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No. 25
Jenny of Animal Ark's first lucky catch of the snake season - a lovely SW carpet python removed from a garden shed in Balga - where he was really quite at home.

However, some people can’t live with any snakes, even if they are harmless, and we are grateful that the lovely home owners called us to remove it safely for relocation somewhere more suitable.

As the weather warms up and snakes start to be more active more calls will come in I am sure. Sadly with the recent snakebite death in WA it is so important that people know what to do if they are bitten, or even just think they may have been bitten.

Stay calm, keep still, apply a pressure bandage, using whatever you have available, immobilise, call an ambulance. We keep going on about it but everyone should be taught these basics.

Jenny with rescued carpet python. Photo Animal Ark.
Last newsletter (24) I was promoting our new First Aid Kits and Snake Avoidance for Dogs training.

This time I have new Kit bags to show you. A standard version and a Deluxe (more heavy weight fabric) version.

We never rest at Animal Ark – updating and improving things all the time. So if you have a selection of our equipment lying around somewhere you can now pop them into one of our new Kit bags keeping it all nice and tidy.

They're easy to hang on a wall or carry around. Each comes with a first aid kit included.

See our shop for prices.

Snake handling team-kit in bag. Animal Ark

Snake and fauna handling kit bag.
Dave Ebert is crazy about sharks and other cartilaginous fish. Cartilaginous fish are those species whose skeletons are made of cartilage rather than bone. Amongst their kind are the sharks, ghost sharks (I hadn’t heard of them either), rays, skates and sawfish. Dave likes to find and describe new species and he finds them in rather unusual places, especially at fish markets.

What a cool job to be involved in new species research! With 24 new species identified by him it’s amazing just what’s out there and how much of our oceans is still to be explored. Currently around 500 species of shark are known with about 50 of them discovered in the past decade alone.

Dr Dave Ebert is Program Director at the Pacific Shark Research Center (PSRC) based at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in California. He regularly visits the same fish market in Taiwan and sorts through their catches looking for the unusual, often fishermen bring them up from great depths trawling. Sometimes he knows at first sight when a new discovery is made other times it requires further study.

Dave Ebert with frilled shark caught by Taiwanese fishermen. Photo Dave Ebert PSRC

Lana's sawshark. Photo Dave Ebert PSRC

Chimaera bahamaensis. Photo Dave Ebert PSRC

Pythons are usually quite clever and able to get out of any space they can crawl into. This one however managed to get its head stuck in a hole in the middle of a road.

The snake, pictured here, was obviously not one of brightest snakes from his clutch and was having a very bad day! Luckily for the snake passing motorists had phoned to report the 3 metre long reptile on the road and help arrived before it got run over.

Reptile removalist Silaluck and his colleague spent some time freeing the Reticulated Python from its embarrassing situation. Snake rescuer Silaluck Na Thalang said "if a member of the public had tried to tackle it, they could easily have ended up being bitten".

After the delicate rescue procedure the snake was released into a wildlife sanctuary where I am sure it slithered away rather quickly hoping to forget the incident as soon as possible.

Python stuck in hole - Phuket Thailand. Photo Daily Mail, UK

Three metre python stuck in drain cover - Phuket Thailand. Photo Daily Mail, UK

Imagine if you can that you're a plant living in a jungle and need nitrogen to stay healthy and grow. How do you go about getting it? Well a tropical Pitcher plant Nepenthes hemsleyana in the rainforest of Borneo has evolved a rather clever method to obtain the valuable nitrogen - by offering itself out as accommodation. It advertises for guests by reflecting sonar to attract passing bats. A special echo reflecting structure on the plants is identified by bats and they fly in to roost, and by using the ensuite toilet leave a nitrogen rich deposit behind as payment for the service.

Study author Ulmar Grafe of the University Brunei Darussalam discovered bats roosting inside this species of pitcher plants that was known for being a poor insect attracter, the main source of nitrogen for many other pitchers. Along with other students they explored what the plants and their bat partners were each getting from the deal. They found the plants had adapted acoustic reflector structures that stood out and enabled bats to locate them and use them as a safe roosting place. Both bat and plant benefit from the collaboration – a cosy arrangement.

Unusual partnership (Nepenthes hemsleyana) attracts bats to roost. Copyright Schoner et al - Current Biology from Daily Mail, UK
In a rather unexpected and generous offer, the German Government have announced they are adding 77,000 acres to the European Green Belt, a swathe of protected land. Sixty two German military bases that used to be in no-go zones as part of the vast Iron Curtain are simply no longer required. Eagles, woodpeckers, bats, lynx and all the other fauna and flora within these sites will all benefit. The protected habitats, which vary in size, are assured in theory for perpetuity.

The German government's other option had been to sell the land for real estate but the decision was taken to make the huge environmental gesture and preserve the land for wildlife and public enjoyment, increasing protected nature reserves in the country by a huge 25%. Well done Germany!

Eurasion lynx (Lynx lynx). Photo Bernard Landgraf
I met some of you at the WAHS Expo on July 26th – it is always nice to chat with enthusiastic people of all ages. This biannual event held at Cannington Exhibition Centre drew a crowd of around 5,000.

Popular with all ages who came to see and learn about our great reptile diversity in WA, in fact the greatest reptile diversity on planet earth is apparently found in south western WA with over 439 described species. As a sponsor of the show Animal Ark were there promoting our services.

Saltwater crocodile from Broome Crocodile Park - WAHS Expo 2015. Photo Animal Ark
Potentially significant health benefits have long been attributed to human contact with nature. I am sure most of you reading this newsletter are aware that your pets, gardening or pretty much any activity that involves an interaction with the natural world makes us feel better. All this and more is supported by research undertaken involving visitors to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth.

"What we were able to do here was - as far as we know in the world's first controlled experiment: we knew exactly the number of species and the number of [fish] that people were looking at, and they were systematically altered over time - monitor people's heart rate, blood pressure and various changes in mood over a 10-minute period while they watched the very large tank (500,000 litres)", Dr White explained.

"As you might expect, people felt a lot more relaxed and significantly happier after watching the tank with more fish - in other words with more biodiversity - and there were significant drops in heart rates and significantly lower blood pressure."

"Most of the physiological changes happened within the first five minutes and then plateaued out, so it happened quite quickly and then stabilised. However, the psychological measures showed that the benefits continued over the entire exposure - people got happier and happier, basically."

In order to rule out the possibility that the participants were responding to the biodiversity in the tanks rather than the tranquil environment, the first set of data was gathered while the participants looked at an empty tank, which only contained rocks and lighting etc.

The experiments were carried out during the day while the aquarium was open so people taking part in the experiment were experiencing the normal conditions of the aquarium, such as noise.

Dr White added: "The first thing to notice is that people relaxed, even watching an empty tank, and the benefits increased as we introduced more fish over the course of about a four-week period."

Find out more at

Watching fish has a calming effect. Fish cichlids. Photo Animal Ark. Watching fish has a calming effect - clownfish. Photo Animal Ark Watching fish has a calming effect - Lemon tang fish. Photo Animal Ark
Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
The Red Kangaroo is our largest terrestrial marsupial and the largest Kangaroo in the world. With long pointed ears, short red brown fur for males and bluer brown fur on females.

They may be found across central Australia and in all states and territories apart from Tasmania. A large male Red can stand 1.8m tall and each leap may be 8-9 metres long. Adults can also weigh in at over 100kg – all very impressive measurements making for a very imposing animal. Not to be messed with!

The massive, magnificent and beautiful Red Kangaroo can live alone although generally are found in small family groups consisting largely of females with their young. They also gather in mobs of around 8-10 individuals, occasionally and temporarily these can increase in size to as many as 1,500 individuals.

A range of habitats support them but semi-arid plains, grasslands, woodland and more open forests are favoured. Diet is grass but shrubs will also be eaten. Apart from humans, adults are too big to have living predators, some joeys will be taken by eagles and dingoes. Predators would have included the Wonambi, a giant snake, the marsupial lion and Megalania, the giant monitor lizard - all are now extinct.

Living for up to 23 years, the female kangaroo is usually permanently pregnant except on the day she gives birth! She also has the ability to halt the development of an embryo (diapause) until a joey has left the pouch; this happens if conditions are not ideal such as during drought. Juveniles will leave the pouch at around 8 months of age but may then suckle for another few months afterwards before becoming more independent.

Red kangaroos on Angas Downs. Photo AWS10 - Jenny Smits via Wikicommons

Rescued red kangaroo joey. Photo Animal Ark at NAR

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

Friday 4 September 2015 - North Beach, Perth
Friday 2 October 2015 - North Beach, Perth
Thursday 12 November 2015 - North Beach, Perth
Friday 4 December 2015 - North Beach, Perth

Fauna Handling Course
Friday 11 September 2015 - NAR, Malaga, Perth
Friday 9 October 2015 - NAR, Malaga, Perth
Friday 13 November 2015 - NAR, Malaga, Perth

Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs
Saturday 5 September 2015 - North Beach, Perth
Sunday 27 September 2015 - North Beach, 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:

Saturday 12 September 2015
Animal Ark Snake Awareness Session
Blackboy Reserve, Chittering
Contact Chittering Landcare Centre in Muchea for more information.

Saturday 12 September 2015
Kings Park Adventure Festival
Hale Oval
10:30am - 2:30pm

Wednesday 16 September 2015
Kulunga Katitijin Festival
Kings Park, Perth
9.30am – 2pm
Contact BGPA for more information.

Sunday 20 September 2015
Lake Claremont Day
Lake Claremont, Stirling Road, Claremont
10am – 1pm
Contact the Town of Claremont for more information

Friday 6, Saturday 7, Sunday 8 November
Perth 4WD & Adventure Show
McCallum Park, Victoria Park
9am – 6pm Friday & Saturday, 9am – 5pm Sunday
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.