Dangerous Snakes of Papua New Guinea
Stamp Launch

Port Moresby, NCD


Midway through the course, on Wednesday 16 September, Kenei Gumaru, and colleagues from PostPNG, arrived. Some months earlier they has asked me to design a set of stamps and upon discussion we had settled on a set illustrating the medically important snakes of the country. Today we were officially launching the Dangerous Snakes of Papua New Guinea commemorative stamp issue with the help of Fat Albert, a 2.75m Papuan taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus canni) from the AVRU Serpentarium.

Mark O'Shea, Kenei Gumaru & Fat Albert launch the "Dangerous Snakes of Papua New Guinea"
stamp series.

(click to enlarge)


Gena Kaiulo, Mark O'Shea and Kenei Gumaru
at the launch of the
"Dangerous Snakes of Papua New Guinea
stamp series.

(click to enlarge)



5t Black whipsnake,
Demansia vestigiata
80t Papuan taipan,
Oxyuranus scutellatus canni
K2 Smooth-scaled death adder,
Acanthophis laevis
K3.20 Papuan blacksnake,
Pseudechis papuanus
K3.25 New Guinea small-eyed snake,
Micropechis ikaheka
K5.35 Eastern brownsnake,
Pseudonaja textilis

PNG currency consists of Kina and toea ie. 100 toea = 1 Kina

I provided all the images, except one, and all the text. At that time nobody has captured, let alone photographed, an Eastern brownsnake (Pseudonaja textilis) in Papua New Guinea, all known recorded being known for museum specimens killed between the 1930s and 1970s. Prof David A Warrell kindly provided a photograph of an Australian specimen so that the species could be represented. Unfortunately something went wrong with the colour of this image during production, leading to the stamp exhibiting a curious pinkish haze.

Coincidentally, the 2006 expedition provided the first living Papuan specimens of this species.

I had figured the most dangerous species, the Papuan taipan would feature on the highest value stamp, but quite logically PostPNG said they wanted the most dangerous species of the stamp used most frequently for domestic post in PNG, a very sensible decision.

Two additional medically important species: Rough-scaled death adder (A.rugosus) and Pigmy mulga snake (Pseudechis rossignolii) that might be expected to occur in southwestern PNG, were mentioned in the accompanying stamp pack.

Side one of the stamp pack.
(click to enlarge)
Side two of the stamp pack.
(click to enlarge)

The stamp launch tied in nicely with the venomous snake awareness we were promoting with the snakebite management course and the continued AVRU project in PNG.

First day cover.
(click to enlarge)

The official first day cover was issued on the same day, with the stamps cancelled by the official cancellation stamp featuring a death adder.

Death adder cancellation stamp.

Additionally, 100 sets of limited edition maxi-cards, featuring the images as used on the stamps, were also franked with the death adder cancellation stamp, Wednesday 16th September 2006.

Limited edition maxi-card set.
(click to enlarge)


Limited quantities of stamps, stamp packs, first day covers and maxi-cards are still available for purchase from the O'Shea Herp Shop.