Help me identify Aussie creature

G’day folks,
Seeing as my last id this animal thread was a resounding success I’m trusting you guys to help me again.

Location: SW Riverina NSW 50km from Victorian border
The info I have:
It is about a foot long. Chocolate brown with orange stipes on it’s sides. Blunt headed and ended. Thickness of my friend’s thumb the length of it’s body. she couldn’t see any legs but cannot guarantee it didn’t have any. I moved more like a caterpillar than a snake but she thinks that may be because of the grass it was going over. She didn’t really see any features at the head end. She said that it’s skin glistened and made her think of an amphibian.

She spotted the beastie while walking around her dam. Well actually she spotted the *yabbie first (they normally are found in water but have been known to travel overland - still a bit unusual) then she noticed our mystery whatzit which seemed to be chasing the yabbie.

I honestly don’t have a clue.

Any help would be much appreciated.



Well…no amphisbaenians or caecilians in Australia, so by default it likely was a snake. That or a legless lizard, like this one.

Hmmm…something in the genus Suta maybe?

You can also try digging around in here: Victorian Fauna

Apart from Suta suta there are a few snakes that have similar patterns. It sounds most like a species of Simoselaps (eg bertholdi) but the location is a bit far east. Perhaps the bandy-bandy (Vermicella annulata) although that one is black and white not black and orange, but I suspect the most likely candidates would be either a juvenile Pseudonaja textilis (although the specimen may have been a little too thick in the body) or a juvenile Pseudechis australis. Unlike Suta suta and the bandy-bandy, these are both diurnal.

Pseudonaja textilis is the Eastern Brown Snake - a common snake in NSW and one of the most dangerous you’re likely to meet. Pseudechis australis is the Red Bellied Black Snake, also a common snake in NSW (especially around water), nowhere near as dangerous as the brown snake although still potentially lethal. My guess would be a juvenile Red Bellied Black Snake if it was chasing a yabbie.

That’d be my bet too. Depending on the ambient light and the age of the snake itself, the ‘black’ in the red-bellied-blackness can appear a very dark brown, and the ‘red’, even in the mature snake, is more akin to orange than a vivid red anyway.

I’m less sure about the blunt-endedness though, because the RBB has a finely tapered tail which is quite distinctive of a snake rather than a lizard…??

PS:: I’m half-based in the eastern Riverina district now, and while I am yet to see one, according to all the locals the Joe Blakes are already in plague proportions…and it’s only October fer’ chrissakes! :cool:

Thick as a thumb and one foot long? I don’t know much about juvenile snakes but it surprises me that they would be so thickly proportioned. Is this a known phenomena?

I see you’ve played amphisbaeny-snakey before.

First, a correction to my earlier post - Pseudechis australia is the Mulga (King Brown) Snake. The Red Bellied Black Snake is Pseudechis porpyriacus.

The short, thick body does suggest a lizard is more likely but poor estimates of length and thickness of snakes are very common.

If it was a lizard and the body was sort of cylindrical it suggests a monitor but 30cm long is very short for a goanna. Perhaps, with the blunt tail, it might be a shingleback but their scales are very distinctive. A blue-tongue might also be possible as the legs aren’t all that obvious but they do have some taper to the tail. Legless lizards are much thinner (and generally shorter) but can be blunt at both ends.

Sorry, but I’m stumped.

Ha!One of my good friend had large brown snake wandering through her yard----------- In august. There have been numerous other sightings throughout the district for a good month now.

I’m wondering about some sort of lizard sans tail? Can legless lizards loose their tail? Another thought: some sort of large slug:eek:
I wonder if my friend will let me tromp around her dam to try and catch one of the buggers.

I’d like to know more about what the OP meant by “moved more like a caterpillar than a snake”. That, the glistening skin and the colour description make me wonder whether what was seen could have been a leech. However, I’d think that 30 cm is a bit long for the NSW Riverina; I’ve seen bigger ones but that was in PNG and on the Solomons.

I can’t find a good picture, but it sounds like it *might *be an Australian lungfish.

Thats what she told me. Her suggestion on what it might be: giant bug.
It may have just been moving like that because of the type of grass it was moving over.

I thought leech until she described the size

What about a blind snake?

Maybe an Eastern Water Skink? They can get up to about a foot long.

What about the common slender bluetongue? It’s a skink, so they drop tails easily, which could account for the blunt end. One of my reptile guides says they can be very pale along the sides. Size, up to 30 cm. The legs are pretty small.

As for snakes, we have more than usual as well. Had a reasonable sized tiger snake rear and hiss at my bare ankles on the back porch last week. I wasn’t thinking of snakes this early and didn’t check the ground. Won’t go out barefoot again! Been reports in the local paper about a large number and someone else who was struck on the back porch nearby. I was lucky. We have tiger, red-bellied black and browns here. Doing a bit of clearing of weeds around the back porch suddenly!