Red-bellied Black Snake 090430-3377

Image of red-bellied black snake


Beresfield, about 20 km north-west of Newcastle, New South Wales.I was lucky find this snake coiled and resting like this in the middle of the day. I got off two good shots before it suddenly uncoiled itself and slid away rapidly. They are one of the most common snakes in coastal eastern Australia, growing to around 2 metres long and equally at home on land and in shallow water. They feed mostly on frogs and tadpoles. Very timid, they rarely attack humans and their bite has rarely proved fatal. I just came across this shot of the North American Red-bellied Water Snake, Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster . . . www.flickr.com/photos/curtzsi/3589051707/in/pool-idplease --and was struck by the resemblance in colouring. Seems likely to be a case of parallel evolution, maybe to do with hunting camouflage or heat absorption, as both are semi-aquatic. They belong to different snake families, the American one in Colubridae, the Australian in Elapidae.See Wikipedia entry at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerodia_erythrogaster

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Tony Rodd
Tony Rodd
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