According to sites.google.com, Australia has over 140 land snake species and 32 sea snake species.
Of those 140 land snakes, 100 of them are venomous. We already know that ALL 32 sea snakes are venomous. 🙂
Of the 100 venomous snakes, Wikipedia say that 6 of them are in the top 10 most venomous snakes in the world and yes, the No. 1 spot is held by an Australia snake.
Yupe, now scientists have discovered another new species of venomous snake in Australia.
Appropriately, it’s a type of death adder. Read more further down or the official research paper here. It wiggles the tip of its tail like a worm to attract its prey.
As it’s a newly discovered species, I don’t think they know where it sits on the scale in terms of venom potency.
I just glad that it wasn’t discovered anywhere near Bexley 🙂
There are some people who just hate snakes (yes, I mean YOU, Kenneth:) ) and will kill them any opportunity they can. There seems to be no logical reason that I have been able to discern.
Mind you, just because a snake is venomous, it does not mean that it is dangerous.
By dangerous, I don’t mean that venomous snakes form street gangs and go around attacking humans.
Snakes only attack when they are threatened, eg they are stepped on, they are surprised, their escape route is blocked off.
Snakes, by nature, would rather flee when humans are around.
The BEST way I have found to avoid seeing a snake is to make a lot of noise, e.g. beating the bush in front of you with a long stick, as you walk. Walking noisy and heavily by stamping on the ground helps.
Snakes are part of our environment and perform a useful function in the ecosystem like keeping rodents in check.
In the case of Sungai Pelek, snakes would probably keep down the population of feral cats although I suspect the smaller sized non-venomous snake population would have been decimated by feral cats – and Kenneth 🙂
Ophidiophobics should fret not, but Australia has a new species of snake. Scientists have identified a new type of death adder in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Named the Kimberley death adder, or Acanthophis cryptamydros, the snake is about 50cm long and has a diamond-shaped head.
Scientists from Australia and the UK discovered the snake is different from the death adders found around Darwin in the Northern Territory. Previously it was thought the same species extended to the Kimberley, but an examination of 20 snakes found in the WA region has its very own death adder.
The death adder family is, true to their moniker, considered to be among the most venomous snakes in the world. Before antivenom was available, around half of the people bitten by death adders suffered paralysis and death.
Death adders are now far more at risk from humans, however, with numbers falling due to habitat destruction and the introduction of feral animals such as cats and foxes.
The Kimberley death adder has a distinctive scale formation on its head. Like other death adders, it is a “sit and wait” predator, choosing to lie in wait in order to strike its prey, most commonly birds, lizards and small animals.
Paul Doughty, curator of herpetology at the Western Australian Museum, said 15 snakes were sent from the Northern Territory to compare with the Kimberley species in terms of genetics and physical features.
“It was a surprise to see that the Kimberley has its own death adder, more closely related to the desert death adders out there,” Doughty told Guardian Australia.
“These snakes are super-camouflaged – its idea is to look like a rock or a bunch of leaves. Unlike a brown snake they aren’t designed for speed at all, they are quite slow. They use their tail like a lure, they will dangle it down while it’s hidden until a lizard or something comes close and then it will strike.”
“They are in the top 10 venomous snakes in the world. You definitely have to handle them carefully.”
The elusive snakes are thought to be most abundant in the north-west part of the Kimberley region. And, although numbers are thought to be low, scientists don’t believe they are in immediate danger of extinction due to their isolation from key threats.
“The Kimberley is an isolated corner of Australia with relic species clinging on for millions of years. There is a huge untapped diversity that we’re just getting a handle on.”
“I could easily point to 20 or 30 specimens we have here that haven’t been described. I won’t run out of things to describe from the Kimberley in my career and my successor won’t run out either.”
Doughty said while the Kimberley is largely inaccessible to people, especially during the wet season, its species face threats from changed fire regimes and feral animals.
The WA government has said it is addressing the conservation of the region through an $81m plan that has removed feral cattle, handed environmental work to traditional owners and created Australia’s largest national park through land handed back by Rio Tinto.