Bardick (Echiopsis curta)

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Bardick snake on sand
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Bardick fact file

Bardick description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyElapidae
GenusEchiopsis (1)

The bardick (Echiopsis curta) is a heavy-bodied, venomous snake with a short tail and a broad head, clearly distinct from the neck (2) (3). The non-glossy scales range in colour from olive grey to reddish-brown, while white flecks may be scattered around the head and lips (3). Like all elapids, the bardick has fangs located towards the front of the jaw, which enable it to inject venom with a swift, deadly strike (4).

Size
Length: up to 60 cm (2)
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Bardick biology

The bardick is a nocturnal species that, unusually for a small elapid, takes a wide variety of prey, including lizards, frogs, small mammals and sometimes birds and insects (2) (3). Little is known about the breeding behaviour of this species, but it is known to reproduce ovoviviparously, with the female giving birth to a litter of 3 to 14 live young in late summer or autumn (2).

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Bardick range

Endemic to Australia, the bardick is distributed from southern Western Australia, through South Australia into western Victoria and south-western New South Wales (2).

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Bardick habitat

The bardick inhabits hummock grassland and mallee shrubland in semi-arid areas, and is usually found under fallen vegetation and other debris (2) (5).

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Bardick status

The bardick is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened

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Bardick threats

The loss and degradation of suitable habitat, brought about by the clearance of grassland and shrubland, the removal of fallen timber and other plant debris, heavy grazing, and inappropriate fire regimes, is the principal threat to the bardick (3).

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Bardick conservation

Recovery efforts for the bardick are focused primarily on ensuring the persistence of optimum habitat for this species. This includes preventing the clearance of vegetation debris in areas of suitable habitat, the implementation of appropriate fire regimes, and a reduction in livestock density in some areas (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

Find out more about the conservation of the bardick:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Elapids
Members of the elapidae, a family of venomous snakes found mainly in the tropics.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Nocturnal
Active at night.
Ovoviviparously
Ovovivipary is a method of reproduction whereby the egg shell is weakly formed and young hatch inside the female; they are nourished by their yolk sac and then ‘born' live.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Shine, R. (1982) Ecology of the Australian elapid snake Echiopsis curta. Journal of Herpetology, 16(4): 388-393.
  3. Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW) (November, 2009)
    http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/profile.aspx?id=10258
  4. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  5. Museum Victoria (November, 2009)
    http://museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/infosheets/snakes-found-in-victoria/bardick
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Image credit

Bardick snake on sand  
Bardick snake on sand

© Robert Valentic / naturepl.com

Nature Picture Library
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Tel: +44 (0) 117 911 4675
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