Snakes in the Whitsundays
Shy and weary animals by nature, snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, are rarely seen in the Whitsundays and surrounding area. However they still maintain stable populations throughout the area, especially during the warmer months of the year between October and March. There are dozens of different snake species found in the Whitsunday region, varying from harmless pythons and grass snakes, to their more lethal relatives. The most common sightings of snakes often occur in backyards or gardens. In almost 95 percent of cases, the sighted snake will be a harmless species such as the Green Tree Snake.
Although most species of snake, even if they are potentially dangerous, will avoid human beings at all cost, there is still a great deal of fear and mystery surrounding snakes. While there are over 2200 species of snakes, less than 20 percent of them are venomous. Although snakes can occasionally show signs of aggression towards humans, in most cases this is simply a reaction through fear as the snake feels threatened. Many snakes when cornered will strike, although this is widely considered as a warning to stay way, rather than an attempt to harm or kill.
Like all reptiles, snakes are cold-blooded. This means their behaviour varies greatly depending on the climate and temperature of its natural habitat. In Australia, snakes are much more active and alert in the summer months, when many species emerge from hibernation to feed and reproduce. A common activity for snakes is to lie stretched out in the sun to warm their bodies. As the snakes body and blood cool, it becomes slow and sluggish and is less effective at hunting and catching prey.
Reproduction is also very diverse, depending on the particular species of snake. While many snakes follow the traditional reptilian behaviour of laying eggs, some snakes give birth to live young. Almost all juvenile snakes are independent from birth, and instinctively begin hunting and feeding by themselves.
The Whitsundays is home to several snake species both venomous and harmless. The more dangerous species include Taipans, which are considered among the world's most venomous animals, as well as Tiger snakes, Black snakes and Death Adders. All of these species are considered highly dangerous and people are advised to stay well clear. Non-venomous species include Green and Brown Tree snakes and Pythons. Pythons are known to grow to several metres in length, and will often be found living in sheds and roofs of suburban areas, where they prey on rodents.
While the Whitsundays is home to a diverse range of snake species, many are considered harmless, and even the most venomous species are very rarely seen. As a result of this, snakes pose little danger to human beings throughout the Whitsunday region, both on the islands themselves and the surrounding mainland.