Laying low and legless

I guess most of us are laying low at the moment but not as low as this legless critter spotted slithering across our road on a recent walk with the dog and neighbour.

Luckily I was carrying my camera and 14-150mm lens as I was hoping to see the Wedgetailed Eagle – which I also saw and photographed further along the road! – images in the next post soon.

This Tasmanian Tiger Snake – Notechis scutatus, slid down a bank beside the road, into a neighbours woodpile, so I jumped the fence at a distance and carefully went in pursuit – keeping a safe distance as we all should be from each other nowadays. It wasn’t a very warm morning so he was a little sluggish moving his five foot body along the ground, but he knew I was there and at this point headed straight for me!

A slow, careful hunter, the Tiger snake may stand its ground if surprised, relying on its impressive threat display for defence. Like most snakes, Tiger snakes are first cowards, then bluffers, and only become warriors as a last resort. If threatened, a Tiger snake will flatten out its neck, raising its head to make itself appear as frightening as possible. If the threat persists, the snake will often feign a strike, producing an explosive hiss or ‘bark’ at the same time. Like most snakes, Tiger snakes will not bite unless provoked.

Tiger snakes feed mainly on mammals and birds under 300 g in weight. They also eat other vertebrates including lizards, smaller snakes, frogs and occasionally fish. They can move faster in water than on land.

Now legally protected in Tasmania, Tiger snakes still face great danger from human activities such as destruction and fragmentation of habitat. Many are needlessly killed on the road when deliberately run over.

The third deadliest snake on the planet, Tiger snakes highly toxic venom is produced in large amounts. The venom is mainly neurotoxic, affecting the central nervous system, but also causes muscle damage and affects blood clotting. The breakdown of muscle tissue can lead to kidney failure.

Funnily enough, I’m more scared of a harmless Huntsman Spider than I am of snakes!

Source and further information here.

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