Brown-headed snake (species: Furina tristis) in ALA: LIRS and surrounds using records to Oct. 2021 (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Furina tristis
Brown-headed snake

©Lyle Vail: A Brown-headed snake at Lizard Island Research Station at night

©Anne Hoggett: Brown-headed snake at Lizard Island.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order Squamata
Family Elapidae
Genus Furina
Species Furina tristis
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

A dark blackish brown snake with a broad paler band at the back of the head. Side scales are outlined in white. Less than a metre long, usually about 80 cm at Lizard Island.

Usually seen only at night. A bite from a large individual could cause severe symptoms (Wilson and Swan, 2010).


  • Up to 100 cm (overall length, Wilson and Swan, 2010)



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution



Web resources


  • requires treatment - Bite is venomous.


References that assist with identification

  • Wilson, S. and G. Swan (2010). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia: 3rd Edition 558 pp. New Holland Publishers, Australia.

Other references

  • Limpus, C.H. (1982). The reptiles of Lizard Island, Herpetofauna, 13(2): 1-6. LIRS catalog number 73.