Eastern small-eyed snake

Common name: eastern small-eyed snake

Scientific name: Cryptophis nigrescens

Family: Elapidae

Conservation status: The eastern small-eyed snake is listed as Least Concern in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992).


Growing up to 1.2 m, the eastern small-eyed snake is black, with a cream to pink belly, often with blackish blotches. This snake resembles the red-bellied black-snake, However, it has a minute eye which is scarcely discernable from the surrounding scales. The eastern small-eyed snake is regarded as dangerously venomous and should be avoided. There can be great variation between individuals within a single species of snake. This description is based on general characters. It can be difficult to positively identify some snakes. Never approach snakes and never assume that they are non-venomous.

Habitat and distribution

They live on the coast and in mountain ranges from far north Queensland to southern Victoria. Watch out for them under rocks, logs and backyard debris, or in crevices

Like the white-crowned snake, the eastern small-eyed snake likes to keep its business private, and waits for night to head out to eat. Lizards, skinks and frogs are its preferred prey.

Life history and behaviour

The eastern small-eyed snake is nocturnal feeding on small skinks, dragons and the occasional frog. The female gives birth to 2-4 live young.

This snake is venomous and should be avoided.