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In the last couple years, I have visited the channel country of southwestern Queensland on two occasions. The first trip was with my son in November, 2006. The daily temperatures in November were already 40C+. We found many reptiles but it was too hot to have much of a chance at finding a Fierce Snake, the species at the top of our "wish-list". I decided to try again a little earlier in the year so went on a quick 4-day trip in October of 2007. On this trip, one day was 40C but a cool change arrived and the high was only in the low 20Cs on the second day. The post will include the snakes that were encountered on these two trips.

First, here are a few habitat shots. The channel country is harsh and dry, but I think that it is beautiful in its own way. That habitat changes every few kilometers. The whole area was incredibly devoid of people.

A typical campsite.

The edge and then into the Eyrean Basin:

... gibber flats

... the bleak, cracking clay that seems like it should be devoid of life ... but it is not. This is the home of something special!

... beautiful red dunes with yellow spinifex

Night drives through the area produced a number of interesting reptiles. We found three Mulga Snakes (Pseudichis australis).
... a young one.

... a big adult that appeared to have just eaten.

In October, I saw two Speckled Brown Snakes (Pseudonaja guttata) and both put on a terrific display. They would expand a small hood and then tilt slightly while swaying from side to side. Sometimes they would also open their mouths. Both snakes ultimately took cover within cracks in the clay.

I found a single Australian Coral Snake (Brachyurophis australis) in October.

... and a single Unbanded Shovel-nosed Snake (Brachyurophis incinctus) in November. This snake elevated a portion of its body into a stiff loop, a little like the behaviour of a Bandy-bandy.

We saw two Curl Snakes (Suta suta). On both occasions, they panicked as we approached and literally hurled themselves off the road. One escaped into a crack in the soil before I could photograph it but I did manage a few photos of the second snake. Both snakes were much paler than those that I have seen further to the east.

The highlight of the trips was finding a Fierce Snake (Oxyuranus microlepidatus) that was basking on the cool morning of October. It reacted as soon as I stopped the car.

The only non-elapid encountered was this beautiful Stimson's Python (Antaresia stimsoni). It was a beautifully coloured snake that looked quite different to the race that I have seen Western Australia.



Very Well-Known Member
Some amazing pics David! Nice work spotting the fierce. Beautiful stimmie as well. Have you seen a fierce snake in the wild before or was it yer first?


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Fantastic photo's David, thanks for sharing them.

How did you go with that little wee car? You just stuck to the main road's?

Anymore trips planned?



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Thanks, all, for the replies.

Did you take any photos? If so, I would love to see them. Western India?

That was my first Fierce Snake. It was an exhilarating experience to see this incredible snake in the wild.

I always use little hire cars like that for the long trips. I think that the Getz are perfect for this -- comfortable for 1 or 2, fuel efficient and easy to spin around when something is seen on the road.

I don't have any more herp trips planned this year but should get out a little next week when I return to Tasmania for work.

I was lucky to go on a number of trips this past season so will report those over the next few weeks.



Very Well-Known Member
Gees you get it hard David ,?
all that traveling and all those pics of australiana ,
great stuff mate ,


WOW...amazing photography and some awesome animals on display.

You wouldn't happen to want a right-hand man would you, just to assist of course ;)

What type of camera was you using David?

Thanks for sharing...



Very Well-Known Member
Magnificent photos David.... One of the best field trip threads I've seen for ages!

You were lucky to see the taipan. I've been through there a few times and seen nothing. A friend of mine found a large dead one. Some of the lab techs from USYD go through there 6-8 times a year and rarely see them as well.



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Brilliant photos David thanks for sharing. Makes me just want to get in the 4by and drive.Im in melb and dont know that area what were some of the towns near there? regards Cracks


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Thanks again for all the compliments.

I use a Panasonic FZ30 and then software to crop, sharpen, adjust light, ...

I prefer to travel light -- it only takes a few minutes to set up the tent when I am too tired to drive any further.

I was very pleased to see the Fierce Snake. Years ago, I drove up the Birdsville Track for birds but also watched for reptiles ... lots of driving but no luck at all with the Fierce Snake.

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