Demansia torquata Collared Whip Snake
Mossman Gorge, Daintree River National Park, Queensland, AustraliaFebruary 12, 2003
Collared Whip Snake (Demansia torquata)
This photograph ranks right up there with my Nile monitor and Boomslang photographs in the category "Worst photo on". My sad story this time began in a dark and wet rainforest. A drizzly rain had just started, and I was about to put my camera back into its waterproof carrying case when I spotted part of a very long, thin snake slowly creeping across a downed hollow log. I got a decent enough look at its head and general appearance to later identify it from the list of snakes found in this area, but before I had any chance of getting a photo it became aware of my presence and slithered its way inside the log. Since most Australian snakes are venomous (including this one, as it turned out), I decided not to reach in and feel around Crocodile-hunter-style, and I foolishly had not brought along a flashlight. So I set up my camera with its flash on the tripod and blindly tried to manually focus in a little bit from the end of the log, hoping to focus on the head by luck. You can judge the results of this yourself. The flash spooked the snake further into the darkness such that I could no longer see any part of it. I then found a long thin stick with which to irritate the snake out. It was quickly irritated, and rocketed off into the forest and out of sight in about three seconds.

Here is a complete list of the reptiles and frogs I saw on this trip to Australia.

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