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Sightings arranged by: Taxonomy Location Date Scientific Name
Boiga irregularis — Eastern Brown Tree Snake
Also known as:
Brown Tree Snake
I saw two large adults of this species in Australia, but came away with no photographs. The first one I encountered was on the road at night in Cape Tribulation; the second one was a week later on Mt. Glorious near Brisbane. In both cases, by the time I had completely convinced myself that I was seeing Boiga irregularis, a species that's mildly venomous but considered harmless to humans, the snake was speeding off into the forest darkness. Since most Australian snakes are venomous, and many are highly venomous, I chose not to use the "grab first, ask questions later" approach.
This species is infamous for its almost complete annihilation of the native birdlife of Guam. David Quammen tells this story terrifically in The Song of the Dodo, one of my all-time favorite books. You owe it to yourself to read this book if you care about wildlife.
Here is a complete list of the reptiles and frogs I saw on this trip to Australia.
Six years later I came across a Boiga irregularis that was enough smaller that I wasnt too worried about its mildly venomous properties The brown tree snakes in this area are sometimes called “Night Tigers” due to their colorful bands.
Ive written up an account of this three-week trip to Australia here.
- The USGS has a comprehensive account of the Brown Tree Snake vs. Guam story here
- Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles & Amphibians of Australia, Seventh Edition
- Hoser, R. T. 1989. Australian Reptiles & Frogs
- Swan, G. 1995. A Photographic Guide to Snakes & Other Reptiles of Australia
- Wilson, S. K., Knowles, D. 1988. Australia's Reptiles: A Photographic Reference to the Terrestrial Reptiles of Australia