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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 6



23. Morelia variegata.

The Carpet Snake.

I am inclined to think that the Carpet Snake and the Diamond Snake are identical, varying in colour in different localities; Carpet Snakes occur in every part of Australia, the page 31 South East Coast excepted; they differ from the Diamond Snake in nothing but their markings, which consist of a series of brown blotches with darker margins, whilst the Diamond Snake is of a glossy bluish black, with a bright yellow spot in the centre of nearly every scale.

The Carpet Snake does not appear to be so common on the plains or in the mountain districts, and a single specimen only was secured; this snake feeds upon birds, small mammals, &c., and produces a large number of eggs; from 20 to 30 as the natives informed me.

24. Acanthophis antarctica.

The Death Adder.

Of this highly venomous snake, I obtained but a single specimen at Lake Boga; it brings forth about 10 or 12 young ones.

25. Diemenia psammophis.

Grey Diemenia.

The present species so common near Sydney is not often met with on the Murray, only one specimen being secured during 6 months; its bite is not considered dangerous, causing only a slight irritation, not as bad as the sting of a bee; the total length seldom exceeds 3 feet.

26. Diemenia superciliosa.

Brown Snake.

A species, which like many others, ranges from the East to the West Coast, and perhaps extends over the whole continent, as I have received specimens from Cape York. Near Sydney, and along the East Coast, the young are distinctly black, banded with a black patch upon the head; but the young found on the Lachlan and in other localities to the westward are not banded. I have received specimens from Adelaide which are plain coloured with black patches upon head and neck, but without bands. In a few years these bands and black spots disappear more or less, and the adult snake is generally of an uniform brown color; there are some individuals on the coast, however, in which the bands may be traced when full grown. In the specimens taken on the Murray no bands or black marks could be detected.

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This snake is highly venomous, and produces some 20 eggs, which are deposited in the sand under some bramble or decayed leaves; it is frequently confounded with the following species.

27. Pseudechis australis.

Yellow-bellied Brown Snake.

Hitherto considered to be a variety of the Black Snake, from which it differs in nothing but the colour, being brown above and yellow or orange beneath. This Snake does not occur near Sydney; but it appears to be common as far north as Port Denison, from whence specimens have been obtained.

It is highly venomous.

28. Pseudechis porphyriacus.

Black Snake.

One of the most common and most venomous Snakes, distributed over almost every part of Australia, common on the Murray, and producing some twenty young annually.

29. Hoplocephalus curtus.

Brown-banded Snake.

This, the most vicious of all our reptiles, closely allied to the Indian Cobra, is very common on the plains, in particular in the reed-beds near Swan Hill, and in other swampy places; the natives appear to be in great dread of this reptile, and assured me that its bite was certain death.

This species is also found in almost every part of Australia.

These are all the Snakes actually observed by me, but no doubt they do not represent all the species which exist in these extensive plains.