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Yellow-faced Whip-Snake

Demansia psammophis

Description:

About a metre long. I dont even know how to desribe the colour really.

Habitat:

This snake seemed to be everywhere I went today at work. I'm sure it was the same snake I saw wherever I went. I'm so pleased I took my camera today. This is my first ever snake spotting so I'm really excited about that.

Notes:

(I have temporarily added the palest version of the whip snake I could find from http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/view... and cropped and modified Leanne's first image for comparison. With Nathan's thoughts in mind we might compare these for scale count/placement etc. Rangers please delete images and notes when resolved. - Mark Ridgway)

2 Species ID Suggestions

Coastal taipan
Oxyuranus scutellatus Coastal taipan
Yellow-faced Whip-Snake
Demansia psammophis Demansia psammophis


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18 Comments

LeanneGardner
LeanneGardner 6 years ago

Aha! Yes I see now. Thanks SheebyNT & Mark for all your work on this beautiful snake, I'm sure it will be happy to have the correct ID. Thanks for adding that picture Mark, it makes it easy to compare.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

After comparing head details I think it's a whip snake.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

I have temporarily added the palest version of the whip snake I could find from http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/view...... and cropped and modified Leanne's first image for comparison. With Nathan's thoughts in mind we might compare these for scale count/placement etc. Rangers please delete images and notes when resolved.

SheebyNT
SheebyNT 6 years ago

No worries Leanne.
There are some great field guides available.

A complete guide to Reptiles of Australia, fourth edition, by Wilson and Swan.

A field guide to Reptiles of Queensland, second edition, by Steve Wilson.

Both are great books but the qld specific book may be the best one.

If you have an iPhone or iPad there is a good snake app called "Snakes of Australia". It's pretty handy with multiple photos of all Australin snakes apart from sea snakes.

LeanneGardner
LeanneGardner 6 years ago

Thanks for all the information SheebyNT. I wonder would you have a reference that I can use at all? I see what your saying here in the differences, I would just need a place to reference it all too. Thank you.

SheebyNT
SheebyNT 6 years ago

And as I said, this particular form of whipsnake is restricted to central eastern Queensland. It may be an undescribed species, or more likely, it is just an unusual colouration of yellow-faced whipsnake. Either way, it is certainly a whipsnake.

SheebyNT
SheebyNT 6 years ago

The comma actually is present but very faded. The darker line across the snout is present in Demansia psammophis and Demansia torquata, however, D. torquata have a more slender build compared to this snake. The darker reticulation over the body is typical of psammophis too.

Whipsnakes are often confused with taipans as they both have a slender build, large eyes with a orange/red iris and are quite alert but they are very different snakes and to herpetologists, the difference is like day and night.

Coastal taipans vary in colour but they do not have the dark reticulations of this snake. While the one taipan can have a pale head, dark neck and pale body (just for example), the colours are more uniform and blend into each other. If you were able to see the belly of this snake is would've been a greenish-grey, taipans usually have a pale belly speckled with orange; similar to an eastern brown snake. The facial markings, in this case the horizontal line across the snout is typical of whip snakes but taipans to not have facial patterning. They do, however, often exhibit a more pale snout than the rest of the head.
This snake lacks the brow ridge that taipans have. Black whip snakes have this and often a pale face so are also regularly confused with taipans.
Taipan dorsal scales are fairly keeled, especially on the neck. The neck scales are also a bit more elongate than the rest of the body. The snake photographed is smooth with uniform scales.

LeanneGardner
LeanneGardner 6 years ago

Hi SheebyNT. I agree with Mark, the comma marking is definately not present here. Thank you.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Hi again SheebyNT. The species you have named seems to have a distinct and persistent dark comma below the eye - not apparent here. Can you please provide a link to support your suggestion ?

SheebyNT
SheebyNT 6 years ago

This is definitely not a coastal taipan. It is actually an unusual colour form of the yellow-faced whipsnake (Demansia psammophis) which inhabit the Mackay region. There is debate about whether this particular form warrants a seperate species of whipsnake amongst the herpetological community.
They are mildly venomous snakes that feed mostly on skinks.

LeanneGardner
LeanneGardner 10 years ago

Wow! That's really scary, but I'm also thrilled to have spotted this snake. I dont do snakes AT ALL. They scare me badly, but this one just kept appearing, so I figured I might as well get a shot if I could. Thank goodness I didn't get too close & he didn't get too upset. Thank you very, very much to you all for your help in the ID.

KarenL
KarenL 10 years ago

Great series! I guess it must be a bit scary to discover you were a few feet away from something so deadly but good to know for the future!

DanielePralong
DanielePralong 10 years ago

@Scott: yes it does!!!
@Shanna: thanks for checking! (I am on the road and away from by books right now).

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 10 years ago

It has those eyes (of a taipan)

harsuame
harsuame 10 years ago

Bellas escamas

ShannaB
ShannaB 10 years ago

I agree with Daniele... I've been working through my Australian Snakes book. The colouring is unusual (a bit greenish) but I think the Taipan is the best bet. (If that's what it is I'm glad you didn't get too close!) My hubby knows more about these things than I do and he is not convinced it's a taipan, especially since it looks NOTHING like the one in this pic: http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/0181... But he has no better alternative to offer. : )

LeanneGardner
LeanneGardner 10 years ago

Oh wow! That is really scary because I saw this snake numerous times today at work. I'm so pleased I didnt get any closer. Thank you Daniele, I look forward to a confirmation. Wow!

DanielePralong
DanielePralong 10 years ago

Leanne you may have found yourself a coastal taipan, Australia most venomous snake and the world's third most venomous snake! See what others think. I'll also try to confirm with other rangers!

LeanneGardner
Spotted by
LeanneGardner

Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Apr 19, 2012
Submitted on Apr 19, 2012

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