ed-online logo Online Projects Museum Victoria

Bioinformatics

Student Projects

A Report on the Snakes of Your District


A Report on the Snakes of Your District

    Western Brown Snake

    Photo by Peter Robertson © Museum Victoria

  1. Snakes of your District
  2. Snake Classification
  3. Related Species
  4. Snake Distribution
  5. Snake Toxicity
  6. Snake Images
  7. Your Report

Use the information in the Bioinformatics Data Base to prepare a report on the snakes of your district. This can be done as an individual student project or as a class project with each student researching one snake. Primary school students will need a little assistance to interpret what they find out, but secondary school students should be able to work alone.

The first thing to do is to decide what form your report will take. It could be an article for the school magazine, a report to the school community, or a major feature in the local newspaper. It could also simply be a poster, or a talk presented to the class, but if done carefully, should be a useful addition to the environmental knowledge and awareness of the school community.

To begin your research, the class should do the first task (Snakes of Your District) together. Once you have a list of the snakes recorded in your district, the work of researching each snake (or a selection of them) can proceed, with each student taking responsibility for one snake.

1. Snakes of your District

To obtain details of the snakes that have been recorded in your district by Museum Victoria, carry out the following search:

User Defined Locality Search

Enter the name of your area and obtain a list of snake species. If you don't obtain a very big list, and want to know what has been found in your wider district, carry out one of the alternative searches listed below:

  • If you live in country Victoria, obtain a list of snakes for a block of land 30 minutes square (roughly 45 km x 55 km):

    Snake Checklist Map Search

    Click on the area in which your school or home is located to obtain your list. If you want to search an even larger area, click and highlight a few adjoining areas.

  • OR

  • If you live in the Greater Melbourne area, obtain a list of snakes for a block of land 10 minutes square (roughly 15 km x 18 km):

    Snake Cumulative Checklist Map for the Greater Melbourne Area

    Click on the area in which your school or home is located to obtain your list. If you want to search an even larger area, click and highlight a few adjoining areas.

The list you have obtained will show you the names of the snakes that have been recorded in your area.

You might now like to find out a little more about some of the snakes on your list. Allocate the snake species to the students in the class and carry out the following searches for each snake.

top

2. Snake Classification

Classification Search

Enter the name of the snake you have chosen (one at a time, please!) and you will obtain a detailed account of its lineage (from kingdom, through phylum, class, order, family, genus, species, etc).

top

3. Related Species

Would you like to know what the close relatives of your snake are?

Nature's Family Trees of Hierarchical Searches

Enter the family name of the snake you have chosen and you will obtain a list of close relatives.

top

4. Snake Distribution

Where else in Victoria has the museum recorded sightings of your chosen snake? Carry out the following search:

Species Search

Enter the name of your snake, and find out how many records for the snake are held by Museum Victoria.

  1. 'Click to View All Records' to obtain a list of all records of this snake recorded by Museum Victoria.
  2. 'Click for Map of All Species' to obtain a list of where in Victoria the snake has been recorded. You will obtain six maps showing these locations. The maps are:
    • Plain map
    • Vegetation map
    • Altitude map
    • Rainfall map
    • Zoogeographic map
    • Rivers map
    Carefully examine each map and try to write statements about where your snake occurs in Victoria.
  3. 'Click for Full Monthly Frequency Catches' to obtain graphs showing the months in which the museum has recorded your snake. Can you explain the results you obtain?

top

5. Snake Toxicity

Find out how dangerous the snakes of your district are.

Snake Venom Potential Search

Enter the name of the snake you have chosen and obtain an indication of the toxicity of its venom.

top

6. Snake Images

To obtain one or several images of your chosen snake, carry out the following search:

Image Search

Enter the name of your chosen snake, and gain access to all of the images which are on the data base. Click on thumbnails to access and enlarge images.

top

7. Your Report

Once you have finished the searches outlined above, you are ready to write your report. You may decide to supplement the data you have obtained with information from reference books in your library. This may provide you with additional information on snakes in general, or on the snake you have chosen. You may also decide to question your parents, neighbours or local naturalists about snake sightings. This will provide you with some indication of whether the number of snake species in your district has changed over the years.

When you feel you have enough material, you should write your report on the snake you have chosen. These individual reports can then be combined as a report on the snakes of your district. This could then be presented as:

  • a school project
  • a talk to your class or to a parents meeting
  • a talk on the local radio station
  • an article for the school magazine or the local paper

You will probably find that the information is of interest to many people in your local area, so the project could be a good opportunity to publicise the school as well as making the local community more environmentally aware.

top

© Museum Victoria Australia