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The Often Overlooked

December 9, 2018

In the valley the three snakes to watch out for (according to popular wisdom) are the Red-bellied Black, the Eastern Brown and the Tiger Snake. All three are classed as dangerously venomous and depending on the local environment one of the three will dominate. All are snakes of the Elapid family. That is having hollow syringe-like fangs at the front of the mouth that inject venom from a gland at the back of the jaw.

But spare a thought for the often overlooked fourth – the Lowlands Copperhead (Austrelaps superbus) so named, surprise, surprise for the colour of its head (see picture below) – a marking which may or may not be distinctive. The Copperhead is also an Elapid snake regarded as dangerously venomous and like the Black and Tiger snakes bears live young. The Eastern Brown Snake lays eggs.

Restricted to south-eastern Australia there are three species of Copperheads. They can tolerate temperatures far lower than the Black, Brown and Tiger Snakes. Therefore it is not uncommon to find them basking in the sun during seasons where one would not expect to see snakes. A daytime hunter, they are also known to hunt at night if the day temperature has been too hot. The Copperhead diet mainly consists of frogs. They are good swimmers and will also catch tadpoles for food.

These details do not bode well for one of my favourite pastimes, sitting on the side of a dam after a hot day watching the dragonflies emerge…stay tuned.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    December 10, 2018 10:49 am



  1. In a hole in the ground there lived a … | Focus On Fauna

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