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size, habits and general aspect, but its skin is marked with irregular brown and yellow stripes, or patches. It has no venom.
The black snake is common throughout the provinces, and the largest of the poisonous snakes. Its bite sometimes occasions loss of life, but it is not necessarily mortal, and could only prove so from proper remedies not being applied, or from the extreme terror and ner
which the conviction of having received a mortal wound naturally breeds in the mind of the person bitten.
This snake is of a dull black colour on the back, with a reddish belly, and is generally about 4 or 5 feet long, but much larger. It is very active in its habits, and, although it will always fly from man, it is bold and vindictive when assailed. To the smaller animals, upon which this reptile preys, its bite is certain death.
Of the brown snake, there are four varieties, two of which are venomous, and two harmless. The largest of these seldom exceeds
4 or 5 feet in length. These venomous reptiles prey upon each other, and but for this species of cannibalism they would probably be still more numerous than they are. The whip snake is long and
and slender, deriving its name from its supposed resemblance to the lash of a whip. It is of a greenish tint. Its habits are active, and as it flies from man, it seldom does much injury, although its bite is poisonous.
Of water snakes there are several varieties, all exceedingly venomous, but they are happily not very numerous. Ordinarily they are small, but some of them are of a large size. Most of the ordinary snakes, and particularly the black kind, are occasionally seen in the water, where they swim with great ease and speed, and are frequently taken for water snakes. The true water snakes, however, may be easily distinguished from all others by their possessing a flattened tail similar to that of
The ring snake is small, marked by alter
nate circles of black and white, and is nocturnal in its habits. The
green snake and the blueish-grey snake are also of the small size. There are other small varieties of the snake family, which it is unnecessary to describe in detail :
some venomous, and some harmless, but none deadly.
We now come to the death adder. This is a truly venomous reptile, well worthy of the terrible and significant name by which it is now known, although originally and properly called the deaf adder, from the sluggishness of its habits, occasioned as is popularly believed, by its inability to hear the sound of approaching footsteps. It is most disgusting and repulsive in its aspect, and is at once recognized even by those who have never before seen it. Although in length seldom more than 24 feet, it is of more than ordinary thickness, and does not taper gradually towards the extremities like other snakes.
It has, however, a little hardened and sting-like tail, with which it is generally supposed to have the power of inflicting a wound as deadly as its bite. This, however, is a mere error. The tail at least is harmless, although it assists the creature in springing at an assailant. This reptile is of a dusky brown colour, with numerous grey spots, and its general appearance is not much unlike that of a dried branch, for which it may, at a casual glance, be easily mistaken, as it lies stretched motionless on the earth.
The death adder never moves aside to avoid the approaching pedestrian ; but, on the other hand, it is never the assailant: unless it is fairly trod upon, or struck at, its deadly fangs are never called into requisition. It is consequently easily avoided, and as easily destroyed. The only risk is, that of treading upon it accidentally, or of striking at and missing it. Its poison is very deadly in its operation, and diffuses itself so rapidly through the system, that the life of any person who has been bitten by it can only be preserved by immediate applications of a remedial nature.
Excellent leeches occur in the back waters of the Murray, and in other water-holes. The Murray shepherds procure them by persuading the aborigines to walk into the water and there remain, until a quantity of the reptiles have fastened on their persons. All the leeches used by the faculty in the colonies are thus obtained. Lizards are numerous, and perfectly inno
The small land lizard is a prettily marked little creature, about 4 inches in length. The sleeping lizard is about 10 inches in length, and 5 inches in girth. But the most curious variety is the Jew lizard, so named from a frill behind the head and round the neck. I have a Jew lizard by me which I brought to England alive, but which died a fortnight after landing. During the voyage, the creature took but little food, it learned to know me, would nestle in my lap, allow me to stroke and caress it ; and, although to all others it lashed its tail, opened its wide, disgusting blue mouth, and bit very pettishly, to