The “infamous” Australian brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis), an alert and feisty snake, quick to flee and bluff dramatically during confrontations. Despite their reputation, brown snakes will only initiate their defensive display if they feel threatened and are approached in close proximity. The raising of the body into an S-shape, opening of the mouth, and coming forward to face a threat might make them seem “aggressive,” but it’s important to understand why exactly a snake may behave in this way. As is often the case, an animal that feels threatened without an easy escape route will do its best to deter a predator, making itself appear as intimidating as possible. Unfortunately, defensive snakes are often demonized and injured/killed by people, when both parties would be completely unharmed if the person just walks away. Many other animals that show intense defensive behaviors such as frillneck lizards aren’t seen so badly in the public eye and receive much more understanding than venomous snakes. Although brown snakes certainly demand respect (as all animals should) because of their potent venom, it’s important to understand that snakes aren’t out to get you, and will strive to remain undetected and get away at their first opportunity. Biting and envenomation is costly for a snake since venom is used to subdue prey, so they will only use venom as the last line of defense against a predator.
Photographed with the help of a friend during his relocation services