RARE FIND: The taipan discovered at The Gorge.
RARE FIND: The taipan discovered at The Gorge.

Cleaning out the hut of a lethal lodger

By TOBY WALKER

A STUDY will begin in the coming months to determine whether the deadly taipan is gradually making its way south after one was discovered at a property west of Grafton.

The highly venomous snake was found by cleaners at a holiday cottage at the Clarence River Gorge about a fortnight ago.

North Coast reptile experts have been excited by the find which is believed to be only the third instance of a scientifically identified coastal taipan turning up south of Tweed Heads in the last 30 years.

Taipans are usually found in Australia's northern states because of their aversion to cooler climates.

The last taipan found in the Clarence Valley was at Nymboida in 2000.

Reptile researcher Steve McEwan was so eager to confirm the snake was a taipan that he made the drive from his Coffs Harbour home after his Sunday night dinner.

Mr McEwan said while the finding was significant, it was unlikely taipans had started to migrate south. He said the six foot specimen found near Grafton was extremely emaciated and probably would not have survived the winter.



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