Reptiles on the Move

Snakes on the move

Meryl Eddie here from BOOBOOK Ecotours, Roma, Outback Queensland.

Even though we’ve had a relatively warm winter in Outback Queensland, the winter months have been cool enough to encourage most of our Australian reptiles to stay tucked away for a while longer.   Although not as long as I expected:

winter snake sighting

Carpet Python

It’s early August and our last month of winter here in Roma, Australia.  Just a couple of days ago my Dad came across a Brown Snake basking in the sun while taking our British cousin Ben for a drive around his farm.  Ben, a city boy, was totally excited to see the snake and wanted to jump out of the vehicle to take some photos.  His Australian Grandma was not so sure.

Snakes will generally leave you alone if you leave them alone.  On the rare occasion when people get bitten it is usually because they are trying to catch, handle or chase them, especially in confined areas.  There is the odd rare case where people have been bitten by stepping on or near an unexpected startled snake.  The best advice is to observe them from a distance (at least a few metres away), appreciate what they do in the environment (like helping to keep introduced mice numbers down) and to be alert and watch where you step.

We have 168 species of land snakes in Australia of all colours and sizes and around 200 species if you add in the sea snakes.  Some are venomous and some aren’t.  Around the Roma Region where we live there are about 25 species of land snakes.

I remember gardening a few years back and we found young De Vis’ Banded Snakes under a rock.  These are relatively small creatures (growing up to 0.5m in length) and although venomous they are not generally regarded as being dangerous.  Our kids were only young at the time (around 5 and 7 years old) so, as you do, we put them in a bucket and raced them over to their Gran’s place for a show and tell session.   Gran, by the way, was very impressed.

While many might disagree snakes are real majestic animals – and something that demands a bit of respect.  Just yesterday BOOBOOK’s Principal Ecologist, Craig Eddie and my husband, came across a beautiful Carpet Python curled up in a log pile still making the most of its winter hibernation period.  Excitedly Craig explained this one was a little different as it had a stripe like pattern on its back rather than the more common spotted pattern.

Carpet Python

Carpet Python with striped pattern

Other Australian reptiles starting to emerge after their winter sleep include the Bearded Dragon, Sand Goanna and Shinglebacks.  As the days warm up more we can expect to see them out basking on the road or on top of a log to absorb the full warmth of the sun.   All are pretty cool creatures in their own right. 

If you want to learn more about Australian Wildlife, one of the best ways is to join in with BOOBOOK’s Ecotours in Outback Queensland.  Our guests get to travel around with our locally renowned expert ecologists who have more than thirty year’s ecology and farming experience in the region.  These Guides are more than happy to share their passion for all Australian creatures and to answer any questions you may have.  BOOBOOK has one day tours to give you a taste; however we highly recommend at least a three day customised tour with a small group of your friends or family.  This way you can take more time to stop, enjoy and immerse yourself in our diverse environment, fabulous outback culture and way of life while also getting to see and hear about some of our loveable, cute and as well as our more secretive, shy and spikey Australian plants and animals.

Want to come and check out one of Australia’s wildest frontiers?