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August Meeting – Snakes of Darwin – Calm Down; It’s Not Always a Brown

Wednesday Aug 09 7:45 pm

Duration: 1.5 hrs

Presented by Ray Chatto

This is a talk on the snakes of Darwin – the snake capital of Australia. Darwin has a large number and range of snakes. They not only occur in the bushy rural areas, but right throughout the city and suburbs – day and night. The talk will cover the types of snakes in Darwin, their status and how to identify them. Snakes are protected wildlife and the talk will also cover the legislation relating to the catching, keeping and killing of snakes. Finally the talk will go a little into what to do about them when they encroach to closely into your personal space and a brief look at first aid if you are bitten.

Ray Chatto has been an Australian wildlife ‘nut’ virtually all his life. As his maternal side grandfather’s first grandson he was expected to take over his very extensive stamp collection and go into stamp collecting for a hobby. That’s was never on Ray’s agenda. Catching and keeping snakes and lizards from early primary school age was on his agenda instead. (50 odd years later it still is!). With that sort of growing up and interests, there was never any doubt about what his working career was going to involve. In 1979 Ray joined the Victorian Fisheries and Wildlife Department. Working mainly as a Game Management Officer in Gippsland through the 80’s Ray took a year’s leave without pay in late 1989 to venture to Darwin and take a job for a year in the NT Conservation Commissions Wildlife Unit. Like so many who venture to Darwin, one year has turned into 28, and still going. As a government Wildlife Officer he has worked in all the main areas, including research, management, and his main area of interest, operations/compliance. He has also worked on and with all manner of birds, mammals and reptiles over his career, but he still has a strong link to his early developed love of snakes – whether it be catching them on callouts or chasing the people who collect them in the illegal sense. Ray still considers himself as a wildlife jack or all trades rather than an expert on anything, including snakes.

Golden Tree Snake image by Ray Chatto


Charles Darwin University, 7 Ellengowan Dr, Brinkin NT 0810, Australia

Long: 130.869064 Lat: -12.372054