Small-scale field experiments provide important insights to restore the rock habitat of Australia's most endangered snake

  • Published source details Goldingay R.L. & Newell D.A. (2017) Small-scale field experiments provide important insights to restore the rock habitat of Australia's most endangered snake. Restoration Ecology, 25, 243-252.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create or restore rock outcrops

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Create or restore rock outcrops

    A replicated, controlled study in 1998–2013 of rocky outcrops in the southern metropolitan area of Sydney, Australia (Goldingay et al. 2017) found that constructed outcrops were occupied by broad-headed snakes Hoplocephalus bungaroides, small-eyed snakes Cryptophis nigrescens, velvet geckos Oedura lesueurii and five species of skink at least as often as natural outcrops. Broad-headed snakes and small-eyed snakes were recorded in a similar proportion of constructed outcrops (broad-headed: 49%; small-eyed: 27%) as natural outcrops (broad-headed: 48%; small-eyed: 52%). Velvet geckos and skinks (five species grouped together) were more abundant in constructed outcrops (1.6 geckos/10 rocks, 0.6 skinks/10 rocks) than natural outcrops (0.7 geckos/10 rocks, 0.2 skinks/10 rocks). The authors reported that broad-headed snakes were more likely to be recorded in outcrops >500 m from trails or roads (75% probability) than <150 m from trails or roads (41% probability, see original paper for details). In March 1998 and 1999, thirty-three outcrops were constructed in an area of a national park (8 x 10 km) by placing rocks on a rocky platform in a grid (22 small 10-rock/platform outcrops and six pairs of large (12 total) 50-rock/platform outcrops, see original paper for details). In total 33 constructed outcrops (one small outcrop was excluded from analysis) and 31 natural outcrops were surveyed for reptiles during August–September in seven years between 2000–2013 (starting 1–2 years after outcrops were constructed). Reptiles were monitored by lifting rocks to reveal any inhabitants.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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