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Red-naped snake

Red-naped snake  Photo:EHP

Red-naped snake Photo:EHP

Common name: red-naped snake

Scientific name: Furina diadema

Family: Elapidae

Conservation status: This species is listed as Least Concern in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992) and it is ranked as a low priority under the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Back on Track species prioritisation framework.


The red-naped snake is a slender snake growing up to about 40 cm. It is red-brown in colour with a shiny black head and nape, and a distinctive bright red or orange patch on the back of its head. Its belly is white or cream.

Habitat annd distribution

The red-naped snake occurs in a wide range of dry habitats, it tends to stay away from very moist areas such as rainforests. You may stumble across this snake under rocks, logs, leaves, timber piles, old sheets of iron or in cracks and crevices and it can often be found near ant colonies or termite nests. It is one of the most commonly encountered small snakes in the suburban gardens of Ipswich.

The red-naped snake occurs in humid to arid areas of eastern Australia from Cairns in north Queensland to Port Augusta in South Australia. It has been recorded in about 18 National Parks in Queensland including Main Range, Girraween, Bunya Mountains, Koombit Tops and Tamborine National Park.

Life history and behaviour

Like many snakes, the red-naped snake is nocturnal, hiding by day and active at night when it feeds on small skinks. The red-naped snake is venomous, but is regarded as 'virtually harmless' to humans. When threatened it will strike back, but usually with its mouth closed.

Further information

Cogger, HG 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th edition. Reed New Holland, Sydney, New South Wales

Couper, P and Amey, A 2007. Snakes of south east Queensland. Pocket guide. Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Queensland.

Ryan, M (Ed) 2007. Wildlife of Great Brisbane. Revised edition. Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Queensland.

Shine, R 1991. Australian snakes a natural history. Reed Books, Sydney, New South Wales.

Wilson, S 2005. A field guide to reptiles of Queensland. Reed New Holland Press, Sydney, New South Wales.

Wilson, S and Swan, G 2003. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, Chatswood, New South Wales.

Wilson, S and Swan, G 2008. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia. Revised edition. Reed New Holland Publishers, Chatswood, New South Wales.

Last reviewed
25 May 2016
Last updated
12 July 2011