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No. 63
Well, our wet and wild winter keeps on soaking us. Great news for our amphibians and no doubt ducks too, I think even our farmers are happy.

All this rain, the sheer volume of water that's been flowing over my gutters has got me thinking about, well water. The very stuff vital for our survival.

I am sure we all know a few amazing facts about the liquid but here's my take on the wet stuff and a few incredible creatures that have evolved novel ways of using it.

Tiger snake. Photo Monica Iseppi / Animal Ark
Water is the only substance on earth found in all three forms - liquid, solid and as a gas. Water drop. Photo Jose Manuel Suarez, Wikimedia Commons
You cannot make water. All there is, is all there is. It came from space arriving by comet and asteroid, mostly arriving about 4 million years ago during a period known as the Late Heavy bombardment (not sure what happened during the early heavy bombardment!)

Our water is mostly trapped in solid form as ice, such as at the Antarctic where the ice sheet is around 2km thick, or in liquid form in our vast oceans and in the atmosphere as a gas.

Vast amount of planet earths water is ice-bound as here in Antarctica. Photo Animal Ark
Yes it's true – the water you drink today has been drunk (and peed out) before, by dinosaurs, if not by another human. We humans probably haven't been around long enough to have drunk every molecule but scientists who did the maths have worked out that every molecule of water you drink has indeed passed through a dinosaur.

After all, various dinosaur species trod the earth for over 180 million years – plenty of time to drink long and deep and well pass (or piss) it on.

Nanyangosaurus dinosaur image LadyofHats Mariana Ruiz, Wikimedia Commons
The archerfish Toxotes sp, native to tropical parts of Asia and Australia is unique. From the water it hunts animals on the land. It uses water as a weapon to shoot at targets such as spiders, insects, and small lizards.

By utilising a special groove in the mouth, it shoots high-powered droplets of water to dislodge potential prey that will fall into the water to be consumed.

It has taken fluid dynamics experts years to work out quite how the droplet packs enough of a punch to dislodge its prey. In essence the first part of the droplets leaves the mouth at a slower speed that the back end of it. So as the first droplets arrive on target the faster last droplets accelerate into the first, thus increasing the size and velocity at just the right moment.

Toxotes jaculatrix Banded Archerfish. Photo Chrumps, Wikimedia Commons
The Australia water holding frog Cyclorama platycephala can survive many years under ground safe in a waterproof cocoon made from its own shed skin.

Some 60% of the frog's weight may be water that is stored mostly in the bladder.

With slight pressure (give it a squeeze) that stored water is squirted out and is drinkable. It is well documented that by tapping the ground to "feel" a chamber or spotting identifying marks on the ground they have been dug up by indigenous desert dwellers for a drink!

Cyclorana platycephala northern female. Photo Anstis Marion Price Luke C Roberts J Dale Catalano Sarah R Hines Harry B Doughty Paul Donnellan Stephen C, Wikimedia Commons
Jenny and I had some fun on the water, up in the Northern Territory on the Adelaide River recently. Apex predator and largest of all living reptiles the estuarine or saltwater crocodiles were in abundance.

The huge beast in the video is Dominator - he very, very nearly got our guide's hand. One moment of distraction and the huge creature decided on a larger meal than the chicken carcass that was on offer. It's only a minute long – worth watching to the very end.

Big Boy tries to bite the hand that feeds. Dominator the crocodile, Adelaide River, NT. Photo Animal Ark
Our amazing desert dwelling thorny devil lizard Moloch horridus has evolved a rather special way to quench its thirst.

It uses a minute network of tiny channels between the scales to draw water upwards towards the mouth. It can stand in a puddle and draw water up its legs along the body towards its mouth. With little gulps it can drink the lifesaving liquid, fortunate really as its mouth is so highly specialised for ant gathering it cannot drink from the ground as most other lizards would.

Thorny devil Moloch horridis. Photo Animal Ark
New dates and locations are out now with more to follow throughout the spring and summer. We are expecting a very busy season once the sun starts shining again and it warms up a bit.

Fortunately to keep up with demand new dates are added all the time so check the website for up-to-date information.

We also offer a 10% discount to any vet nurses booking their own dog in for the first session.

White and brown Staffy at Snake Avoidance Training. Photo Animal Ark
Check the Animal Ark online shop at for many permanent price reductions on our snake handling equipment. Southern Death adder Acanthophis antarcticus on Animal Ark hook. Photo Karl Monaghan, Animal Ark
Upcoming Courses and Events
Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs
Sunday 22 August – North Beach
Friday 27 August – New Era Vets, Oakford
Sunday 29 August – Jurien Bay, with Wheatbelt Vets
Saturday 4 September - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Sunday 5 September – Parkerville, Perth Hills
Friday 10 September – Hay Park, Bunbury
Friday 10 September – Mariginiup, nr Wanneroo
Saturday 11 September – Bunbury, Harradines Vets
Sunday 12 September – Bunbury, Harradines Vets
Sunday 12 October – Oldbury nr Oakford
Friday 17 September – Nannup, with Nannup CRC
Saturday 18 September – Nannup, with Nannup CRC
Saturday 25 September – Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Tuesday 28 September – North Beach
Friday 1 October – Donnybrook
Saturday 2 October – Donnybrook
Tuesday 5 October – Two Rocks
Sunday 10 October – Baldivis Vet Hospital, Baldivis
Friday 15 October – Margaret River
Saturday 16 October – Margaret River
Sunday 17 October – Gnangara, Perth
Friday 22 October – Ferguson, nr Bunbury
Saturday 23 October – Bunbury, Harradines Vets
Sunday 24 October – Bunbury, Harradines Vets
Saturday 30 October – Albany
Sunday 31 October – Albany
Monday 1 November – Tambellup WA, with Tambellup CRC
Saturday 6 November - Manjimup
Saturday 20 November – Bunbury, Harradines Vets
Sunday 21 November – Bunbury, Harradines Vets
Saturday 4 December – Albany area
Sunday 5 December – Albany area

For our up-to-date schedule see

Venomous Snake Handling Course
Licensed by DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service
Monday 23 August – Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Wednesday 25 August - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills – FULL
Friday 3 September - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills – FULL
Monday 6 September – Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Thursday 30 September – Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Thursday 7 October - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Tuesday 19 October - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Thursday 4 November - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Friday 19 November - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Wednesday 1 December - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Tuesday 14 December - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills

Fauna Handling Course
Tuesday 24 August - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills
Wednesday 6 October - Mahogany Creek, Perth Hills

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 19 September
Animal Ark Interactive Wildlife Display
Celebrate Lake Claremont
Lake Claremont Park
11am – 2pm
Contact Town of Claremont for more information

Wednesday 29 September
Animal Ark Interactive Wildlife Display
Baldivis Library, 17 Settlers Avenue
10am – 11am
To book or for more information please contact City of Rockingham

Wednesday 29 September
Animal Ark Interactive Wildlife Display
Safety Bay Library, 197 Safety Bay Road
12pm – 1pm
To book or for more information please contact City of Rockingham

For Snake and Fauna Handler training, events and schools, please see our diary at

For Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs see our diary at

Dates subject to change – best to check the websites.

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

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