Map showing the Sogeri Road from 9-Mile to Sogeri. click to enlarge map
Hombrom Bluff on the left, Variata on the right.
The Sogeri Road, from Port Moresby to the Varirata Plateau takes about an hour to drive. The lower part of the road is heavily populated so most snakes seen are DOR, including a large Brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) and a medium-sized Carpet python (Morelia spilota) this trip.The road leads towards and between the twin Hombrom and Varirata Bluffs.
The Pacific Adventist University is an enclosed area with a large lake and a nursery, located near 14-Mile. We were given the opportunity to search for herps in the grounds and concentrated on the nursery, although the guards took us to where they had killed a "Pap blak", the local name for any blacksnake which is feared to be a venomous Papuan blacksnake (Pseudechis papuanus). What we found was a dead 1.0m long Southern white-lipped python (Leiopython hoserae), a completely harmless, nonvenomous, and beneficial rat-eatings species.
PAU nursery, a rich herping ground.
At the nursery Owen, Jasper and I split up to maximise our search time. Apart from one Brahminy blindsnake (Ramphotyphlops braminus) captured under a plant pot - a common place for these tiny, parthenogenetic, termite and ant egg-eating snakes, which often inhabit pot-plant roots systems and get transported around the world - all the other herps captured were skinks and geckos.
We found Dusky skinks (Emoia obscura), Black-cowled skinks (Carlia luctuosa), but only managed to capture a male, Slender forest skinks (Sphenomorphus cf. fragilis) under planks of wood, Pelagic geckos (Nactus cf. pelagicus) on the ground and Mutilated geckos (Gehyra mutilata) climbing trees and netting in the plant-rearing houses.