Bardick (Echiopsis curta)

GenusEchiopsis (1)
SizeLength: up to 60 cm (2)

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

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

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

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).

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).

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).

Find out more about the conservation of the bardick:

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:

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
  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)
  4. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  5. Museum Victoria (November, 2009)