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The Rough Scaled Snake

Tropidechis carinatus

By Rhianna Blackthorn

Images by Rhianna, Simon Egan and Sue Ulyatt

The Rough Scaled Snake (Tropidechis carinatus), also known as the Clarence River Snake is found in isolated pockets of Coastal Queensland (Brisbane and Townsville), and Northern New South Wales. A diurnal snake, it is often seen during the day feeding on frogs, small reptiles and mammals.


At a maximum length of around 3 foot (1 meter), the body is often dark brown or olive green, and the belly is cream. Juveniles have dark bands, but this banding may be less obvious or absent in adults. It is often mistaken for a tiger snake (venomous), or a harmless keel back snake (non venomous).


When provoked, this snake is considered dangerous and aggressive, and will rapidly strike, with repetition. The venom of this species contains coagulant and neurotoxic components, and although unrelated to, is treated with Tiger Snake anti-venom. The venom is ranked #17 for toxicity on lab rats, just above the King Cobra. (Reference: Snake Toxicity)


Threats to Australian snakes

Over recent years, snake numbers in almost all species (with the exception of the Eastern Brown Snake) have declined. Some of the unique species have even been listed as threatened and endangered. Snake species classified as threatened and endangered in NSW by National Parks and Wildlife include, but are not limited to:

• The Bardick [Echiopsis curta] - Endangered as a result of direct clearing of habitat.

• The Broad Headed Snake [Hoplocephalus bungariodes] - Endangered as a result of habitat destruction.

• The Collared Whipsnake [Demansia torquata] - Vulnerable through a loss of natural diet.

• The Fierce Snake [Oxyuranus microlepidotus] - Presumed Extinct in most natural habitats.

• The Interior Blind Snake [Ramphotyphlops endoterus] - Endangered as a result of habitat degradation.

• The Little Whip Snake [Suta flagellum] - Vulnerable through population reduction but considered stable.

• The Narrow-Banded Shovel-Nosed Snake [Simoselaps fasciolatus] - Vulnerable through population reduction.

• The Pale-Headed Snake [Hoplocephalus bitorquatus] - Vulnerable through population, distribution and habitat reduction.

• The Ringed Brown Snake [Pseudonaja modesta] - Endangered as a result of habitat loss.

• The Stephens' banded snake [Hoplocephalus stephensii] - Vulnerable through ecological specialisation.

• The Stimson's Python [Liasis stimsoni] - Vulnerable through population and distribution reduction.

• The White-Crowned Snake [Cacophis harriettae] - Vulnerable through population and distribution reduction.

• The Woma Python [Aspidites ramsayi] - Vulnerable through ecological specialisation.

In almost all cases, one of the leading causes for the species decline includes habitat destruction. In some cases, such as the Broad Headed Snake, specific habitats have been destroyed, with the snake unable to adapt to other habitats. Population reduction is also a large threat to our species, and in most cases, comes hand in hand with habitat destruction. Predation is also a key cause in this issue, with the introduction of pest such as a the Cane Toad, Foxes, and the Feral Cat and Dog.


Updated March 2021  

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