[ Issue 13 ]

Snakes are a particular interest of Emily Bronto

Let Bikwil introduce you to Snakes


Armchair naturalists are sure to be interested in Giorni's snake adventure in the bush.

With the aid of a forked branch he had secured a tight grip on the back of the snake's head and I grabbed the tail

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A Little Bit about Snakes Giorni

Here's another story for all you naturalisti al'poltrona.

This adventure took place on one warm summer's day when I went bushwalking with a friend along the Colo River. Not long after we started, I spotted a large snake lying in shallow water. By the shape of the head and large body we figured it to be a species of python. To my surprise, my friend suggested we capture it and have a closer look!

After some hesitation I agreed only on the condition that he grab the head while I took care of the less dangerous tail end. With the aid of a forked branch he had secured a tight grip on the back of the snake's head and I grabbed the tail. The snake immediately coiled its body around both our arms and tightened its grip. Who was holding who? The pressure it applied was surprisingly strong and it took some effort to unravel the snake.

We laid the snake out on the sand, still maintaining a secure hold of both ends, and marked its length. I then paced the length which measured 70 inches (1.8 metres). We noted that the snake had two tiny spurs on either side of its lower body, its rudimentary legs which are still evident on all pythons an indication that snakes in the past actually did have "a leg to stand on".

I drew a rough sketch of the snake's head and skin pattern for later identification (dark olive green above with yellow markings) and then we released it back into the water. The python like all snakes is an excellent swimmer and within seconds it disappeared into the bank on the opposite side of the river.

On returning home, we identified the snake as a diamond python (Morelia spilota) apparently a fairly common snake in NSW. Pythons are non-venomous but can give a nasty bite.

There are several venomous species of snakes which are found in NSW, two of the most venomous being the death adder and the tiger snake a bushwalker's nightmare. The other poisonous snakes which are more often encountered in the bush are the red-bellied black snake and the brown snake. The red-bellied is not aggressive and will only attack if provoked; its bite causes severe illness but is not usually fatal. The brown snake, however, is aggressive and its venom very potent.

So if you do venture from your armchair and go into the bush, have a good day, but tread softly.

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