Snake identification

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:08
ThreadID: 97501 Views:2762 Replies:6 FollowUps:7
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Image Could Not Be FoundHello guys,

Saw this snake at Mataranka this morning. Probably a couple of meters long but skinny. I think it is a whip snake but not sure. Can anyone clear it up?

Kind regards
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Reply By: get outmore - Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:21

Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:21
does look like a whip snake although if it really is 2m long the only snake it could be is a king brown which I wouldnt rule out as it appears very thin and in poor condition with a prominant back bone showing which is the sighn of a mal nourished snake

a King brown would normally be far thicker set
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:33

Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:33
Only a guess on the size, the tree it was behind was about 20 cm (More or less) Probably a better guess would have been between 1 to 2 meters. Thanks GOM
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Reply By: get outmore - Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:31

Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:31
this isnt a bad website for ID

http://members.iinet.net.au/~bush/ID_index.htm
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:36

Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:36
Thanks
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Reply By: The Explorer - Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:52

Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 21:52
Hi

Think you are right with the whip snake ID.

My guess is Greater Black Whipsnake (Demansia papuensis) - grows to 1.65m.

White margin behind the eye and the tan head are the diagnostic features.

Nothing like a "King Brown"...apart from the fact it is a snake:)

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 22:01

Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 22:01
the only reason I said king brown was due to the mention of it being 2m and lathough it looks nothing like a king brown it does appear to be malnourished which can give snakes a different appearence

my best guess would be whip snake and about 1.2 m max

evey person pretty much I see refers to the snake they saw being a 6 footer

On a brian bush course he said the same and the snakes are rarly over 1.5 m usually more around a metre or just over when he comes to get them

last whip snake I saw was less than 80cm
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 22:17

Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 22:17
Hi Dave

Sorry, just having a mild "dig". It is very often difficult to identify snakes (etc) from low resolution photos. As you mention quoted estimates of size by the average punter are often way out so best to gather other available info to narrow down options..thats all I did (sounds like OP may have been close to actual size though). I could be wrong in my ID also ..no expert on snakes (or anything for that matter). I admire your obvious interest in wildlife, environment etc. Good stuff.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 23:06

Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 23:06
even the qouted maximum sizes for snakes in reference books can be generally optimistic

for example every book ive read quote the SW carpet snake as being able to achieve 2.4m length - the same as all other carpet snakes.

However ive never seen one more than 1.8m approx either wild or captive

certainly mine hasnt grown for a few years after achieving around that size.


while the odd specimen of snake could possibly achieve sizes mentioned in books most are considerabally smaller
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Aug 19, 2012 at 11:23

Sunday, Aug 19, 2012 at 11:23
Hi

I would have a guess and say the quoted maximums in reference books are base on the largest specimen ever recorded for that species as a whole and obviously refer to fully mature adults. It is not by itself a good tool to use for identifying any animal as the population will be made up of individuals of all ages and there may also be sexual dimorphism (and also as you mention sub-species where variation from the "norm" may be more pronounced). You can however use length to eliminate some potential species if you have a specimen that is, for example, twice as long as the length quoted in a book.

I have come to the conclusion based on the various replys to the odd "what snake is this" thread we get every now and then that many people are not aware of the range of species we have in Australia..hence often any thing brown gets called a "brown snake", something with a few stripes will gets called a "tiger snake" etc. While there are some good snake/reptile books for various parts of Australia I think the best one to get for anyone with an interest in reptiles in general is Willsons and Swans "A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia" . Get a copy if you can. Apart from illustrating the full range of species in all of Oz its is very helpul when trying to make an ID.

Cheers
Greg
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Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Aug 19, 2012 at 15:35

Sunday, Aug 19, 2012 at 15:35
I have listed this link for snakes Australia wide. Reptiles of Australia

When travelling i take A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia which The Explorer has given the details above.

Get outmore has given a link to the wonderfully pictorial website for WA from snake expert Brian Bush.

It is difficult to assess from a single photo of the upper side of a snake and i am no expert. As with various creatures we find in our travels, the wealth of knowledge we have in EO members often proves the best resource.

Motherhen
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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 19:09

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 19:09
Thanks very much guys, I've been out of contact for the last two days and this is my first opportunity to respond. The size thing can be difficult for example my son’s pet carpet snake is almost 2 meters but that is hard to see when he's coiled up. I was just amazes at how long this snake seemed as it was very skinny (typically of a whip snake I think) as I followed the loops I began to realise it was quite long. My past snake experiences are with whip snakes around the Blue Mountains which seemed a lot smaller.

I'm also a fisherman so sizes can easily (and reasonably) be exaggerated. Next time I’ll get a tape measure and ask the bugger to subject himself to a lie detector test - he may well have been a world record!

Kind regards
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 05:06

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 05:06
I always find these threads a great source of info and real bloody interesting.
I am in no way shape or form a snake or reptile expert but I do love seeing them in the wild.

It never ceases to amaze me how many snakes we have in Australia and the huge variety of colors that they come in, even among the same make, model and brand of snake.
The web site linked above emphasis's this point quite clearly in its photos, a Brown snake is not necessarily brown and a Tiger does not always look like a Tiger.

Its so hard to get the correct ID from people with experience, so lay snake people like myself have little hope.

Good book reference above also, I will get a copy of that one with 900 reptiles it will help with reptiles other than snakes.

I came across a couple of lovely pythons recently when I was camped by the Flinders River between Normanton and Bourketown.
One was a Blackheaded Python and then I found a pair of Olive Pythons.
All three snakes were a genuine 2 meters long as they were stretched out and easy to judge and looked really healthy, nice and thick and interested in me :)

Gorgeous creatures, the Blackhead was hunting just on dusk and slithered right through the middle of our camp site. The two Olives I saw on the track at night in the torch light just as I was heading to bed.
Astounded to see 3 such snakes in the one place within a few hours of each other.
Needless to say my partner said she would rather wee the bed than go outside during the night to the toilet :))


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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 20:11

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 20:11
G'day John,

Lovely interaction with the wildlife. I had to look up Flinders river (just west of Burktown and we'll be passing there in a couple of months and I hope to be that lucky. The bride doesn't share my pleasure of snakes, I think they are just fascinating.

Safe travel and kind regards
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