Early last week, two of the world's most iconic snakes arrived to their new home at Australia Zoo where they are now the very first exotic venomous snakes to be housed in Queensland!
A pair of king cobras and a pair of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes have been settling into their displays at Australia Zoo's venomous snake house and are already drawing the attention of Zoo guests. Joining Aussie legends such as the king brown and inland taipan, these impressive elapids are renowned in their own right.
The diamondback rattlesnakes are the largest species of rattler and one of the heaviest venomous species in the world. Although they aren't particularly long, the shape and pattern on their scales and their infamous rattling tail tip make them unmistakeable. On the other hand, the gorgeous male king cobra certainly lives up to his name measuring a whopping 3.5 meters in length with his trademark hooded head; he certainly demands respect.
Coming from Melbourne Zoo on January 20, the eastern diamondback rattlesnakes attracted an impressive audience of staff and guests who were lucky enough to witness Zoo history being made as the snakes were moved into their new home.
Nick Kuyper, head of Australia Zoo's reptile department, gave a brief welcome and was quick to point out the famous sound of the snake's rattle to the hushed crowd before the diamondbacks, were placed safely behind glass.
'It's incredibly exciting for Australia Zoo and the reptile department to have both the eastern diamondback rattlesnake and the king cobra join our family of venomous snakes.
The two female eastern diamondback rattlesnakes were born four years ago, which means they're still fairly young. They're certainly joining an already impressive group of venomous snakes here at Australia Zoo but the fact that this native American species are the first in Queensland is such a special and exciting feat," said Nick.
'These incredible animals provide a unique opportunity for us to expand our knowledge and educate our guests about venomous snakes with origins outside of Australia," he said.
Our new male king cobra is already a huge snake however he could potentially grow to 6 meters in length. Naturally occurring in Southeast Asia, the species is the longest venomous snake on earth today, famous for their behaviour when threatened. King cobras are able to rear the first third of their body upwards and flatten their neck to a hood in an effort to intimidate an attacker rather than immediately reacting with a bite. This means if a fully grown male king cobra displayed this behaviour, he'd be able to look a grown man directly in the eye!
The cobras came to Australia Zoo from the Australian Reptile Park outside of Sydney and made their debut on Tuesday afternoon to an excited audience who applauded the efforts of the reptile team after successfully introducing them to their new home.
Advocating snake safety is a huge priority at Australia Zoo, with the daily Wildlife Warrior show used as a platform to educate guests about first aid protocol for snake bites while delivering expert advice on how to live alongside both venomous and non-venomous snakes harmoniously.
Photo credit: Ben Beaden/Australia Zoo