Australia 2018 – An unexpected treat

Little Black Cormorant and…

Being a herper from days long ago I was certainly aware of the potential for finding special squamates in the land of spectacular and dangerous reptiles. But, with little time in the right habitats, I did not get my hopes up for finding much. As Collin and I were making our way south, we stopped at a bridge that crossed a stream that drained the tropical rainforest we were driving through into the Tasman Sea. As I watched and photographed a cooperative Little Black Cormorant, I picked up some motion on the other side of the stream.

Lace Monitor

Out of the vegetation lumbered this huge varanid, a lace monitor! The lace monitor is the second largest monitor in Australia and this individual was a full-sized adult. I estimate its size at 4.5 – 5.5 feet in length.

Lace Monitor (Varanus varius)

I’m sure the monitor could have made a nice meal of the cormorants, but none of the few birds that were within viewing distance appeared to be too concerned. The lizard took a small drink and then continued downstream before being lost in the vegetation. What a treat!


Timber Rattlesnake
Timber Rattlesnake

A recently born Timber Rattlesnake was “found” by Steve during an outing we had in Cape Girardeau County.

Timber Rattlesnake

Rattlesnakes are ovoviviparous, and young are usually born in September or October.  This little one was not long out of mom when we came across it.

Timber Rattlesnake - IMG_5483

In the photo above the heat sensing pits that give pit vipers their name are easily seen.

Timber Rattlesnake - IMG_5460

Finally, the little nubbin of a rattle that these guys are born with.  Typically, rattlesnakes will add a rattle every time they shed their skin, which this guy has not done yet.