PAPUA NEW GUINEA 2013

Central Province
Exxon-Mobil LNG

We are still keen find further Papuan blacksnakes (Pseudechis papuanus) out on the Exxon-Mobil LNG site west of Port Moresby so around 05:30 Owen, Ben, Julious, Jasper and I took off out there to meet up with Dave Matthews, now back from leave, for another intensive search of "Blacksnake Corner" where 90% of the blacksnakes have been found on the site and where I had captured the male.

However, several things were different about this visit, compared to our previous trips out to the site. Firstly it is drier, the creeks were drying up and the small pools diminishing. It was also a lot hotter with a blazing sun, unlike the overcast weather of previously, which was more conducive to finding snakes. The six of us trudged around for a couple of hours without even seeing a snake's tail although we did flush a large megani (wallaby) which shot between Owen and myself and nearly collided with Dave Matthews.

These culverts are probably how the blacksnakes access the Exxon-Mobil site
The exact spot where I caught the male
Papuan blacksnake
, Pseudechis papuanus,
but now much drier

We then went to check some rubbish dumps on the site where snakes were frequently sighted, but as one would expect for somewhere as massive and industrial as this LNG site, their trash does not come small or lightweight and without a fork-lift we did not have a hope of moving any of it. We decided to try outside the compound beyond Frog Pond.