Friday, 21 August 2009

Snake time in the Tablelands

I was sitting at my desk pretending to work getting a lot of work done, when a friend dropped in.

'There's a small python on the road,' she said. 'Thought you might like to see it.'

So I grabbed my camera and went to have a look.

This young carpet snake (Morelia spilota) refused to move off the road, despite encouragement from us. Pythons are probably the most stubborn group of snakes. They can also be a tad bitey when annoyed. And, although they aren't venomous, they do have lots of small, needle-sharp teeth. Discretion. Valour. Intact fingers. You get the idea.

Carpet snakes (diamond pythons) come in a variety of regional colour phases, which have been dubbed with a confusing range of subspecific epithets. (Confusing to me, that is. No doubt herpetologists have got a handle on it.) The Atherton Tablelands 'jungle python' may either be a brightly-coloured version of the widespread coastal form or a separate subspecies, Morelia spilota cheynei. Either way, it's a handsome snake and a delight to see around. I hope it made it to the other side.


Dave Coulter said...

"a tad bitey" lol....

Snail said...

Ooh, yes! And I'm a tad slow.

I could picture the situation: me with a python's jaws clamped onto my hand and the rest of it wrapped around my arm. And everyone saying, 'and you call yourself a biologist' in between hoots of laughter!