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No. 4
Another month whizzes past and we find ourselves in the middle of a wet, stormy but warm weather spell. We have been real busy, visiting schools, delivering training courses and equipment, and sitting in the office dealing with bureaucracy!!

I spent a few days doing something that saddens and gladdens at the same time. As a new suburb is constructed and bush is being bulldozed I was employed to help catch and relocate some fauna, but more on that next time.

Hope you enjoy the following and PLEASE DO like us on Facebook

Bird in Focus: White Tailed Black Cockatoo
Carnaby’s,Calyptorhynchus latirostris
Baudin’s,Calyptorhynchus baudinii
In WA we have two species of these magnificent birds, unique to southwest Australia, as well as a red tailed variety. All of them are under continuing threats from habitat destruction through urban and agricultural sprawl as well as persistent shooting by orchard fruit growers.

With the white tailed varieties the long billed form is called Baudin's and the short billed form is the Carnaby’s. Other than bill size they are very similar in appearance. See photo for comparison. The long billed form on the right, the Baudin's, to the left is the Carnaby’s.

Around Perth though it is the short billed Carnaby’s Cockatoo that most of us will see and hear. Endemic to WA noisy flocks from a few individuals to many dozens fly up and down the Swan Coastal Plain to visit seasonal feeding sites. They will then fly out to their main breeding grounds in the Wheatbelt during the winter months. They feed mainly on nuts and seeds of Banksia, Dryandra, Hakea, Eucalyptus and Grevilleas.

We get Carnaby’s feeding on remnant bushland near us in suburban Perth. After a feed the trees or bushes look like they have been thrashed by vandals, debris lies all around, those sharp strong beaks brutal in their efficiency.

Male Carnaby’s reaching maturity have the blackish bill and pink around the eye, whereas the females have a grey beak and grey around the eye. Baudins are very similar.

Life span: up to 50 years

All are endangered or threatened species. Further decline in the wild is difficult to halt although a number of rescue centres try to reverse the decline in numbers through rehabilitation and breeding. Various charities and agencies are involved in assisting these birds with the creation of artificial hollows in suitable habitat and through prosecution of those deliberately killing or disturbing them. As well as persecution from man they also suffer from lack of suitable natural nesting hollows in mature trees that are also sought by feral bees, lorikeets and others.

Without any doubt these endemic birds are in very real danger of extinction. One small way we can all help is to plant native species such as banksias to provide food and encourage others to do the same. If you have a large property mature native trees are essential for roosting and breeding.

Photo by Rick Dawson, DPaW

Photo by Dee Stojanovic

Photo by Jennie Stock

Birdlife Australia are currently conducting a survey of Carnaby sightings. If you live in the Wheatbelt or Great Southern Regions you are encouraged to report sightings online:
Venom or Poison?
The terms venomous or poisonous are often used interchangeably when talking about some animals. In fact they are quite different. Whilst both venomous and poisonous creatures produce toxins that are injurious or lethal to us, the method of delivering that toxin is what makes the difference.

VENOMOUS organisms deliver or inject into a body using specialist apparatus. Snakes and spiders use fangs; many bees, scorpions, ants and jellyfish have stingers. So because the toxin is injected we call it Venom. There are even venomous mammals such as the male Platypus, which has sharp venomous spurs and the Cuban Solenodon with a venomous bite.

POISONOUS organisms, on the other hand have the toxin in some or all of the body and their toxins are usually effective only if something eats or touches them. Some can squirt or ooze their toxin as well. Many bugs, butterflies, moths and grasshoppers use toxins in this way so we call them Poisonous. Many Amazon dart frogs are likewise poisonous as the toxin is excreted through the skin. With Cane Toads it oozes from glands on the head. There is even the odd bird, poisonous if you bit it as it has toxins on its feathers and skin.

We have all heard about Venomous snakes like Cobras and Tiger Snakes, but surprisingly there are at least 2 poisonous snakes. The poisonous species are the Japanese Grass Snake Rhabdophis tigrinus and the American Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis. You may get sick from the toxins they accumulate by eating poisonous toads and salamanders. So just don’t bite any snakes and you will be fine!

Millipedes Cause Train Crash
Did you see this item in the news? On 3rd September 2013 two trains collided in Perth’s northern suburb Clarkson due, in part it is believed, to squished millipedes on the tracks. The juice from the squished bodies interfered with the trains usual rate of deceleration.

They have caused other issues with train cancellations in Victoria in recent years, when vast numbers of them affected signalling equipment. No one was seriously injured in the Clarkson accident but it just goes to show the impact that little creatures can sometimes have on us.

The story spread across the world as news agencies love both weird news items and Australian wildlife stories - although this species in not native to Australia.

Portuguese Millipedes Ommatoiulus moreletii the species involved in the incident are yet another invasive species. They first arrived in Port Lincoln South Australia in 1953 and have spread to many other areas of the country. In parts of Perth they are a particular nuisance for many home owners, where attracted by light they enter buildings often in huge numbers. The Animal Ark office frequently has them on the ceiling and floor. Few native animals predate them and in moist conditions the population explodes and they are very abundant.

You can find out more about their lifestyle and how to control them with this link to the Department of Agriculture.

Wakey Wakey Snakey Snakey
As warm weather approaches snakes are beginning to become active. They actively seek out warm sunny spots on paths to sunbathe. At this time of year they are still relatively sluggish and you are most likely to spot them when out walking.

In a couple of months time when it’s considerably hotter they can move about more freely and as a consequence are rarely spotted as they slink off upon seeing/feeling our approach.

Out walking the dogs this week in North Beach at Star Swamp a man said his dog jumped over a 2 metre Dugite warming itself in a sunny patch along the path. Apparently he, the dog and the Dugite were as shocked as each other and all fled in different directions.

Tread carefully!

NAR Upgrade
Native Animal Rescue in Malaga is undergoing a huge facelift with Lotterywest funds. Construction is underway to improve the facilities for both wildlife and the animal carers. An upgraded clinic and brand new waterbird rescue centre should be up and running soon.

At their recent AGM it was announced that they are to be part of a new initiative to breed the endangered Western Quoll Dasyurus geoffroii. In an attempt to secure a future for the species a new breeding facility is also being constructed at the NAR HQ. As anyone who has been on one of our Fauna Handling courses will know, the centre relies heavily on volunteers and donations.

NAR is a vital and valuable organisation assisting with not only treatment and rehabilitation, but also the study and breeding of some of WA’s critically threatened and endangered native animals.

Meet a Lion Whisperer
If you are interested in Lions at all – this upcoming event in Perth may be for you. I am going - maybe see you there.

Check out this link for more information:

Upcoming Courses & Events
Snake Handling Training Course
DPaW approved for Reptile Relocators Regulation 17 Licence
Friday 4 October 2013 - North Beach, Perth
Friday 1 November 2013 - North Beach, Perth
Monday 11 November 2013 - Bunbury Wildlife Park
Tuesday 12 November 2013 - Bunbury Wildlife Park
Friday 6 December 2013 - North Beach, Perth

Fauna Handling Course
Monday 4 November 2013 - Malaga, Perth

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

Sunday 27 October
Dogs Breakfast, Kingsway Regional Sporting Complex, Madeley, Perth.
Free event.

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.