Tiger Snake

Notechis scutatus

Notechis scutatus

The tiger snake can be found in the southern regions of Australia and is a usually timid species, retreating at human approach. They produce a highly toxic venom in large amounts and when bitten, the venom affects the central nervous system, and can cause muscle damage and affects blood clotting.

Despite the name, they may not have any striping at all. Commonly seen as dark olive with yellow bands, the markings also show in many variations ranging from jet black, through yellow/orange with grey bands to sandy grey with no bands.

 

Generally the belly is pale yellow, white or grey and the head is broad and blunt. On the mainland of Tasmania, tiger snakes can reach a length of 1 to 1.8 m with male tiger snakes reaching a greater size than females.

Breeding

Sexual activity commences in summer and reaches a peak in late January and February. Female litter sizes have been recorded as high as 126 young. When born, baby tiger snakes are 215 - 270 mm in length. Females can produce young every second year.

Behaviour

Tiger snakes occur in most habitats in Tasmania, becoming inactive over winter. Generally, tiger snakes do not stay in the same place for more than 15 days, males being especially prone to wandering.

Diet

Tiger snakes feed mainly on small mammals and birds and have been known to climb tall trees in search of food. They also eat other vertebrates including lizards, smaller snakes, frogs and occasionally fish. Juvenile tiger snakes will use constriction to subdue struggling skinks, a principal food of smaller snakes. Adult snakes are also known to use constriction on larger prey as well.

Status

Secure, and legally protected in Tasmania.  Destruction of habitat and human interference are the main dangers faced by this species.

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