RARE: The rare black snake, Glyphodon Dunmalli was found at Lake Broadwater in the 1980s.
RARE: The rare black snake, Glyphodon Dunmalli was found at Lake Broadwater in the 1980s. Contributed

Rare snake found at Lake Broadwater

It seemed just another snake lying beside the road and if a farmer had come along he would have dispatched it in the manner bush folk have done down through the years.

That was back in 1954 and it was Bill Dunmall who discovered the reptile on the Glenmorgan- Meandarra Road.

The snake was shiny black in colour with a cream belly.

Being a keen naturalist Bill couldn't tell what category it fitted as he hadn't seen one like it before.

One day 30 years later Bill Dunmall and a friend Jim Sorley, were out exploring around Lake Broadwater when they came across a small snake.

It was only about 40 centimetres long. At the time they were collecting information for a book about the lake which was to be produced by the local Natural History Association.

Bill realised it was the same as the one he had discovered on the road many years before.

This time it was secured and brought back for further investigation. It was the only live specimen of the species to become available for study.

The snake was the centre of scientific interest at the Queensland Museum, then later at the Sydney Museum, where it attracted scientists from Adelaide and Melbourne.

It underwent chromosome blood counts, venom tests and scale identification that confirmed it was one of four of the species ever to be seen.

There are three known snakes of the genus and all are found in Queensland.

Some of the scientists were keen to carry out a dissection of the reptile but because it was such a rare specimen, Vic Wood who was Park Ranger at the lake insisted it should be brought back and released.

This was later carried out.

Its venom was investigated in Sydney and confirmed it had large venom glands for its size and that its bite was very dangerous.

There was a case of someone being bitten on the finger.

This caused, a few hours later, severe chest pain, an extremely bad headache and an inability to focus the eyes.

This didn't clear up for several days and the bitten finger remained numb for almost a year.

It is also a nocturnal snake.

The new species of reptile was named Glyphodon Dunmalli in honour of Bill Dunmall who first found it.