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FAQ
Target Species: Chappell Island tigersnake, Notechis ater serventyi
Location: Chappell Island, Bass Straits, Tasmania (also Tasmania, and Roxby Is., South Australia)
Director: Jon Stephens


Location: Bass Strait, off Launceston, Tas., & Spencer Gulf, off Adelaide, SA.

Mission Statement:

Chappell Island is not only an island of snakes, it is an island of giant snakes, 3,000 giant highly venomous tigersnakes on one tiny island. Chappell Island tigersnakes are the largest tigersnakes in the world yet they survive on an annual six week feast of mutton bird chicks before enduring over ten months of enforced fasting once the fast-growing mutton bird chicks are too large for the snakes to eat them. There is nothing else for the adult snakes to eat. The island tigersnake population is also unusual in that it is very adult-heavy, there are very few juvenile tigersnakes to be found. Mark and American herpetologist Dr Terry Schwaner set out to investigate why there are so few juveniles and capture some of the adult tigersnakes that Terry recorded and marked over the last 17 years to see how much they have grown since he last met them. Could the Chappell island tigersnakes be the oldest living snakes in the world?
[Mark and Terry also spent time on Tasmania searching out all three species of native snakes and travelled to Roxby Island, off South Australia, in search of a dwarf tigersnake known to live there on a diet of skinks but this footage never made the final film.]


This old Chappell Island tigersnake (Notechis ater serventyi) has a large parasitic tick on its neck.

Species recorded during 'Feast of the Snakes'

Species Common Name
MYOBATRACHIDAE SOUTHERN FROGS
Limnodynastes dumerili Eastern banjo frog
HYLIDAE TREEFROGS
Litoria aurea Green and golden bell frog
GEKKONIDAE GECKOES
Christinus marmoratus Marbled gecko
SCINCIDAE SKINKS
Bassiana duperreyi Three-lined skink
Ctenotus uber orientalis Eastern spotted ctenotus
Egernia whitii White's skink
Hemiergis peronii Peron's skink
Lerista bougainvillii Southeastern slider
Menetia greyii Grey's skink
Niveoscincus metallicus Tasmanian metallic skink
Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii Entrecasteaux skink
Tiliqua nigrolutea Blotched blue-tongue skink
Trachydosaurus rugosa aspera Southern shingleback
ELAPIDAE COBRAS & THEIR KIN
Austrelaps superbus Australian copperhead
Drysdalia coronoides White-lipped snake
Notechis ater humphreysi Tasmanian tigersnake
Notechis ater serventyii Chappell Island tigersnake


Location: Chappell Is., Bass Strait, Tas. and Sir Joseph Banks Is., Spencer Gulf, SA.

 


Chappell Island is home to the Australia’s largest tigersnakes and seasonal colonies of mutton birds.

 

 


Mark O’Shea and American herpetologist Terry Schwaner plan where to search first.

 

 


O’Shea and Schwaner examine a large female Chappell Is. tigersnake.

 


O’Shea and a newly captured adult Chappell Island tigersnake.

 

 


Juvenile tigersnakes are both rarer and harder to capture than adults.

 


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