The golden-crowned snake (Cacophis squamulosus) is a small species of elapid, reaching 50-75 centimeters as adults. They are secretive and nocturnal with vertically slit pupils, mostly taking small lizards and frogs as prey. Golden crowns lack the venom potency of other elapids but readily employ a bluff display, rearing up to reveal a colorful underbelly and striking repeatedly with a closed mouth. Belly coloration ranges from splotched brown and orange to striped bright red-orange — this individual’s belly pattern seemed similar to that of an eastern brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis). The symmetrical jagged border on the head, or “crown”, is the most distinctive feature in C. squamulosus, contrasting a uniform dark brown color with two mottled golden stripes along the sides.
Photographed after disturbance