One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A fast-moving, aggressive venomous Australian snake, with a variety of colour forms.
Pseudonaja and other genera, family Elapidae: several species, in particular P. textilis
- ‘He was said to have been bitten more than 10 times by deadly snakes; one bite from a brown snake sent him into unconsciousness before a friend called an ambulance.’
- ‘Antivenins contain a fairly hefty chunk of horse serum, and if big doses are used (such as for brown snakes in Queensland or with inexperienced users) serum sickness results and may need steroids.’
- ‘It's like a ‘fish that got away’ story, especially as brown snakes aren't common around here, but I'll go to sleep tonight happy believing that he was 160 centimetres.’
- ‘It was a brown snake, four or five feet long, probably smaller than it seemed to my little eyes at the time, and it was swishing its way along the hopscotch lines on the playground.’
- ‘For example, Australian snakes such as the taipan and the brown snake use two active enzymes in their venom that are also present in human blood: factor X and factor V.’
2A small, secretive harmless North American snake that is typically brown in colour.
Storeria dekayi, family Colubridae
- ‘Brown Snakes reach lengths between 9 and 13 in. (23-33 cm).’
- ‘Officers found a common nonpoisonous brown snake, inexplicably covered with jelly.’
- ‘Although adaptable to a wide range of habitats, the brown snake prefers moist, open prairies and meadows.’
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