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Snake, eastern brown.jpg

The eastern brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis), often referred to as the common brown snake, is a species of venomous elapid snake of the genus Pseudonaja native to eastern and central Australia and southern New Guinea. Considered the world's second-most-venomous land snake based on its LD value (subcutaneous) in mice, it is responsible for about 60% of snake bite deaths in Australia. First described by André Marie Constant Duméril in 1854, the adult eastern brown snake is a slender snake up to 2 m (7 ft) long with variable upperparts that can be various shades of brown, ranging from pale brown to almost black. Its underside is pale cream-yellow, often with orange or grey splotches. A highly active and diurnal predator, the eastern brown snake is found in most habitats except dense forests, and has become more common in farmland and on the outskirts of urban areas. Its main prey is the house mouse and it is oviparous. The eastern brown snake is of slender to average build with no demarcation between its head and neck. Its snout appears rounded when viewed from above. Most specimens have an average total length (including tail) of up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft), with some large specimens reaching 2 m (6.6 ft). The maximum recorded size for the species is 2.4 m (7.9 ft). The adult eastern brown snake is highly variable in colour. Its upperparts range from pale to dark brown, or sometimes shades of orange or russet, with the pigment more richly coloured in the posterior part of the dorsal scales. Eastern brown snakes from Merauke have tan to olive upperparts, while those from eastern Papua New Guinea are very dark grey-brown to blackish. It has a dark tongue. The iris is blackish with a paler yellow-brown or orange ring around the pupil. The eastern brown snake's chin and underparts are cream or pale yellow, sometimes fading to brown or grey-brown towards the tail. There are often orange, brown or dark grey blotches on the underparts, more prominent anteriorly. The ventral scales are often edged with dark brown on their posterior edges. Juveniles can vary in markings but generally have a black head, with a lighter brown snout and band behind, and a black nuchal band. Their bodies can be uniform brown, or have many black bands, or a reticulated pattern, with all darker markings fading with age.