six different types of tiger snake and all are native to Australia.


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