March 28, 2009
Trees may be to blame for snake’s decline
The broad-headed snake, found only in the Sydney area, has become the rarest venomous snake in Australia because of too many trees, an expert says.
The snake, classified as endangered by New South Wales, is now found only in isolated populations within 100 miles or so of Sydney.
That creates problems for the broad-headed snake, which spends much of its life on sandstone rocks.
They will spend several weeks curled up, moving very little, Shine said.
They just sit and wait for velvet geckos.
But shade from trees keeps the rocks cool, too cool for the cold-blooded snakes.
Shine said the snake may become extinct unless the forests are made less dense through controlled burning or selective cutting. He said the end of aboriginal burning may be responsible for the tree explosion.