Snake found at Wellington worksite identified

15 March 2000

The one metre long live snake found at a Petone worksite yesterday has been identified as an adult female Eastern Brown Snake, widely found on Australia's east coast.

The snake was approximately one metre long and two centimetres thick and a grey green colour with a white belly. The Eastern Brown snake is venomous and would be able to survive in New Zealand conditions.

Its Latin name is pseudonaja textilis.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Surveillance and Disease Response manager Derek Belton said there was no evidence that the snake had recently produced any eggs, but the Ministry would undertake active surveillance in and around the area the snake was found.

As the snake was venomous MAF would be alerting the Ministry of Health to make anti-venom available as a precaution.

There is a shipping container yard nearby to where the snake was found. Dr Belton said the snake most likely entered New Zealand in a shipping container from Australia. He said it was unlikely the snake was introduced intentionally into New Zealand, but if evidence were produced otherwise, the Ministry would take legal action.

The snake was euthanased yesterday.

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