Ken with Tiger Snake
Ken with Tiger Snake

It’s long been a mystery: why are there no Tiger Snakes on the Strathbogie Tableland, when they are regularly seen in the ranges around Ruffy and Highlands, as well as lower down around, Merton, Seymour, Euroa and Benalla? That’s not to say no one has ever seen a Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus) in the Strathbogie district, but until very recently there were no confirmed records from districts like Strathbogie, Toorour, Boho South, Kelvin View and Marraweeny. But that’s now changed.

Confirmed records of Tiger Snakes in and around the Strathbogie Ranges prior to 2013. Map courtesy of Angus Martin & Museum of Vistoria.
Confirmed records of Tiger Snakes in and around the Strathbogie Ranges prior to 2013. Map courtesy of Angus Martin & Museum of Victoria.

A little over a week ago, long-time resident Ken Dunnachie discovered a big snake in his wife Helen’s garden, near the house and near a pond. Not so happy about a big snake so close to the house, Ken wanted it disposed of and he ended up chasing it and killing it, after flicking it out of the pond, with a stick! (Ken is 80-something!) Whilst all snakes are protected fauna and, for safety’s sake should be left alone, I can understand anyone’s desire to keep the house  surrounds snake-free.

image002-20Having never seen a Tiger Snake up here before he took it to the neighbour’s, where Olwyn & Ben confirmed it was  a Tiger Snake and the photos certainly prove it. That’s where the picture was taken, by Olwyn on Ken’s camera. The snake obviously had something in it’s stomach, so he cut it open and they found a rat inside. Perhaps that’s why Ken was able to chase and catch the snake; it may have been sluggish with a full tummy. Records of Tiger Snakes are few and far between in these districts so the Museum of Victoria was keen to have the specimen, alas is was buried and the elapse of time means little of the snake would now remain.

Apparently, other resident in that part of the Ranges have also seen Tiger Snakes on their properties and that would be worth following up.

It would certainly be interesting to hear of any other Tiger Snake sightings in our districts, so do get in touch if you have a photos or a specimen. Just remember that all native wildlife is protected by law and most snake bites occur when people interfere with snakes, so it’s best to leave them alone unless they pose immediate danger to you or your family.

Click here to download A Guide to the Snakes of the Strathbogie Tableland.

Some of the information presented here first appeared in Tableland Talk, newsletter of the Strathbogie Tableland district. Thanks to Ken Dunnachie, Olwyn Brook, Fiona & Andrew Townsend, Peter Robertson and Angus Martin for additional information.

Location of confirmed (brown placemark) and anecdotal Tiger Snake records in the eastern Strathbogie Ranges.
Location of confirmed (brown placemark) and anecdotal (shaded yellow) Tiger Snake records in the eastern Strathbogie Ranges.