Posted on May 11, 2010 - by admin
Queensland’s native animals are at risk from unknowing residents trying to exterminate backyard ‘pests’.
KATE HIGGINS (Brisbane Times)
Matthew Osley, a wildlife keeper at Cool Companions, the education branch of the Dreamtime Wildlife Sanctuary, said Queenslanders often tried to rid their yards of harmless animals.
Queensland’s native animals on the loose
“A lot of people think that the backyard creatures are kind of annoying, but we’ve got snakes that keep rodents down in the backyards and we’ve got lizards that keep bugs down,” he said.
“We’re just trying to tell people, if they’re in the backyard, leave them in the backyard, they’re doing a good thing [and] they’ll help you out.”
Mr Osley said snakes were especially at risk of harm from scared suburbanites.
Queensland’s native animals: Wrong Thinking
“There is a big misconception out there, a lot of people see a snake and say `the only good snake’s a dead snake’,” he said.
“We’re kind of trying to promote a change around so people do leave these animals alone [and] respect them.
“They are here, we’re here, so we might as well live together happily.”
However, Mr Osley said it was hard to tell a dangerous snake from a harmless one.
“We do promote, if you see an animal in the backyard, leave it alone, don’t run up to it and try to touch it,” he said.
Queensland’s native animals: Warning 101
“No one will get hurt if you don’t go near it.”
He said the old adage that snakes are more afraid of humans than humans are of them was true.
“If you’ve seen a snake it’s definitely seen you, it’s smelt you, it knows your presence and it will try to find somewhere to hide,” Mr Osley said.
“Snakes aren’t an aggressive animal, they’re not going to come and strike at you for no reason.”
Mr Osley said noxious animals to watch out for included introduced species like cane toads and Asian house geckos.
Queensland’s native animals: Snakes and Rodents
Mr Osley said Queenslanders shared their homes with a number of harmless creatures, including non-venomous snakes, blue-tongued lizards, skinks, geckos and bearded dragons.
“The most common snakes you’ll see are your carpet pythons, they’re a harmless snake, they’re not going to do any damage to anybody,” he said.
“They will live in your roofs and keep your rodents down.”
Queensland’s native animals: A Plea
Mr Osley warned that rodent-plagued homeowners shouldn’t be tempted to buy a pet snake to keep the population down.
“You can’t feed rats in the wild to snakes in captivity, they have a lot of parasites that wild snakes can deal with but captive animals can’t,” he said.
Mr Osley said people needed to understand that animals’ native habitats were often in suburban areas.
Queensland’s native animals: A War on Space
“Humans have moved into their habitat so that’s why the snakes occupying that area,” he said.
“We are raising awareness of what these animals do for your backyards, there’s no point getting rid of them.
“Snakes [and reptiles] do have a purpose on the earth, we want to keep them here.”