Caution Tiger Snake


Caution – Residents have reported encounters with a Tiger Snake

in Riverglades Reserve in recent weeks.

The snake’s large size, often aggressive defence and toxic venom make it extremely dangerous to humans. Although generally shy and preferring escape over conflict, a cornered tiger snake will put on an impressive threat display by holding its forebody in a tense, loose curve with the head slightly raised and pointed at the offender. It will hiss loudly as it inflates and deflates its body, and if provoked further will lash out and bite forcefully. The venom of the tiger snake is strongly neurotoxic and coagulant, and anyone suspected of being bitten should seek medical attention immediately.

Some info on the snake:

 
Most Australians know of tiger snakes and are aware of their fearsome reputation, though few people will ever encounter one. Unfortunately this species is much maligned because of its aggressive nature and toxic venom; however the tiger snake should be recognised as a great survivor, superbly adapted to some of the most inhospitable environments in Australia.
The species is often associated with watery environments such as creeks, dams, drains, lagoons, wetlands and swamps. They can also occur in highly degraded areas e.g. grazing lands, especially where there is water and local cover. Tiger snakes will shelter in or under fallen timber, in deep matted vegetation and in disused animal burrows. Unlike most other Australian elapids, tiger snakes climb well on both vegetation and human constructions, and have been found as high as 10 m above the ground.

Tiger snakes have a non-continuous distribution within two broad areas; southeastern Australia (including the islands of Bass Strait and Tasmania), and southwestern Australia.

The common name refers to the prominent yellow and black cross-bands typical of some populations of tiger snakes, however not all have this pattern. The most commonly seen form is dark olive brown to blackish-brown, with off-white to yellowish cross-bands that can vary in thickness. Entirely patternless individuals may occur in banded populations, and these types range in colour from yellowish-brown to black.

Tiger snakes in the wild have a broad diet that includes fish, frogs and tadpoles, lizards, birds and mammals, as well as carrion. As the size of the snake increases, so to does the average prey size, however this increase is achieved not by larger snakes giving up on small prey but by them taking more large prey. Tiger snakes are largely diurnal and hunt for prey during the daylight hours; however they will forage on warm evenings. They will readily search underwater and can stay under for at least 9 minutes. A bat was found in the stomach of one museum specimen, demonstrating the tiger snake’s ability to climb. Invertebrates have also been found in tiger snake stomachs however these could have been taken as part of carrion; other taxa such as grasshoppers and moths however may have been ingested as prey. Cannibalism amongst wild tiger snakes has also been reported. Prey items are grasped and subdued quickly by the powerful venom, with sometimes constriction being employed as well.

The snake’s large size, often aggressive defence and toxic venom make it extremely dangerous to humans. Although generally shy and preferring escape over conflict, a cornered tiger snake will put on an impressive threat display by holding its forebody in a tense, loose curve with the head slightly raised and pointed at the offender. It will hiss loudly as it inflates and deflates its body, and if provoked further will lash out and bite forcefully. The venom of the tiger snake is strongly neurotoxic and coagulant, and anyone suspected of being bitten should seek medical attention immediately.