Location: Weipa, Queensland and Ashmore
& Hibernia Reefs, WA.
Seasnakes are amongst the most venomous snakes
in the world. The only antivenom for seasnake bite is produced in
Australia but the raw venom required for production is in short
supply. A captive population of seasnakes could provide a continual
venom supply but unfortunately most species do not survive long
in captivity. What is required is a species that not only provides
adequate quantities of venom but also has the capacity to thrive
in captivity. Mark is joined by herpetologist and seasnake specialist
Brian Grieg Fry. Together they venture to Weipa in Far North Queensland,
from where they can make nocturnal forays out into the Hay River
estuary to net seasnakes including the Beaked seasnake, Enhydrina
schistosa, the species currently used for antivenom production
but a species which fares extremely badly in captivity, and aggressive
Hardwickes seasnake, Lapemis hardwickei.
From Queensland, Mark and Brian travel to Broome
in Western Australia to board the Kimberley Quest on which they
journey 36 hours north-westwards to the Hibernia and Ashmore Reefs,
located closer to Indonesia than Australia. Mark has learned to
dive specifically to enable him to join Brian investigating what
has become known as the Seasnake Capital of the World.
There are more seasnake species here than anywhere else on Earth.
But diving can be a dangerous business, as Mark finds out.
The highly venomous Beaked seasnake (Enhydrina
schistosa) is an inhabitant of soft-muddy estuaries.
||Damel's pond frog
||Green sea turtle
||Common house gecko
||Eastern common keelback
||COBRAS & THEIR
||Peron's spiny seasnake
Location: Weipa in Far North Queensland, location for lanterning
Location: Ashmore & Hibernia Reefs, 36 hrs from Broome, WA,