Wesley Vale – Home of the monster Copperheads

by on Feb.01, 2013, under Fauna, Information, Reptiles, Tasmania

In December 2012, I travelled¬† to the land of “slugs”! No not really into slimey invertebrates, I mean large snakes (we refer to monster sized snakes as slugs). We have in past travelled to several parts of the magical snake isles Tasmania. Forget the apples (so called Apple Isles) leave that to Eve and get hold of the most amazing and gentle snakes in the country. Lowland Copperheads Austrelaps superbus are the most docile, charming venomous snake in Australia. Yes charming and docile.

This year we visited the enigmatic Ian Norton and his band of dedicated snake rescue volunteers Sally Wilson, Chris Daly, Jane Guy and Justin Kneebone . We happened to coincide with a visit to the sensational Wesley Vale where one of us visited in 2008 and only saw small snakes and plenty of skeletons as the snakes took a massive blow during the drought.

Keener than an AFL player for a Brownlow medal, I set out in the amazing meadows and swamplands of the Vale.¬† We didn’t have to wait long Sally bagged the first copperhead of the day and almost the biggest. While snaking is fun the other side is the data collection. the team of Reptile Rescue have been bagging and tagging over 10 years of snakes. The ecological data is likely to be an amateur herpetologists.


Each snake is weighed, sexed, body temperature taken and measured snout – vent length and tail length. Some already have micro chips in them from previous years work and these are dutifully recorded.

Now the bit has been slipped, I pursued the elusive copperheads. The wind was biting and at first I was convinced it was way to cold for the snakes to be out? Now that two cries of snakes had been yelled it was time for the inevitable catch. Finally the copperhead was lying across the dense tussock grass, wow look at the girth.


Patrolling the swamplands revealed only copperheads. The large males were all on one side, no other snake would cross paths with these guys. Snake eaters copperheads will eat smaller snakes. If you are going to have venomous snakes in your area these guys are the best.

We tracked around the Vale area, then walked out, to a beach front. The beautiful sea washed gently up. Time to head home.