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DanTheMan

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In addition to my previous threads

http://www.aussiepythons.com/forum/...dies-5373/nt-qld-herping-trip-western-155397/
http://www.aussiepythons.com/forum/...tudies-5373/nt-qld-herping-trip-alice-155404/

Here is a post from the Darwin area copied from my still unfinished blog.

Chapter 6 – Darwin, NT | Dans Wild Australia

After driving 1200km in 1 day from Erldunda to Daly Waters with very few reptiles due to the intense heat (just a few monitors), we were relieved when a nice thunderstorm rolled through after dark to cool things down a fraction, yet boost the already ridiculous humidity. With this rain, a few reptiles came out, although not a lot worth photographing. Despite the rain I think it was still to hot for much to be sitting on the road, everything we found was crossing the road as fast as they could.
This was one the biggest Burtons Legless Lizards I have ever seen.

Lialis burtonis


Giant Frog – Cyclorana australis


We camped at a truck stop and tried our best to get to sleep in the insane heat and humidity. A few hours later we rose at sunrise to the sweet deafening chorus of Cicadas, packed up our gear, and headed to Katherine.
On the way through the lusciously green eucalypt forests, we came across a Frilled Necked Lizard basking on the road, although the little bugger wouldn’t hang around for photos and shot up a nice tall tree.
So without photo’s, we continued onto the interesting town of Katherine. We were excited as this place has recently gained McDonalds! After getting a feed there and enjoying the air conditioning, we headed to Katherine Gorge.

That night, we went for a walk around the gorge hoping for a few python and colubrid species. We didn’t find any snakes, but there were plenty of Geckos.
Marbled Gecko’s – Oedura marmorata are currently in the process of being split in to many different species, but for now I shall leave them as a highly variable O. marmorata. This first one is a juvenile.

Adult




We also found a very nice looking Northern Spiny-tailed Gecko, but I got better pictures of one further north so I won’t include this one.
We stayed at the campground at Katherine Gorge, which was pure luxery compared to what we were used to on this trip!

After having a pretty un-successful night with finding no snakes (we were after Night Tigers and Olive Pythons) we decided to head north to a road that has a name for being one of the best herping spots in this area for pretty much every species. We were to discover that this was not the case for us when we were there!
During the day, we walked to Robin Falls looking for golden phased Common Tree Snakes – Dendalaphis punculata, we were unsuccessful, but this area had plenty of spots for us to cool down.

Robin Falls (after 6 weeks in the outback, I’m not that pasty white anymore)

And doing this


In various locations, such as this

For various critters, such as Arafura File Snakes – Achrochordus arafurae (failed at this stage) and turtles such as;
Northern Yellow Faced Turtle – Emydura tanybaraga

That night, we drove the long road many, many times into the early hours of the morning, to find nothing other than a heap of Burtons Legless Lizards, Northern Spiny-tailed Geckos and a single Childrens Python.
Childrens Python – Antaresia childreni

Plenty of Burtons – Lialis burtonis

And this area has the best looking Northern Spiny-tailed Geckos in the country
Stophurus ciliaris




Along this road, we stopped at every creek crossing to look for Arafura File Snakes – Achrocordus arafurae, Matt managed to locate one young File Snake sticking out of a yabby hole, where it retreated, and never emerged again.
We set up camp near Robin Falls, and went for a walk at around 2am. We found another Childrens Python and a Slaty Grey – Stegonotus cucullatus (who wasn’t photographed, but more were found in Queenland so dont worry!)

Antaresia childreni






The next day we headed to Darwin in search of a nice air-conditioned hotel and a massive feed of Maccas. We aquired both, enjoyed the comfy beds for a little, before heading out to Fogg Dam.

Forest Kingfisher


Northern Water Dragon – Amphibolurus temporalis


At sunset, these skinks would emerge to forage.
Eremiascincus douglasi

There wasn’t much active the nights we were at Fogg Dam, but we managed to locate the main target.
Juvenile Water Python – Liasis mackloti

We found a much better spot for Water Pythons than the dam wall, where we found adults such as this monstor (bad photo)


Hatchie Childerns Python, was found climbing down a Paper Bark Tree on the dam wall.

Keelback – Tropodinophis mairii

Plenty of frogs, although we only stopped for a few.
Dahl’s Aquatic Frog – Litoria dahlii

Northern Laughing Treefrog – Litoria rothii

DOR Darwin Carpet Python – Morelia spilota variegata, would loved to have seen a live one, but we missed out this time.

As we found too many species to include every photo we took, I will have to skip a few nights and only include the highlights (this is the case for the whole trip, and pretty much every other trip of mine). We spent most of our nights in Darwin herping, so most of the day was spent in the air-conditioned room watching Family Guy and just chilling. But we went herping every night.

On one of our better nights, we went for a walk though some coastal mangroves in search of some of the snakes that inhabit these areas. We found 2 of the 4 semi-aquatic mangrove snakes that occur in Australia in the time we were there.

We had an exciting moment when crossing a small creek to get to the mangroves… It was quite shallow, and after scanning the water revealing no eye-shine, we walked closer inspecting the water for anything interesting, my toes almost touching the waters edge, Matt standing a little further down stream, at a similar distance from the water. As I left the waters edge, a rather large (not massive) Salt Water Croc came bursting out of the water directly in front of Matt, toward where I was standing 2 seconds ago. Got the heart going and it gave us a good chuckle! We still crossed the creek about 20 metres down stream where it was only 30cm deep.

White-bellied Mangrove Snake – Fordonia lucobalia, we found 4 different looking juveniles within close proximity, probably from the same recently dropped clutch. No adults were found.





And the other main target for the magroves, Bockadam – Cerberus rynchops



And then on the way back to the hotel, we found a stunning variation of the Brown Tree Snake – Boiga irregualris




A different animal on a different night

One day we went to one of my favourite spots, Berry Springs. Not for widlife reasons (well they do have a play in things) but it’s a beautiful place, and excellent water clarity for snorkeling! I wish I had a housing for my camera to take it under water with me, massive fish in there too! Photo’s don’t do the place justice.

When we were there, the Springs were closed due to it being the wet season, and apparently it’s unsafe, so you were not suppose to enter the water….Snorkeling along the Pandanus for Arafura File Snakes was awesome! :)

Waterfall


And the target snake! one of the main highlights of the trip, love these ugly snakes! And to find one in the wild and swim with it was insane!
I know it’s not the best way to photograph an aquatic species, and unfortunately the lighting was terrible and didn’t get any decent photo’s of it.
Arafura File Snake – Acrochordus arafurae



Young Golden phased Common Tree Snake – Dendalaphis punculata


And we found this adult chasing a frog at dusk

The lucky frog that got away, Limnodynastes convexiusculus

We saw some sweet tropical thunderstorms while in the Top End, every single day. Most after dark where you couldn’t see much structure, although thunderstorms in this area generally don’t have the beautiful structure you get back home in South East Queensland and further south. We core punched it and experienced some of the heaviest rain I have seen, and then headed north back to Darwin after finding the above reptiles, and got some snaps of it at Noonamah.

On our last night in Darwin before heading to Kakadu National Park, we went for a herp south of the city again where we found another main target for the area. This snake was to end the night nice and early.
The subject, Hill Death Adder – Acanthophis rugosa



The result, Matt earned himself an all expenses paid trip to Darwin Royal Hospital! Since I’m such a good friend, I went and got him some REAL food! Large McChicken meal.


For those interested, Matt experienced pain up the left hand side of his body, mostly arm and chest with local swelling on his thumb, the numbness in his hand and arm slowly went over the following weeks. Once he was released from hospital, he felt quite drained and had no energy for the next few days. Only one fang got him on his thumb, which he pulled out a few days later.

We picked him up from the hospital and headed straight for Kakadu National Park.

Male Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Female


Jabiru and Brolgas


Wetlands & Magpie Geese

Spot the Croc!


That night, we went for a walk where Oenpelli Rock Pythons – Morelia oenpeliensis could be found (altough not by us!). We had planned on staying here until we found one. We did a bit of driving that night after our walk, but found nothing on the roads, so the following were found on foot.

Northern Sedge Frog – Litoria bicolor


Keelback – Tropodinophis mairii

Nothern Spotted Dtella – Gehyra nana

The funniest part of the night was when Matt, freshly out of hospital from being envenomated by a Death Adder, nearly stood on this juvinile Adder, in-situ on the walking track, in thongs!
Acanthophis rugosa, was found in a Cane Toad infested area, good to see they’re surviving and breeding.

As I said, we had planned on staying in Kakadu for a few days, but we were too soft. The next day, we sat around in the heat, with nothing to do. It was too hot to go herping, nothing would be active. We were suppose to endure 12 hours of this before it would get dark, and the thing that really made the decision to leave for us was the 2 million flies covering our body, literally. So we decided that as we had found sweet FA the night before, after herping all night, to head south again and make our way back to Queensland.
 
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waruikazi

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Great pics Dan and a cool story. Can i ask where you have got the name rugosa for the death adders? I remember once somebody told me that there was speculation that the adders around Adelaide River Bridge were an undescribed ssp but i'm pretty sure they are still currently lumped into praelongus. I'm assuming that is around abouts where that adult one was found.

And FFS stay out of the water!
 

saximus

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Yeah the File Snake is wicked. Never seen one before. I love the Adders too. What was your friend trying to do when he got tagged?
 

DanTheMan

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Great pics Dan and a cool story. Can i ask where you have got the name rugosa for the death adders? I remember once somebody told me that there was speculation that the adders around Adelaide River Bridge were an undescribed ssp but i'm pretty sure they are still currently lumped into praelongus. I'm assuming that is around abouts where that adult one was found.

And FFS stay out of the water!

I am told that there is no longer A. praelongus in the NT, only northern Qld. Adders around the Adelaide River bridge are A. hawkei or Food Plains Adders, and those found in higher areas are A. rugosa or Hill Adders, still waiting for a bit of clarification on that so might not be 100% accurate.

Yeah the File Snake is wicked. Never seen one before. I love the Adders too. What was your friend trying to do when he got tagged?

Just photographing it, they're quick snakes!

Thanks guys, still another few posts to come from North Queensland.
 
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waruikazi

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I am told that there is no longer A. praelongus in the NT, only northern Qld. Adders around the Adelaide River bridge are A. hawkei or Food Plains Adders, and those found in higher areas are A. rugosa or Hill Adders, still waiting for a bit of clarification on that so might not be 100% accurate.

Right, that's interesting. I know there is a well known difference between the plains and woodlands phase but i wasn't aware of a hills form. Can you share who you heard this from? And when you get clarification can you let me know?

And just for a clarification, when i say Adelaide River Bridge i mean down the Stuart Highway not along the Arnhem toward Kakadu.
 

Ozzie Python

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great thread and some nice animals found. loving the childreni pics. looking forward to getting back up to NT again this year, even if it is for work not pleasure.

you got matt a pair of adder proof thongs and spare undies for creek crossings now? :lol:
 

-Matt-

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Thanks for including that picture of me in there Dan, really appreciate it... The things we do for a good photo :)
 

guzzo

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-Wow Matt, very well done, I live in the Top End and must say not only have you captured fantastic photos of the animals but you have also captured the spirit of the place....once again fantastic work.......this sort of trip will be something you will carry with you for life.......and lets face it when we are on our death beds i don't think it will be sitting in an office or rushing to meet some work deadline we will remember.
 
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Quality captures there Dan 8) That file snake and those little spiny taileds are awesome!! Good to hear Matt's doing well :)
 

Ozzie Python

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Thanks for including that picture of me in there Dan, really appreciate it... The things we do for a good photo :)

Sounds more like "things we do for free mcdonalds" lol. did they sponsor you both on this trip?
 

sarah_m

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Wow, thats awsome. I'm getting all excited now about our trip there next month. Hopefully we do half as well as you guys did!
 

-Matt-

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Sounds more like "things we do for free mcdonalds" lol. did they sponsor you both on this trip?

It was definatly worth the free maccas! I wish they sponsored us...I'm pretty sure I'm putting Ronald McDonald's kids through college!
 

waruikazi

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I am told that there is no longer A. praelongus in the NT, only northern Qld. Adders around the Adelaide River bridge are A. hawkei or Food Plains Adders, and those found in higher areas are A. rugosa or Hill Adders, still waiting for a bit of clarification on that so might not be 100% accurate.



Just photographing it, they're quick snakes!

Thanks guys, still another few posts to come from North Queensland.

Finally found a little bit of time to do some digging. I found this Death Adders (Genus: Acanthophis): An Updated overview, including descriptions of 3 New Island species and 2 New Australian subspecies. i know it's from the guy of which we do not speak but i made some observations that may be relevant to the different acanthophis species we've been talking about. The species you mentioned are not new names, rugosus (which is actually a PNG snake according to that paper) is over 60 years and hawkei more than 25. Yet the names are not used in any of the literature i have access to at the minute, some quite old and some very new.

So there are three likely scenarios i can see here.
1- The man, of which we do not speak, is talking smack again.
2- They were redescribed but the descriptions were never accepted or
3- They were redescribed and rediscribed again where the names were changed.
4- I don't know what i'm talking of.
 

viridis

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A great thread with some fantastic pics however you guys are lucky that you have not spent much time in Northern Australia otherwise you will end up coming unstuck with your lack of crocodile safety and common sense!
 
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