The Colubridae family is the largest snake family. It contains approximately 2000 species. Many colubrids are technically considered venomous but very few are considered dangerous to humans. Human deaths have been attributed to the boomslang (Dispholidus typus), keel snake (Rhabdophis spp.), and twig snakes (Thelotornis spp.).

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Colubrid Snake are a group of solid-toothed and rear-fanged snakes that lack a sophisticated venom-delivery system. Only ten species occur in Australia (all of which are found in Queensland) but this is the world’s most diverse and widespread snake family.

Many Australian Colubrid Snake are aquatic (feeding on fish or crabs) or semi-aquatic (for example, the Freshwater Snake, Tropidonophis mairii) preying on frogs, lizards, tadpoles and fish.

The group also includes tree snakes; slender, agile climbers that glide through the trees with ease. The Green Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata) feeds mainly on frogs and the Brown Tree Snake (Boiga irregularis) is mainly a bird-eater – notorious for its raids on aviaries.

Colubrid Snake

Ghost Corn Snake


Medically important colubrids possess rear fangs, which are not as developed as elapid or viper fangs. In order to inject significant amounts of venom they frequently have to ‘chew’ on their victims. The venom of colubrids has not been studied as extensively as elapids and vipers and relatively little is known about it.