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Deadly Aussie Reptiles


Some reptiles can even threaten chasers…

Last month of June, my daughter, Eva, found this non-venomous snake in our garage.
She screamed calling me quite in panic and I descended from upstairs (probably from my shack) to see what was going on, believing my daughter had prepared some sort of joke for me.

We know now that this was a non-venomous snake, but we didn’t know at first, so you can imagine the surprise and general stress, even fear at home.

I have several times watched “Wild Frank” TV programs, so I put my hat on as he always does and captured the snake :v:

I found out its name is Rhinechis scalaris and they can be found in most of the Iberian peninsulae and the French mediterranean coast área.

We kept it home some hours for observation inside a glass pot and I finally released it into nature far enough from home, to make sure it wouldn’t come back home.




I’ve met quite a few snakes in my time - and most have two legs!


Well there you go, even the experts can cop a bite or 2.


Hi Compton,

One SOTA op here in VK3 has been bitten dozens of times and never had medical treatment. He says many venomous Australian snakes do not inject venom when they strike a human. Only if their mate or young are threatened or you have stirred them up or really hurt them with your big feet will they use venom. Mostly they give a warning nip.

I’m sure there are exceptions, like the tiger snake which tends to be plain ratty. The taipan has a big mouth with forward placed fangs and a bit of a bad attitude too. Bites usually resulted in deep injection of venom and rapid death until the antivenom was developed.

We have many non-venomous snakes and the effects of a bite are usually shock and possible infection from the bacteria in their last lunch.

Tread carefully and keep a bottle of something in the vehicle for medicinal purposes.



An Aussie friend of mine once (while demonstrating how fast a pint of bitter can evaporate) told me that the worst Australian reptiles lived in the Senate and House of Representatives…


Yes, there is a difference in being “bitten” and envenomated (sic). Aussie snakes have groved teeth for the venom to flow down Vs hollow teeth so the injection of venon is not as efficient. I have read that no one has ever survived a bite from a Queensland Taipan, so not one to mess with.

I reckon your VK3 was struck at and not actually envenomated. Loose long trousers seem to be the key.
I have been chased by 2 mating tiger snakes close to VK7/NC-024 and chased by snake whilst crawling in a narrow passage near the entrance in a cave in VK6/SW.



Hi Brian,

There are many animals in the two houses. Guess whose system we copied?



An ex colleague of mine tells a story of his merchant navy days…
He and a friend were heading ashore in Oz and were asked by Immigration whether either of them had a criminal record. The story continues that the ‘friend’ said “no, I didn’t realise you still needed one to enter”. Apparently his wish was granted and he now has a record after spending the night in a cell!
We share a long history, possibly cemented by our mutual respect for our ‘betters’ in both houses. Anyone for a taxpayer funded duck house?


You don’t need to climb a hill in VK to find a venomous snake.
This eastern brown snake (the second most venomous snake in VK) decided to take up residence in my daughter’s garden in Brisbane during a recent visit.

Having seen it traverse the swimming pool in seconds it put us off taking a dip whilst we were there.
The worst hazard I encountered on the local summits was an abundance of leeches on Tennison Woods Mountain that I had to keep flicking off my bare legs.
73’s David VK4/G3RDQ


Nice copperhead Andrew!

I activated Mt Tomah in the NSW Blue Mountains on 29 Nov 2016. Traveling with my cousin Tony who lives in Bayview NSW and our XYL’s, we stopped off at the Blue Mountain Botanic Garden just down the road from the Mt Tomah summit. There was but one person at the desk there, so I went up and asked her if anyone had been to the Mt Tomah summit recently. She hesitated for a moment - looking puzzled - and then said that we were already on the top of the mountain. During the conversation that followed, I explained SOTA and how we bring radios up mountains and strive to get to the true peak. This was clearly way too much information for her as her eyes glazed over, so I thanked her and went back outside just as our XYL’s were headed in.

Their conversation was a little different with the same lady. Tony’s XYL with her proper Aussie accent asked again about the true peak. The lady responded that there was a guy who just left but she thought “he was mad” since he described bringing a radio up a mountain. Who in their right mind would do that? Without missing a beat, my XYL said “My husband and his radio buddies do it all the time”. She didn’t volunteer whether or not we are in our right minds; the inference was more that this SOTA disease might be contagious.

The women’s expression turned from bewilderment to genuine concern now that she realized the mad man ‘belonged’ to one of these very nice ladies. She warned that there were far more sightings of king brown snakes around the summit than usual. King brown snakes are the second longest snake in VK and extremely venomous, not just the poison itself but the volume of venom delivered is huge. Whereas many snakes are not overly aggressive, a king brown might chase you and they have been know to bite people in their sleep. Cousin Tony said “You’re dead in 15 minutes. Nothing can save you”.

Well, we activators from NM are not easily dissuaded from an activation, so I convinced the group that we should drive up to the peak anyway. We went up to the true summit but found a huge tower with "high RF Level"warning signs and tall grass, not good if deadly snakes are around nor for IMD. Fortunately, just down the hill a short distance were safer places to set up and activate, which I did. At least we could see the king brown snakes coming for us but of course, we never did.

Epilogue: I told this story to local radio buddies today who noted that in the 15 minutes following a king brown bite, I could probably make 4 QSOs for a successful activation. All would not be lost as long as the log was saved :wink:

John K1JD


Epilogue: I told this story to local radio buddies today who noted that
in the 15 minutes following a king brown bite, I could probably make 4
QSOs for a successful activation. All would not be lost as long as the
log was saved"

Some very helpful and thoughtful friends.



Diamondback Rattlers found in Texas exhibit the same characteristics, they save the venom for the something they can eat in stead of using it up on a warning. However, young rattlers do have the ability to control the amount if venom injected and thus can cause more serious consequences. We Diamondbacks on my ranch near Rocksprings, TX. See the pics below.

The first pic is a Rattler that was near the house, who was very much alive when the picture was taken. The second is my wife holding a Rattler that had 14 rattles on its tail. It is, of course, dead.


Mike AD5A


Hi Mike,

Well you have some handsome fellows over there. A good size too, but it is Texas so must expect that. If they rattle as you approach then I guess you can avoid too close an encounter but they do blend in well with the terrain and might be easy to step on.



Hi John,
Mt Tomah is a very flat summit. Whereas the Bontanical gardens are not in the activation zone, the car park as you turn off the main road to head for the radio towers, with it’s concrete table, is. My first activation there was in the deep grass across from the radio towers - no snakes found but far too much interference from the radio masts on 20 & 40m - so my later activations from the summit were from the car park near the side of the main road - also less chance of snakes there!

73 Ed DD5LP (VK2JI).



Well actually, the snakes around my place do not rattle as you approach, which is actually a bit disconcerting. There are a couple of theories on this, as when I was a kid every rattler I came across rattled vigorously. The first theory has to do with the increased presence of feral hogs in the region, they like to eat snakes. Accordingly hearing a Diamondback rattle would be a dinner bell of sorts. So, as the theory goes, snakes have talked among themselves and decided to quit rattling as much. I struggle with this theory since I don’t think rattlesnakes are that good at communication. The second theory and the one I think is more valid is that there are rattlers who are pre-disposed genetically, to rattling and those who aren’t. The ones who don’t rattle are surviving the increased feral hog population much more successfully.

Of course, once attacked they do rattle vigorously. More than once, my wife and I have nearly stepped on small rattlers that didn’t make a sound. So you become very aware of your next step. Rattlers aren’t particularly aggressive, but most bites occur when you step on them and as previously mentioned those “warning” bites aren’t as venomous as when they are hunting dinner.


Mike AD5A


If you stepped on me, I’d bite you too!



I suppose it is understandable…Mike AD5A


Thanks Mike,

Do you have a SOTA peak on your ranch?




No I do not. The elevation at my ranch is 2,300 feet but the nearest SOTA’s are only 1 pointers. The closest one would be a 30 minute drive. The summits are usually covered with thick under brush, cactus and in warm weather, rattlesnakes. Temps in the summer average upper 90’sF with 50% humidity, brutal. Oddly, no summer bonus. I do most of my SOTA activity in the Santa Fe, NM area.


Mike AD5A


Looks like reptiles are the thing to be worried about…