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No. 40
At Animal Ark we are busier than ever; Jenny, Ziggy and myself are either in the office doing admin (least fun) or delivering training courses to mining and construction companies (more fun), relocating snakes (great fun) or on another road trip with snake avoidance for dogs (best fun).

I really enjoy getting out and seeing and meeting our lovely country places and people and of course their dogs. What a job! Apart from being David Attenborough's replacement/sidekick (world's best job) I can't really think of much else I would rather be doing than doing what I do.

Anyway enough of me gushing, a few animally stories below, enjoy.

David Manning releasing rescued juvenile carpet python. Photo Animal Ark
A dog trainer called Teresa nearly died after she was treated for a gashed leg. She caught an infection from a bacterium called Clostridium difficile that causes rather nasty infectious diarrhoea. US statistics indicate that 7% of infected patients die within 30 days and it contributes to the deaths of some 21,000 people in the US alone. In her day job Teresa used to teach dogs to detect drugs and bombs. Having recovered from her deadly infection she set out to find a dog to train to hunt down the killer bacteria in Canadian hospitals. She found and trained one.

Angus is an English springer spaniel and the first Canadian bacteria hunter at Vancouver General Hospital. He is more precise and quicker at finding the 'super bug' than people with UV lighting and once detected a specialist team can get on with a thorough cleaning to try and eradicate the nasty bug. I just love the very varied ways that dogs and their noses are used to help mankind, from finding truffles or drugs or bombs and even bacteria.

Angus English springer spaniel superbug sniffing dog. Photo Vancouver Coastal Health
Alan is a reptile removalist living in Warwick. He sent me this email recently with accompanying picture. It shows clearly that a snake has often worked hard for a meal and can be very reluctant to let that meal go, at almost any cost.

An interesting call out, one that was easy to catch.

The snake was spotted in a back yard of a house in Padbury. A young teenage boy was left to stand by to watch while a parent went to make the call. While the teenager was watching the spot where the snake was last seen a rat ran past and started to run up the wall. The boy got to witness the snake strike out with the dugite lunging half way up the wall at the rat. It then refused to let the rat go whilst being captured by Alan.

The photo is of the release in Pinneroo. "I made sure he was well covered in leaves to ensure he could finish his meal in peace" said Alan.

Dugite not letting go of rat during relocation from Padbury. Photo Alan Hodson
Australian scorpions are nothing if not varied. I find tiny wood scorpions in my garden quite often. We have over 100 species – many are yet to be described by scientists. They inhabit a range of ecosystems. Most are found on the ground under rocks or deep in burrows, some kill the spider and use their trap door shafts, others live under bark on trees, many are solitary but at least one species, the Dwarf forest scorpion (Liocheles australasiae) lives in colonies 40m up in rainforest trees.

Luckily for us Australian scorpions do not have venom that is lethal to humans. If they sting it may hurt and burn for some time or feel little more like a bee sting – it depends on the species and the amount injected. Fortunately for us many scorpions hunt and eat spiders – so they are useful – if that's the right word.

All scorpions fluoresce under UV light – no one knows why. They cannot see this amazing fluorescence phenomenon themselves; it may be to lure in insects attracted to flowers (many flowers fluoresce), to ward off predators or to protect their exoskeletons from the sun – no one really knows.

Scorpions in general are well, very odd creatures – they were the very first predator to crawl out of the oceans onto the land some 430 million years ago. Some land based ones were once as large as a dog. Gestation can take up to 18 months, the live born young, called scorplings, gather on the females back until at least their first moult when they become independent.

Scorpion. Photo Animal Ark

Scorpion under UV light. Photo Animal Ark

Snake Avoidance Dog Training 2017. For 18 months we have been offering this popular training at a discounted introductory rate. Having reviewed this it will now revert to $195- inc GST from April 1st

However if you book now, pay now for any date in 2017 you will still get the discounted price of $175- inc GST. So if you are interested book now and maybe let your friends know. Refresher training is $85 inc GST

Discount offer ends April 1st 2017.

Snake avoidance training for dogs. Photo Animal Ark
Tongs are excellent for grabbing those slithering serpents. I use them all the time. Four new lengths of our popular tongs are now in stock. These are prices including GST but excluding carriage. The longest at 182cm are for the very paranoid or those dealing with roof spaces, other snakes at height and trench clearing environmentalists.
  • 91cm - $198
  • 121cm - $209
  • 152cm - $220
  • 182cm - $242
Snake tongs gentle full open Animal Ark
As usual it's a busy time for us and other relocators as the baby snakes start to appear. Juvenile dugites in particular hatch in huge numbers and move away from their nest looking for food and shelter.

Most just don't get far – Kookaburras, other birds, lizards, foxes, cats, hawks and owls are amongst the predators that get most of them. Many however still end up in our homes, gardens and workplace.

Despite their size they are quick and potentially deadly – so do not take chances with them. If you are capable, and willing, use thick gloves and a brush or similar to sweep them into a bin or box for relocating. Not whilst wearing thongs! Sturdy footwear essential – I know they are tiny but still very dangerous.

Alternatively call a reptile relocator or pest control company, or if near Duncraig you can call me.

We do have a suburb by suburb list of snake removalists on our website. See here for link

Baby dugite 2016 season. Photo Animal Ark
Animal Ark are now offering school children the chance to meet some mammals and birds from the Native Animal Rescue centre in Malaga. This incursion is full of fun but importantly offers helpful tips for all ages regarding caring for our native creatures.

Conservation, care and wildlife awareness for all ages, whilst offering hands on experience with some amazing native creatures.

Visit our website, email us on or call for more information or to book.

Southern brown bandicoot / quenda. Photo: Animal Ark
Animal in Focus: Australian Raven Corvus coronoides
Often called crows, the Australian Raven is a very widespread species found in all but the most arid interior parts of WA and almost everywhere else in Australia. Two sub species are recognised. Ravens are entirely black with black wings, black mouth and tongue and black (sometimes dark grey) feet. The long beard like hackles (throat feathers) make them easy to identify. Adults are easily distinguished as the eyes whiten as they mature. They are large birds at 46-53 cm long with a 100cm wingspan, weighing in at around 650gms. Their raucous call is as well known as the Kookaburra. A pair wakes me up most morning, living and nesting about 20m away in a gum tree. Ah-ah-aaaah

Raven numbers have grown considerably as they exploit urban surroundings (they just love our rubbish). They are expert at pulling trash from wheelie bins and foraging at roadsides and picnic areas.

A pair of Australian Ravens has a single brood a year. Both sexes share the building of a rather untidy nest consisting of sticks, bark, feathers and grasses. Shaped into a platform or bowl the female lays and incubates 3-6 eggs. Both sexes will care for and feed the young birds. Breeding commences from about 3 years of age and average wild life span is a further 3 to 4 years. One lucky adult 3+ years old was banded and re-caught over 12 years later. In captivity they can live around 22 years.

In some areas of WA they are a declared agricultural pest species.

A flock of 'crows' is called a murder. A group of Ravens is called an unkindness.

Noongar beliefs have it that these birds helped carry the spirits of the dead across the sea to an idyllic location called Kurannup located over the horizon beyond both Rottnest and Garden islands.

Corvus coronoides. Photo Flickr Newtown Grafitti, Commons Wikimedia
Upcoming Courses and Events
Venomous Snake Handling Course
DPaW approved for Reptile Relocator's Regulation 17 Licence
Wednesday 15 March – Malaga, Perth
Friday 24 March – Malaga, Perth
Wednesday 3 May – Malaga, Perth
Friday 2 June – Malaga, Perth
Friday 7 July – Malaga, Perth
Friday 4 August – Malaga, Perth

Fauna Handling Course
Thursday 23 March – Malaga, Perth
Thursday 4 May – Malaga, Perth
Thursday 6 July – Malaga, Perth

Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs
Saturday 11 March – North Beach, Perth
Sunday 19 March – Parkerville, near Mundaring, Perth Hills
Friday 28 April – North Beach, Perth
Friday 26 May – North Beach, Perth
Friday 23 June – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 12 August – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 16 September – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 23 September – Bunbury
Sunday 24 September – Bunbury
Thursday 28 September – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 30 September – North Beach, Perth
Sunday 8 October – North Beach, Perth
Wednesday 18 October – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 21 October – Bunbury
Sunday 22 October – Bunbury
Tuesday 24 October – Margaret River
Wednesday 25, Thursday 26 October - Nannup
Friday 27, Saturday 28 October – Mount Barker / Albany

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 26 March
Ballajura Harmony Day
Community event
12noon – 4pm
Karijini Oval, Ballajura
Community event
Contact City of Swan for more information

Saturday 8 April
Altone Comes Alive!
11am – 4pm
Altone Leisure Centre, Benara Rd, Beechboro
Community event
Contact City of Swan 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, Jenny or Ziggy at to book.

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