Flowerpot Snake

We have been moving lots of pot-plants recently, planting out many of them and re-potting others, and in the process disturbing a few strange worms … or so I thought.

All of them were typical worm size, perhaps 8 – 12 cm long and shoelace-thick; most were black, but one was a delicate lilac colour; and they were all very active, wriggling for their lives until they could vanish into any tiny crack in the soil. When I handled them, I found them very dry and slippery, which puzzled me. It didn’t intrigue me enough to stop work, however, or I might have trapped them for closer observation and discovered that they weren’t worms at all but snakes.

Continue reading “Flowerpot Snake”

Wildlife of Innisfail

I mentioned Yvonne Cunningham’s blog a while ago, when I reviewed her book on food gardening in the tropics, but I don’t always remember to keep up with the blog itself. That’s a shame, because she posts lots of lovely photos, especially of birds. A friend alerted me to the fact that Yvonne’s latest post is a particularly good one.

There are great sequences of a pelican and his fisherman mate (what a team!), soldier crabs and the shore birds feasting on them, and courting cassowaries. For good measure there’s a bloke getting a lot closer to a Doll’s-eye snake than I was game to.

Click here to read her post … and don’t forget to bookmark the site if you would like more of the same. Yvonne maintains an admirably regular weekly update schedule.

Brown Tree Snake

We were cleaning out a shed on a property at Hervey’s Range last Saturday.

As farm sheds do, it had gradually accumulated junk, dirt and animal life. We knew about the python – we had seen it in the rafters and picked up sloughed skins – and we thought there was a smaller snake in there too. I found it when I moved a box away from the wall:

Brown tree snake curled up peacefully against the corrugated iron wall
Brown tree snake curled up peacefully against the corrugated iron wall

Treating it with due caution, I stepped back and took some photos. Treating me with due caution, it flopped onto the steel box beneath its resting place, Continue reading “Brown Tree Snake”

Billabong: reptiles

Still at Billabong Sanctuary

Girls with snakes around their shoulders
Relaxed attitude: Woma (left) and Boa

There is a sequence of talks and shows through the day – birds, koalas, (small) reptiles, dingos and so on, culminating in the largest reptiles. The snakes and lizards show was entertaining, as well as informative, partly because of the visitors’ responses.

‘Does anyone want to put this Woma around their neck?’ Response: trepidation.

‘What about this Boa Constrictor?’ Response: consternation.

But the relaxed attitude of the staff holding the snakes did reassure the visitors, and quite a few were confident enough to step forward.

Visitors were not, however, invited to step forward and handle the snappy logs. The crocodiles were quite lethargic because of the cool weather but still not to be taken lightly. Both of our Australian species were presented:

  • The Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) can grow to about 3 m in length but are usually 1.5 – 2 m. They are primarily fish-eaters, though they will also take insects, amphibians and small mammals; they are unaggressive and are considered harmless to people.
  • The Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is quite a different proposition. The world’s largest living reptile, it can grow to at least 7 m and 1300 kg, and large individuals can tackle prey up to the size of a water buffalo. There are very few fatal attacks on people but staying well away from them is strongly recommended!

The first of these two pictures shows one of the Sanctuary’s larger salties; the second shows a considerably smaller animal.

Saltwater Croc - frontal view
Ranger feeding a Saltwater croc
Do not try this at home!

More on crocs: Wikipedia has good articles on both salties and freshies.