* Population ecology of Pale-headed Snakes

Michael Shelton, Ross Goldingay & Steve Phillips
Australian Journal of Zoology

This paper describes the use of regularly spaced transect searches and standard capture–mark–recapture techniques to describe population structure, growth rates, survival and capture probability in a population of the pale-headed snake (Hoplocephalus bitorquatus). Within the red gum forests of our study site, we estimate pale-headed snake density at ~137 snakes/ha. We predict that pale-headed snakes reach sexual maturity after about four years and may live for up to 20. Our results confirm that the species is a 'k' strategist, characterised by slow maturation and low fecundity. These traits suggest that populations will recover slowly following decline, exacerbating the risk of local extinction.