The Highlands Copperhead (Austrelaps ramsayi) is one of two species of copperheads found in the region. Copperheads are variable in colour, ranging from dark grey to dark reddish brown with a cream belly. The head is often a slightly different colour to the body, sometimes copper coloured, as the name suggests, but not always. The back often has a darker stripe down the middle, especially in juveniles.
It may grow up to 1.25m in length.
It is restricted to higher altitudes.
Distribution: Common at higher altitudes.
Note: The Atlas of Living Australia shows a number of records of Lowland Copperhead (Austrelaps superbus) in the region but many of these are old records before A. ramsayi was formally separated, so most of them are probably A. ramsayi that have been mislabelled as A. superbus. The only exception is the far south-east of NSW, where A. superbus may be found.
Where the ranges overlap, one of the best ways to distinguish between A. ramsayi and A. superbus is by looking at the upper lips (supralabial scales). The former has prominently barred lips that have pale anterior triangles or 'white sails' on each supralabial (upper labial) scale, with the pale portion occupying more than one-third of each scale and meeting the dark posterior portion along a sharp diagonal line. Whereas in A. superbus, the lips are weakly barred, with the pale anterior edge to each upper labial scale being narrow and often ill-defined.
Austrelaps ramsayi is listed in the following regions:
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MapsBendora Reservoir Bimberi Nature Reserve Corin Reservoir Gibraltar Pines Kosciuszko National Park Lower Cotter Catchment Monga National Park Mongarlowe River Namadgi National Park Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Scabby Range Nature Reserve Tallaganda State Forest Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Tinderry Nature Reserve
PlacesBimberi, NSW Booth, ACT Brindabella, NSW Captains Flat, NSW Cotter River, ACT Crackenback, NSW Geehi, NSW Glen Allen, NSW Jinden, NSW Kosciuszko National Park, NSW Monga, NSW Mount Clear, ACT Nimmo, NSW Old Adaminaby, NSW Paddys River, ACT Rendezvous Creek, ACT Rocky Plain, NSW Rossi, NSW Tantangara, NSW Tennent, ACT Tinderry, NSW Wilsons Valley, NSW Winifred, NSW Wog Wog, NSW Yaouk, NSW