Although non-venomous the Keelback (Tropidonophis mairii) will omit an offensive odour when threatened, it is regularly mistaken for the venomous Rough-scaled snake and vice-versa.
Keelbacks are generally olive brown in color with dark cross bands that are often described as stripes due to the appearance of flecks seen through the scales, and a cream colored belly that has a pink or orange tinge running along the edges.
As the name suggests its body scales are keeled giving it ridges that run along the snake’s body. Not a large species (they grow up to 75cm), the Keelback is often confused with the venomous Rough-scaled snake
This species is active both day and night. Usually found at ground level, it can climb well. A non-venomous, inoffensive species, it can omit a strong smelling odor when threatened.
Feeds mainly on frogs, but fish, reptile eggs and mammals are also taken. This species is one of the few Australian vertebrates to prey successfully on the introduced Cane Toad yet attempt to eat large toads sometimes has fatal consequences for the snake.
Distribution and Habitat
Found in most suburbs of Brisbane, the Keelback lives in well watered situations along creeks and in swamps and is also found in eucalypt forests, pastures, parks and suburban gardens.