Friday, 29 November 2013

Red Bellied Black Snake

Never blinking concentration
While walking with Lachlan through Tidbinbilla Nature reserve in the Australian Capital Territory yesterday, he noticed one, then a second and even a third snake lurking in the undergrowth between the path and the waterside of a small lake. They were all Red-bellied Black Snakes Pseudechis porphyriacus, one of my favourite species of snake in Australia as they have a rich shiny black top side and a fiery red belly - and I have never seen an aggressive one.

A glimpse of the beautiful red belly of the snake as it slipped over a path
The first one glided onto and across the path to drop into a patch of marsh where it carried on hunting for frogs, lizards or whatever else it might eat. The colour on its belly was more easily seen as it crossed the open path than when it slipped through the grasses.

Hunting in the waterside grass
That one was about a metre and a half long and the others about two metres, perhaps one female and two males. But why are people obsessed with the length of snakes, their size does not make them more dangerous (unless they are very large pythons which could kill a human if given a chance). These Black Snakes are very venomous, yet they were quietly getting on with their life and as we left them alone, they left us alone. No one has been recorded as being killed from a bite by any of  this species. 

There was an appropriate visitor sign in the reserve which said 'the only good snake is a live snake' and I for one agree. We just need to be careful if they are around. 

This one would lift its head up to see, or scent for prey, but I don't know why it spread its hood as I didn't approach it.
This is usually a sign to back off, so I did anyway.

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