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No. 1
This is a first for Animal Ark, our new newsletter, an offering of all things animal – especially reptiles and no doubt largely about snakes. We will also look at some furry and feathery animals. I hope to bring you some great wildlife images, news from around WA and the rest of world, updates of our training course dates and other bits and pieces deemed worthy.

Apologies if you do not want to receive this – just unsubscribe and you will not be troubled again.

Cobra warning sign - South Africa
Surprising Snakes - the Phenomenal Fossil
Titanoboa is the largest, longest and heaviest snake that ever lived - that was around 60 million years ago. It is estimated from fossil remains found in Columbia to have reached lengths of 15m and weighed about 1,135kg It was just huge.

You would have needed our largest snake hooks to hold that one!

A Cautionary Tale: April 26th 2013 Snake Bite Death
Karl Berry, 26, apparently picked up what he thought was a python and moved it from a hockey pitch. He later collapsed whilst out running.

After some discussion and investigation we became aware he had picked up a snake off the hockey field and it had bitten him on his finger” said Craig Garraway, St John Ambulance operations officer in the Northern Territory where the incident occurred.

Mr Berry later died in the Royal Darwin Hospital from what is currently assumed to be a bite from a Western Brown snake Pseudonaja nuchalis.

As I am always telling people on our training courses, DO NOT pick up snakes by hand. If you have to move them use quality snake handling equipment and have prior training – even if you think they are a non-venomous species such as a Python. Handling snakes after misidentification is a leading cause of snake bite related death in Australia as this tragic case would seem to indicate.

Source: Sky News

Teacher's Pets!
Our educational service brings some wonderful reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates into the classroom. If we have not already visited you, now is the time to book for Term 3 and 4.

Tailored sessions for Kindy right through to High school.

So book now and let our little creatures meet yours.

Recent visits this term have included Landsdale PS, Bertram PS, Moerlina School and St Stephens.

Australian Amphibian Fact
Australia has around 200 species of native amphibians, all of which are FROGS, belonging to the order Anura.

The only TOAD is the introduced pest, the Cane Toad. We have no tailed amphibians like newts or salamanders, all of which occur on other continents (excluding Antarctica).

Pictured: A Central and South American poison dart frog Dendrobates auratus.

Snake in Focus: Western Crowned Snake
This snake is often mistaken, as many species seem to be, for a juvenile Dugite. Its markings though are quite distinctive and the dark ‘crown’ marking, large head scales, white lips and rounded pupils make it pretty easy to identify - if it stops still enough for these features to be seen clearly. William Archer’s photos (many thanks William) clearly show the crown markings, head scales and pupil in great detail.

This is a small snake only growing to around 40cm once mature. It is a mostly diurnal (active during the day) species from coastal South Western WA. This snake species primarily inhabits wetlands and moist lower lying bushland.

Secretive as most snakes are and seemingly a debris dweller, both hiding in and hunting under cover. Their diet consists largely of frogs and small skinks that are swallowed whole.

It is from the Elapidae family of snakes and so like all Elapids has short fixed front fangs, but this species is considered to be only mildly venomous. However, please still be careful if needing to relocate one. Females give birth to between 3-5 live young during the summer.

One of our recently trained reptile relocators, Kim, came across a few over several days several months ago in the Bunbury area. It took us a while to identify them from the images sent from Kim’s phone - they are probably quite rare, or at least not often encountered. They have many predators themselves and are especially vulnerable to predation by domestic and feral cats.

Western Crowned Snake
Elapognathus (sometimes Drysdalia) coronatus

Images courtesy of a great nature blog:

New Online Shop
The Animal Ark online shop is now active – for snake and fauna handling equipment

Special start up offer of FREE SHIPPING on all orders

Furry and Cute
OK, OK, I promised something furry too for cuteness. Not so long ago on one of Animal Ark’s Fauna Handling Courses in Malaga.

Getting to grips with a Red Kangaroo joey, Macropus rufus – approach with caution. Even as littleuns these guys pack a punch and a kick too.

Upcoming Courses & Events
Snake Handling Course, DEC approved for Reptile Relocators Regulation 17
Friday 5 July 2013
Friday 2 August 2013
Friday 6 September 2013

Fauna Handling Course
Monday 1 July 2013

Public Events
Thursday 11 July - NAIDOC, Ashfield Reserve, Bassendean 10am - 4pm. Free for all

Saturday 14th September Bunnings O'Conner 10am - 2pm. Pop by anytime.

Wednesday 18 September - Kulunga Katitjin Festival 9.30 - 2.30pm (formerly Quiz on Legs), Kings Park. Contact BGPA 08 9480 3933

See our diary for more dates.

Call (08) 9243 3044 or email David or Jenny at to book.

Courses held monthly plus on-site and remote site training available.