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No. 20
Little babies are popping up all over the place. The Dugite Pseudonaja affinis hatching season is upon us in Perth and the Southwest, and no doubt all over the country little hatchling snakes of all kinds are keeping reptile relocators busy.

Around Perth and the Southwest at around 25 cm in length these "brown" snakes are still potentially very dangerous, so catch with care. One guy on my most recent snake handling course said they had 5 sightings in the one day at his workplace.

At the other end of the scale a relocator caught and successfully relocated a 2-metre dugite from the toilet block at a holiday camp near Hillarys Boat Harbour. It had been busy eating a large King skink at the time.

Baby dugite (Pseudonaja affinis). Photo © Adam Firstenberg 2015 A baby dugite (Pseudonaja affinis).
© Adam Firstenberg
This is a great opportunity, free presentations on turtle conservation by dedicated, enthusiastic, engaging young researchers who have been doing outstanding work for the last few months in remote WA.

Any groups or schools in Western Australia that are interested in presentations in their home town about the Gnaraloo conservation work, please contact Colleen Mason on (08) 9942 5927 to make a booking (being offered from 3 March - 30 April 2015).

There is no cost associated with this as the Gnaraloo Station Trust provides this educational service free of charge.

Gnaraloo turtle conservation program free presentations
I hate to do bad news stories, I generally like the weird, wonderful and colourful stuff for inclusion in this newsletter, but this article sadly says it all

We are losing species at world record-breaking speeds. In just over 200 years we have lost forever (extinct) 11% of native mammals with a further 21% threatened with extinction.

With cats and foxes the major cause I think we need a radical rethink on our pet keeping laws. Ban or severely restrict the keeping of cats or at least enforce a no wander ruling, so cat 'runs' on a property are mandatory.

Even pet cats hunt and kill whenever they can. We should allow and encourage the keeping of natives as pets, Quolls, Quokkas and Woylies spring to mind as potentially suitable, easy to breed species but rare in the wild.

Woylie (Bettongia penicillata) with NAR worker. Photo © David Manning, Animal Ark Going, going gone – probably!
A very rare Woylie being looked after at NAR.

It's a controversial idea but almost certainly effective in that no animal kept as a pet by humans have ever become extinct! I would love to give it a go, we should have community and environmental centres and farmers breeding and exchanging species at a local level and aiding reintroductions via the suburban back yard. If the worst happened and your Quokka or Bandicoot escaped it would maybe eat someone's lawn!

Also we need a massive federal initiative to control foxes and cats, something even Tony Abbot could suggest that would actually please everyone (I think), maybe troops on the ground (in Australia) in remote areas, trapping and baiting. We surely must do something before it’s too late. Anyway it’s only an idea.

If you have a cat and want to contain it check out

I thought I would let you see a few more images from my shoot with Alex Cearns at Houndstooth Studios.

I wrangled snakes, lizards and bugs with Alex at our two separate shoots last year. I really must call her again and do the same with some birds and mammals.

Alex is easy to work with and always delivers great images.

Thick-tailed or Barking gecko (Underwoodisaurus milii) licking eye. Photo © Alex Cearns, Houndstooth Studios / Animal Ark
Please, please, please if you are a Reg 17 Licensed Reptile Remover and are interested in community service please do let me have your name, mobile contact and which suburbs you can help cover. Most of you reading this have completed a snake catching course, so do have a think about it.

At this time of year we get many calls from people with snakes in houses and gardens. I was out early this morning and caught a 60cm+ dugite from a house in Kingsley. It was up high on a computer table, I didn’t see it at first it was so dark it looked like a cable. To the right is a picture of her neighbour’s back yard, a haven for snakes!

It can be a bit of a hassle with scared people pleading for your help, and you don’t always get to catch anything and if you are a beginner it takes some experience to find and safely catch them, they can be real fast and amazing at eluding capture.

But if you are thinking about it do call or email. If it’s the cost of snake catching equipment holding you back just call - I will give you a good discount.

Back yard. Photo © Animal Ark A snake paradise!

Rescued baby dugite (Pseudonaja affinis) Photo © Adam Firstenberg A rescued baby dugite (Pseudonaja affinis).
© Adam Firstenberg

Proudly wearing an Animal Ark cap this young amateur herpetologist spotted this American alligator Alligator mississippiensis at the side of the road in the Everglades swamps Florida USA.

Thanks for the picture.

Animal Ark supporter, Everglades, Florida, with alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
DEATH ADDERS (Genus Acanthophis)
Experts at concealment these snakes with their wide head, narrow neck, stout body and skinny sharp tail are unlike any other snakes found in this country. They are viper like in appearance but are not vipers (we have no vipers in Oz), they are very much Elapids (family of venomous snakes with short fixed rather than longer hinged fangs) and extremely venomous ones at that. Six species or sub species are recognized ranging in sizes from 40cm – 1.3m. Desert ones pictures are generally redder than those found in more treed southwest areas.

Early settlers thought them 'deaf' as unlike most other snakes they did not move out of the way when approached. This is due to their using cryptic colouration (camouflage) to avoid detection and ambush style hunting methods. A Death Adder buries itself in sand or leaf litter and waits. The snake has a tail with a strange spiky last scale, and when prey is spotted it wriggles this around and lures in a curious mouse, bird or lizard which is then caught by the snake’s lightning fast strike.

Death Adders have a vast range and can be found in various habitats including rocky outcrops, rainforest, dry forest scrub and desert. They occur widely across Australia and New Guinea, but are absent from Tasmania and parts of Victoria. Southern Death Adders, despite their common name, occur from Northern Queensland through parts of NSW/ACT and Southern WA.

In late summer up to 30 live young are born although litter sizes of 12-15 would be considered more usual.

Southern death adder (Acanthophis antarcticus). Photo © Alex Cearns, Houndstooth Studio / Animal Ark

Pilbara death adder (Acanthophis wellsi). Photo © Alex Cearns, Houndstooth Studio / Animal Ark

Death adder (Acanthophis). Photo © Adam Meredith, Sept 2014

Upcoming Courses and Events
Venomous Snake Handling Course
DPaW approved for Reptile Relocator's Regulation 17 Licence

Friday 6 March 2015 - North Beach, Perth (FULL)
Thursday 12 March 2015 - North Beach, Perth
Friday 27 March 2015 - North Beach, Perth
Friday 1 May 2015 - North Beach, Perth
Friday 5 June 2015 - North Beach, Perth
Friday 3 July 2015 - North Beach, Perth

Fauna Handling Course
Friday 13 March 2015 - NAR, Malaga, Perth
Friday 8 May 2015 - NAR, Malaga, Perth
Friday 12 June 2015 - NAR, Malaga, Perth
Friday 10 July 2015 - NAR, Malaga, Perth

Public Events
Do come along and see us. Bring your family or friends as well.
The Animal Ark Roadshow will be attending the following events:

Sunday 15 March 2015
Ballajura Harmony Day
Karajini Oval by Ballajura PS, Ballajura
12pm – 4pm
Free community event. Contact City of Swan for more information.

Saturday 21 March 2015
Hyden Community Fun Day
12.30 – 5pm
Free community event. Contact Hyden CRC on 08 9880 5088 for more information.

Saturday 28 March 2015
Altone Comes Alive!
Altone Leisure Centre, Benara Road, Beechboro
11am – 4pm
Free community event. Contact City of Swan for more information.

Saturday 26 July 2015
WAHS Reptile Expo
Cannington Exhibition Centre, Albany Highway, Cannington.
See for more information.

See our diary for more dates or contact us to book.

Call (08) 9243 3044, SMS 0466 688 188 or email David or Jenny at to book.

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