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Dugite

Dugite

The dugite is a highly venomous snake found in Australia and is capable of inflicting a potentially fatal bite.

Description

Dugites are coloured grey, green or brown. As with most snakes, the colours vary widely between individuals and are an unreliable means of identifying species. Positive identification is best left to an expert, but the most reliable method of visual identification is by the shape of the head. In the case of a dugite, the head is small compared to the neck, and the head grades imperceptibly into the body. They can grow up to 2m long.

Distribution and habitat

Members of the genus are found in southern parts of Western Australia and in remote coastal parts of western South Australia. They prefer sandy areas and like most snakes will not normally approach populated areas but may be seen if looking for food and water. In Western Australia they are currently common in bushland areas, but their numbers are diminishing.

Conservation status

Dugites are protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and to kill or injure one attracts a fine of up to AUD$4000.

Behaviour

Like other brown snakes, dugites are diurnal. The female dugite lays 10 to 20 eggs at a time.

Its venom is potentially one of the most lethal in the world, causing coagulopathic and procoagulant effects, but they avoid biting humans, however they may be dangerous during the mating phase between October and November.

The last death attributed to a dugite was in 1993 after an elderly man died in Spearwood, Perth.

See also

References

  • Storr, G. M. (2002) Snakes of Western Australia Perth, W.A. Western Australian Museum. ISBN 0730712958

Further reading

  • Bush, Brian et al (2007) Reptiles and frogs in the bush : southwestern Australia Crawley, W.A. : University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 9781920694746
  • Storr, G. M. (1988) Dangerous snakes of Western Australia Perth, W.A. Western Australian Museum. ISBN 072447975
  • Swan, Gerry. (1995) A photographic guide to snakes & other reptiles of Australia Frenchs Forest, N.S.W. : New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1853685852

External links

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