New breed of extremely venomous snake has been discovered in Australia, and it's all sorts of nope
There are certain phobias that are fairly common amongst us all, even if they are irrational. Spiders, for instance, freak out most of us - even when they're small and harmless to come in contact with. I'd like to think that I'm pretty good with them, but once I spot one with a big body, long legs, and the crawling speed to match - you can bet I'll be the first out of the room.
Snakes, on the other hand, have never really bothered me. I'd happily hold a snake, as long as there was an expert on hand to assure me that there were no bites coming my way. However, there are definitely some situations where Ophidiophobia is completely rational: when they're "extremely poisonous," as this latest species has been described.
Bryan Fry, an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, was leading a team of biologists in Australia when they came across the new type of snake. Discovered at Weipa on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula by Fry and his team, the snake was described by Fry as distinct from any other found in that area of the country. In a press release to the University of Queensland's website, Fry is quoted as saying:
"Bandy-bandies are burrowing snakes, so Freek Vonk from the Naturalis Museum and I were surprised when we found it on a concrete block by the sea, after coming in from a night of sea snake spotting.
"We later discovered that the snake had slithered over from a pile of bauxite rubble waiting to be loaded onto a ship.
"On examination by my student Chantelle Durez, the bandy-bandy turned out to be a new species, visually and genetically distinct from those found on the Australian East coast and parts of the interior."
You're likely hoping to never come in contact with the creature right now, and that wish just might be granted. In fact, the poisonous snake may already be in danger of extinction, due to a mining operation nearby.
Six observations of the snake have been made in the same small area: one specimen in its natural habitat, one killed by a car near the mine, two more found in museum collections, and one photo taken of another. Fry explained:
"Bauxite mining is a major economic activity in the region, and it may be reshaping the environment to the detriment of native plants and animals. The importance of such discoveries goes beyond simply documenting what is out there, as venoms are rich sources of compounds that can be used to develop new medications.
"Every species is precious and we need to protect them all, since we can’t predict where the next wonder-drug will come from.
"The discovery of this enigmatic little snake is symptomatic of the much more fundamental problem of how little we know about our biodiversity and how much may be lost before we even discover it."
While I'm sure we'd all like to keep our distance, it's sad to see that new species can often disappear as soon as we find them.