A recent photo posted online by former Northbridge resident, Angus Hamilton has left local wildlife and snake experts scratching their heads.

The image, taken on February 15th while walking along the popular Flat Rock Gully Walking Track, appears to show a Death Adder, one of the most venomous land snakes in Australia.

Angus, who was walking with his girlfriend, was actively looking for snakes on the track as he’d spotted Red-Bellied Black Snakes and Tree Snakes in the same area before.

“I spotted a beauty on the track and snapped this image before it slithered off into bushes,” said Angus, a contract musterer for the Pastoral Lands Board.

Photo: Angus Hamilton

Unsure of what he had seen, Angus posted the photo in the local Chicks in the Hood Facebook Group, asking if it was a snake or a blue tongue lizard.

While the initial guess of a blue tongue was understandable due to their similar appearance, qualified identifiers in the Snake Identification Australia Group. quickly confirmed the reptile as a Death Adder.

The post was then shared in numerous local groups, including Willoughby Living, where it sparked discussion about the rarity of such sightings in the Flat Rock bushland.

“This alleged Death Adder sighting has been quite the subject over the past few days!” said Lynleigh, a volunteer snake rescuer based on the Northern Beaches. “There are a few differing opinions, but I think it’s the specific location that has experts baffled.”

“We know that common Death Adders are found in various areas around Sydney, with the Northern Beaches, St Ives, and Wahroonga being among them,” says Lynleigh. “But Flat Rock Gully seems to be a location where sightings have not been recorded.”

“That’s not to say it’s impossible, but I have spoken with many local catchers who find it hard to believe.”

After discussing the sighting with professional snake catcher, Harley Jones of Snakes in the City, Lynleigh suggests the most likely explanation is “inadvertent translocation,” where a snake might be unknowingly transported to a new location in a backpack, sleeping bag, or firewood delivery.

So the question remains, who in the community unknowingly transported a Death Adder to Flat Rock?

Check your backpacks, people! And watch your toes as we await the next sighting of our fascinating local wildlife.

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