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The Defensive Mulga Snake (Canvas)

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Mulga Snake (Pseudechis australis)

Great Victoria Desert, Western Australia

It’s just before sunset on the long drive into the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia when I encounter a Mulga Snake on the side of the road. As I approached the snake began to show me its best impression of a Cobra. This is a typical Mulga Snake defensive display designed to intimidate any potential predators. This behaviour also helps to make the snake more visible to much larger animals such as cattle, horses and camels. To achieve maximum intimidation Mulga snakes flatten out their neck and raise their fore-body high up off the ground. Defensive posturing such as this begins as a warning however can escalate to biting if the perceived threat does not retreat. Biting is usually the snake’s last resort, sometimes opting to head butt or even deliver a “dry bite” whereby the snake bites but does not inject venom.