Is It Dangerous?
The Rough Scaled Snake is an extremely dangerous Elapid Snake with high potency venom. Its venom contains a powerful presynaptic and pot-synaptic neurotoxic aswell as powerful coagulants and myotoxins. It is a ready biter and will not dry bite. If provoked, the Rough Scaled Snake may bite multiple times. It is responsible for one human death and likely many more. The Rough Scale is described as having a foul disposition and is extremely defensive.
Where Would You Find It?
Rough Scaled Snakes prefer forested environments. They thrive close to waterways and in moist habitats where they hunt their preferred food. A rare Snake to run into, the Rough Scale is most often encountered in backyards close to rainforest or waterways.
How Do They Behave?
Rough Scaled Snakes are active both day and night, especially in warmer weather. They are very defensive and are more than capable of holding their own when threatened. Rough Scaled Snake can climb well but prefer to be ground level where they can more effectively forage. They are very good swimmers. Rough Scaled Snakes are a live-breeding species.
What Does It Eat?
The Rough Scaled Snake is a bit of a guts in terms of food, and it will eat most everything available. Being a good climber means the Rough Scale will eat birds, but it prefers small rodents and frogs. It will also readily eat lizards when available.
How Big Do They Get?
Rough Scaled Snakes are a medium sized Snake, growing to about 70cm although some specimens have been recorded over a metre long. They are most commonly encountered at around half a metre.
How Common Are They?
Rough Scales are a very scarcely encountered Snake. They do not fare well around human settlement, and are much more at home in large reserves and rainforests. They are a rare find in South East Queensland.
What Are Its Similar Species?
Rough Scaled Snakes look very similar to Keelbacks barring a few small differences, the most reliable being the lack of a loreal scale on the Rough Scale. Rough Scaled Snakes also look very similar to their close evolutionary relative: the Tiger Snake.
Did You Know?
- The Rough Scaled Snake has a very small range. It only lives in Northern New South Wales, South East Queensland and in small laces in Northern Queensland.
- The two populations of the Rough Scaled Snake are widely separated, with thousands of kilometres in-between them.
- Unlike most Snakes, Rough Scaled Snakes have no significant difference in sizes between male and female specimens.
- Rough Scaled Snakes are one of the best climbers out of all Australian Elapid Snakes.
- The Rough Scaled Snake has large fangs comparative to its size.
- The Rough Scaled Snake is present of many of the islands in the Moreton Bay Region.
A Snake Catchers Story…
“I was called to a house which had a Snake stuck in a pool filter. When I arrived, unfortunately the situation was more dire than expected and the Snake seemed to be trapped underwater. It looked like a Keelback and yet its stripes seemed more distinct. I realised quickly that the Snake was infact dead, and after removing it I was able to successfully ID the Snake as a Rough Scaled Snake; the first and only Rough Scale I had ever seen by that point. While unfortunate that the Snake was not able to be saved, it was a good learning experience to be able to ID a still Rough Scale, and get a better feel for the differences between it and the Keelbacks we catch regularly.”