Ecology and conservation of the Pale-headed Snake (Hoplocephalus bitorquatus, Elapidae)

Mark Fitzgerald, Brian Lazell, Richard Shine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The Pale-headed Snake, Hoplocephalus bitorquatus (Jan 1859), is a slender-bodied, arboreal, venomous snake that is widely, but patchily, distributed through coastal and inland eastern Australia. We summarise existing knowledge on the conservation status and the ecology of this taxon, and provide original data based on fieldwork at a study site on the Namoi River (a river red gum - coolabah woodland). Four radio-tracked snakes spent long periods hidden within tree hollows, usually in Coolabah Trees. The telemetered snakes moved infrequently, with one gravid female remaining within the same tree for 61 days. Overall, strong similarities are evident between the Pale-headed Snake and two congeneric species that have attracted more detailed previous research. Those similarities, and the range of threatening processes affecting inland riparian ecosystems, suggest that the Pale-headed Snake may be of significant conservation concern and thus, warrant more intensive study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Zoologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • ambush predator
  • arboreality
  • radiotelemetry
  • reptile


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