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Morelia spilota spilota (TBC)

Identification history

Snake Morelia spilota spilota 16 Feb 2020 Patrick Campbell
Snake Hoplocephalus bungaroides 14 Feb 2020 Inga

Identify this sighting

Author's notes

Sighted at dusk on the track within the reserve at Burrewarra Point, near the lighthouse. I initially mistook its tail for a goanna's but when it didn't take off, had a second look. It was quite a slim snake, very dark grey with yellow spots/markings forming stripes the length of its body. Its belly was yellowish. It held its body and very distinctive head aggressively, and maintained that position, even as we backed away. Perhaps a juvenile.

4 comments

   14 Feb 2020
There doesn't seem to be any photo attached to this observation, without which it's hard to confirm this sighting. Were the yellow spots one scale wide?
When you write "yellow spots/markings forming stripes the length of its body" I suspect that you mean bands rather than stripes, as our native snakes are more commonly banded rather than striped. Bands go around or across the body like rings, as opposed to stripes, which run lengthwise.
   16 Feb 2020
Guerilla Bay is well out of the known range for Hoplocephalus bungaroides (by about 70 km), as the southernmost reliable record for this species is around Morton National Park, which would be a significant range extension, so this sighting is unlikely to be a Broad-headed Snake. This species also tends to favour more mountainous country in the southern parts of their range, rather than coastal headlands.
Judging from the description and the location, this sighting is more likely to be a Tiger Snake, but in the absence of any photographic evidence, I am unable to confirm this sighting.
Inga wrote:
   16 Feb 2020
Thanks, Patrick. I wish I had taken a photo! It definitely wasn't a tiger snake. The body was slimmer, the head more pronounced in comparison. And not such solid bands - or that colouring. It was a much more 'dot-dash' sort of look to the bands: yellow on very dark grey. There have been plenty of diamond pythons seen around here, which can have similar colouring - so that would make more sense. But it didn't look or behave like a python. I haven't ever seen a snake so aggressive. It didn't back down even after we retreated.
   16 Feb 2020
Thanks Inga. It sounds like it's more likely to be a Diamond Python then.
Even though Diamonds tend to be placid by nature, I have witnessed the occasional specimen that behaves extremely defensively as you describe.
I think it prudent to put this obs down as an unconfirmed Diamond Python based on the description and likelihood of it being a young Diamond rather than a Hoplo.

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Sighting information

  • 1 - 3 Abundance
  • 12 Feb 2020 7:10 PM Recorded on
  • Inga Recorded by
  • Website Reported via
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