Bandy-bandy Vermicella annulata

Not Dangerous

The bandy-bandy (Vermicella annulata), also commonly known as the hoop snake, is a species of venomous snake in the family Elapidae. The species is endemic to Australia. It is considered weakly venomous.

Individuals are marked with alternating black and white or yellowish bands, which give the species both its common names and the Latin name (from the diminutive form, annul-, of the Latin anus, meaning "ring"). Though it was once thought that there was only one species, the discovery of another species (Vermicella parscauda) on a peninsula in Australia's far north indicates there may be more species of bandy-bandy than previously thought.

Appearance

The bandy-bandy is a smooth-scaled, glossy snake with a distinctive pattern of sharply contrasting black and white rings that continue right around the body. The snout is black and rounded. The eyes are small. The tail is short and blunt. The dorsal scales are in 15 rows at mid body. The average total length (including tail) is 50 to 60 cm (20 to 24 in).

Venom

Vermicella annulata is weakly venomous with localized symptoms around the bite area. It is generally considered harmless due to the small size of its mouth and its inoffensive nature.

Distribution

Found mainly suburbs with woodland habitats such as Mt Cotton, Mt Crosby, Kholo, Brisbane & Lockyer Valleys. Most common in areas of remnant habitat structure such as the foothills of Mt Glorious and Brisbane Forest Park. Recently found in Cannonvale in the Whitsunday region of North Queensland. In Southeast Queensland it is found across a wide range of habitats and vegetation types, from coastal forest & woodland, to scrubland, mulga and outback desert. Found also in Central NSW (Dubbo / Parkes)

General habits

Nocturnal, burrowing snake, found beneath the soil surface, under stumps, rocks & logs. Emerges at night to forage, especially after rain. Unique alarm posture of holding braced loops of body off ground.

Diet

The Bandy-bandy has been known to feed on Ramphotyphlops.

Around the home

The snake is infrequently encountered. Occasional specimens discovered by roaming cats at night or often found after falling into backyard swimming pools. Prefers subterranean refugia under large rocks or deeply set ground timber.

Related species discovery

In 2018, a new member of the bandy bandy snake family was discovered, named Vermicella parscauda. The new species of snake was found by Dutch biologist Freek Vonk at Weipa on Cape York Peninsula, near Rio Tinto's bauxite mining operations, and may be endangered.