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Deadly snake - Another new species found.
Media Release Embargoed until Midnight Saturday 6 September 2003

Another species of new and Deadly snake has been discovered this year in Australia.
Following on from the discovery of a new species of "Brown Snake" from far western NSW, is another species new to science from far north Queensland.
Confused with the Rough-scaled Snake (Tropidechis carinatus) of the NSW/Qld border region, the new species, now known as the "
Northern Rough-scaled Snake" has been found to be substantially different to it's southern cousin. It is most easily differentiated by it's markedly different head scalation and other attributes. It occurs around Cairns and the Atherton Tableland.
Little, known, it's thought that few if any live snakes are in captivity at the present time. Museums also have relatively few of these snakes in their collections.
Described by Melbourne-based Zoologist, Raymond Hoser, in the most recent issue of the journal Crocodilian, it was named after Ross Sadlier, a Sydney-based herpetologist at the Australian Museum.
Hoser says "The species ("sadlieri") is unattractive, not terribly large and it is very aggressive as far as snakes go". It doesn't grab people's attention like the bigger spectacular snakes, such as Taipans, or the more colourful species such as the Red-bellied Black Snakes. Hence it's not surprising that it's been overlooked for so long by both the general public and scientists with an interest in snakes."
Hoser says, "It is however deadly and deaths from the bite of this snake are known".
Hoser is concerned that the known range of the species has contracted due to the rampaging hordes of introduced Cane Toads (Bufo marinus).
Hoser complained about the Toads way back in 1986 and received wide publicity at the time for his stance.
He was ridiculed by wildlife authorities at the time, including in the daily papers. They claimed the toads were beneficial to the local ecology and no threat to wildlife. Only last year, did most State governments finally admit that the Toads were a problem for native wildlife.
For some species, this may well be too late.
The toads are toxic to almost all species that eat them and large toads also eat smaller reptiles, including young of large species.
Hoser says that the long-term prognosis for the new species, Tropidechis sadlieri, is not good unless there is a long-term program to eradicate Cane Toads from Australia. As a further safeguard he urges the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, now known as the EPA, to allow specimens to be brought into captivity and bred, just in case wild stocks do end up losing the battle against the toads.
Another species, The False King Brown Snake, Pailsus pailsei, scientifically named as recently in 1998 may well be the first casualty of the Cane Toads and Australia's first extinct snake.
It is known from just five specimens, all now dead.
The last one was found dead with a Cane Toad in it's mouth in 1987, which is when the toads first moved into the Mount Isa area. This is the only area the snakes are known from.
Tropidechis sadlieri is the second species of deadly venomous snake in Australia formally described this year. The other, is known to science as "
Pseudonaja elliotti". It is most closely related to the more common Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) and so far only two specimens are known to science.
Both are from near Wilcannia, New South Wales and now lodged in State Museums in NSW and Victoria.
These and other recent finds in Australia indicate that there remains a lot to be learnt even in terms of the basics of Australian reptiles.
The "Official" lists of known reptile species in Australia as recognised by most Australian herpetologists (reptile scientists) have shown about 600 species in the mid 1970's to more than 1,000 recognised now. Most of these are small innocuous species, such as skinks and geckos.
Media are advised that photos of this new species (The Northern Rough-scaled Snake) available for republication can be downloaded from the website at:
The above site also has the original paper describing the species.
Noting that there may also be interest in the other recently named species as well, hi. Res. images of them can also be downloaded for republication from the following sites:
for Pseudonaja elliotti

for Pailsus pailsei
both sites of which also have the original papers as published in the relevant journals.
(Recently discovered species of Death Adders are at: - photos of all these are available)
Further media inquiries can be made by phoning (within Australia) 0412 777 211

Paper formally naming Tropidechis sadlieri

Paper formally naming Pseudonaja elliotti

Snakebusters website

Reptile articles

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