Scientific Name: Notechis ater serventyi
The dark colouring of the snake helps it absorb heat during the day. At night, the snakes shelter in the burrows of mutton birds, sometimes even snuggling next to the birds to obtain heat.
The Chappell Island tiger snake is the largest of the tiger snake family, growing up to 2.4 metres long. The snakes are dark brown, olive-brown to black with a lighter underbelly. They have a blunt head and a strong, muscular body. Like other tiger snakes, their venom is highly toxic and can be lethal to humans.
The Chappell Island tiger snake is found only on Chappell Island, a cold and inhospitable island in the Bass Strait. The island is also home to thousands of mutton birds, and it is their chicks that the snakes eat. The Chappell Island tiger snake is the only snake on the island.
Mutton bird chicks, frogs and small mammals. Once a year, the snakes gorge themselves on mutton bird chicks, which are full of a rich oil. This feasting, which lasts for about six weeks, can see the snakes through until the next breeding season.
Chappell Island tiger snakes give birth to 20-30 live young. Once the young are born, they are independent of the mother.