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No. 46
Hello once again. Well whilst it's warm as I write this we have been having a coldish summer. It amazes me just how much the temperatures change around the south west of WA. Recently we went from a chilly Margaret River training location to a very warm one in Narrogin the next day - just 3 hours away.

Also a warm welcome to Keely joining Animal Ark - with a double major in Zoology and Conservation Biology and a keen interest in wildlife conservation she will fit in perfectly with the team.

And it's a goodbye to Ziggy who we will miss heaps – she has taken up a graduate Environmental Advisor position in the mining industry.

A big thank you to all our wonderful hosts over the recent months on our travels around WA - pictured here our newest recruit Keely with would be wildlife handlers Ella and Liam in Margaret River - thank you guys for your help and enthusiasm.

Keely and helpers at Margaret River. Photo: Animal Ark
We all hear things differently – my dogs have selective hearing at times, as do the kids! Our old boy Steve a Jack Russell at 16 years of age barely hears anything these days.

We measure sound frequency in hertz (Hz). A healthy young human should hear things roughly between 20 to 20,000 Hz. Some creatures can hear well outside this range:

Jack Russell terrier, Steve. 2002. Photo: Animal Ark
Dogs, depending on the breed, can have excellent hearing. Using 18 muscles per ear dogs can rotate them for a better sense of direction of any given sound. Dogs can also hear high frequency tones inaudible to the human ear. The ”nelson” dog whistle sometimes used in training dogs is well within a dogs hearing range but you wouldn't hear a thing using it!

Range: 67 - 45,000 Hz

Border collie dog. Photo: Animal Ark
With an amazing 32 muscles per ear – cats can rotate their ears and both amplify and hone in on the exact source of a sound. It is hard for a mouse to squeak past.

Range 55 - 77,000 Hz

Tabby cat Nellie looking up. Photo: Animal Ark
Bats have very varied hearing abilities, and of course use echolocation to hunt prey and even navigate towards flowers and fruits.

Range 1 – 200,000 Hz

Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Wikimedia Commons
As a common prey item these moths have phenomenal hearing around 150 times more sensitive than our hearing. All the better for avoiding those crafty bats.

Range up to 300,000 Hz

Galleria mellonella - Greater wax moth. Photo: Andy Reago / Chrissy McClarren, Wikimedia Commons
Their large ears can be used to funnel sound as well as for thermoregulation helping to cool an elephant down when it gets particularly hot by allowing blood to reach a wider surface area. Infrasonic sounds, those that are well below human hearing, are used by elephants to communicate at distances of around 2 km.

Range 17 – 120,000 Hz

Elephant, Sable Sands, Zimbabwe. Photo: Animal Ark
The hearing ability of birds varies greatly depending on the species. Some birds (oil birds) even use a type of echolocation like bats to find their way around. Apparently many birds are very sensitive to pitch, tone and rhythm enabling them to distinguish individuals amongst a flock.

Range 125 - 12,000 Hz

Eclectus parrots. Photo: Animal Ark
Snakes have no ears, so how do they hear? With no external ear and no tympanum (ear drum) they rely on a single ear bone attached to their lower jaw. Essentially they hear and are very sensitive to sound vibrations that reach their skeleton and particularly the skull. So keep stomping those feet and they move away.

Range 80 - 160 Hz

Tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) - head shot. Photo: Monica Iseppi / Animal Ark
We have been very busy with our Venomous Snake Handling courses. Attendees get to learn about and catch a range of snakes that may be encountered in the workplace, bush block or even inside your home! We make it fun, educational but above all safe. One popular part of the day is to have a go holding a 'tubed' snake. Tubing allows herpetologists (snake experts), environmentalists and enthusiastic amateurs the means to examine a snake close up safely.

Here ecologist Veronica is holding a tubed Mulga or King Brown snake (Pseudechis australis).

If you fancy an interesting day out, mention this newsletter and get 15% off any individual booking onto a Venomous Snake Handling course in April or May.

Tubing a king brown / mulga snake (Pseudechis australis). Photo: Jodie Beardsley
Baby snake season is upon us – I've had calls about a snake that got into a car near Jandakot, local reptile removalist Danielle had a good search for it – but could not manage to catch it. I suggested placing some perfume or mothballs in the car to encourage it to move on. A day or so later I had another call about the same snake in a car situation - to say it had now moved into the boot, I think the strong smells worked – hopefully a more local snake catcher sorted out this tricky situation. Meanwhile nearer to home Keely and I removed a juvenile dugite from behind some electrical panelling from a school in Mirrabooka.

So keep an eye out, this is a busy period for snakes recently hatched or live born to be looking for a habitat in which to take up residence. On warmer days they stress from the heat and look for cooler places to hang out.

Baby brown snake - dugite, Psudonaja affinis. Photo: Animal Ark
We have updated the suburb-by-suburb list we have on our website for reptile removalists.
Check it out here.

If you are trained, have an up to date Regulation 17 Reptile Removalists licence and would like to be added to this list please email us with your name, a mobile number and the suburbs you are willing to cover.

If you would like your name and contact details removed, do please let us know too!

Thank you.

Reptile removalist - catch and relocate snake. Photo: Animal Ark
Animal in Focus: Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris)
The domestic dog has been selectively bred over many thousands of years by mankind into a wide variety of forms, with size, appearance and behavioural traits being the main objectives of such interference with the dogs' wolf-like ancestors.

Evidence today suggests that modern wolves are not closely related to a more ancient kind of wolf from which the domestic dog in fact descends. Whilst their exact ancestry is uncertain, we know that pet dogs were the first ever domesticated species and were used to work and accompany humans when we lived exclusively as hunter-gatherers. This domestication may have occurred as early as 30,000 years ago, long before humans settled and started agriculture and built the first permanent settlements. Dogs have been buried alongside humans for at least 14,000 years ago.

I have been lucky enough to meet and work with a large number of the hundreds of breeds known, from the diminutive Chihuahua to the more standard size Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican hairless dog and from Yorkshire terriers to the massive English Mastiffs. Like many of you I have also welcomed several into my home as pets and also grew up alongside dogs from a standard poodle through to a collie x chow to the two Jack Russells I have today. One of which Steve is 16 years of age and will inevitably not be with us much longer. My family, like much of humanity before us, will honour his passing in a way that has endured for millennia. The very special human/dog relationship continues on into our modern age.

Dogs have an acute sense of smell that has earned them varied roles with humans from trackers to truffle hunters. They are more famously companions and 'mans best friend' is a well-earned term. So popular in fact are they that the world population is estimated to be around 900 million. Whilst many live lives of privilege others are quite cruelly treated and feral populations are common around the world.

  • Smallest: Yorkshire terrier 6.3cm at shoulder, 9.5cm body length, weight 113gms
  • Largest: English Mastiff weight 155.6kg, 250cm body length
  • Gestation: An average of 63 days and 6 is an average number of puppies although litter sizes vary enormously with breed.
  • Average lifespan: 14-15 years (depends on the breed)
British bulldog and kennel. Photo: Animal Ark

Border collies. Photo: Animal Ark

Yorkshire terrier puppy. Photo: Animal Ark

German shepherd dog. Photo: Animal Ark Chinese crested dog. Photo: Animal Ark
Upcoming Courses and Events
Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs
Thursday 22 February – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 17 March – North Beach, Perth
Sunday 25 March – Albany, WA
Monday 26 March – Albany, WA
Tuesday 27 March – Bunbury, WA
Thursday 29 March – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 12 May – North Beach, Perth
Saturday 11 August – Geraldton
Sunday 12 August – Geraldton
Saturday 15 September – Harradines Vets, Bunbury
Sunday 16 September – Harradines Vets, Bunbury
Saturday 13 October - Harradines Vets, Bunbury
Sunday 14 October - Harradines Vets, Bunbury
Thursday 25 October – Nannup
Friday 26 October – Nannup
Saturday 27 October - Nannup

Venomous Snake Handling Course
DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service approved for Regulation 17 Reptile Removalists Licence
Friday 23 February – Malaga, Perth
Friday 23 March – Malaga, Perth
Saturday 7 April – Malaga, Perth
Friday 4 May – Malaga, Perth
Friday 25 May – Malaga, Perth
Friday 22 June - Malaga, Perth
Friday 20 July – Malaga, Perth
Friday 17 August - Perth

Fauna Handling Course
Thursday 22 March – Malaga, Perth
Thursday 24 May – 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:

Monday 16 April
Whitfords Library
It's a Wonderful World
10am and 11.30am
for more information and to book contact City of Joondalup Libraries

Wednesday 18 April
Rockingham Libraries
Various times and locations
for more information and to book contact Rockingham Library

Sunday 27 May
"Wear Ya Wellies Day"
Edmonds Reserve, Edmond Place
10am – 3pm
community event

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

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

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