Rough-scaled snake Tropidechis carinatus

Warning: Venomous/potentially dangerous

Caution: this snake closely resembles the harmless Keelback snake

Tropidechis carinatus (rough-scaled snake) is a highly venomous Australian elapid. The animal's name comes from its scales that are raised above the surrounding scales and have rough texture. The scales are known as "keels". Have just found a specimen that measured 97cm in Nth Qld.

Description

The snake is brown to olive with narrow, irregular cross-bands or blotches of darker brown. The belly surfaces are greenish-grey or olive-cream, often with darker blotches. The mid-body scales have a raised keel or carinated appearance. The coloration and scale structure has led to some confusion with the non venomous keelback snake. It grows to around 70 cm in length.

Habitat

The snake's habitat includes rainforests, moist open air forests and waterways. It is found from mid-eastern New South Wales to the tip of far-north Queensland.

Behaviour

The snake is active both day and night. It can climb trees in pursuit of prey. The rough-scaled snake is highly venomous and will readily bite if attacked or handled.

Diet

Variety of small vertebrates; frogs, lizards, small mammals, birds. Generally forages at ground level but can climb to take prey.

Venom

The rough-scaled snake is a highly venomous snake. Its venom is a fast acting powerful neurotoxin that is both presynaptic and post-synaptic. It has potent post-synaptic neurotoxins as well as potent pre-synaptic neurotoxins. It also has potent coagulants as well as myotoxins. It will readily bite and is known for its foul disposition and defensive nature. Several fatalities have occurred due to this species and it will strike rapidly in defense.