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.”
Queensland’s native animals.
Posted on May 17, 2010 - by admin
The Bearded Dragon is a friendly, sun-loving, terrestrial lizard that favours elevated perches such as tree stumps, fence posts or rocks as basking sites, and seeks shelter under debris or vegetation. They are diurnal, which means they are active during the day. Adults reach a maximum size of approximately 50cm (snout to tail) and reproduce by laying eggs.
Sometimes referred to as Pogona, this includes several species of medium-sized built lizards. Bearded dragons are named for their distinctive flap of skin which lies below their jaw. When threatened, these lizards assume a defensive posture, opening their mouths and pushing their throat skin forward to make this “beard”. (more…)
Posted on May 25, 2010 - by admin
Chlamydosaurus kingii or the Frill-necked Dragon
The frill-necked dragon is often confused with the bearded dragon. It is an unfortunate fact of life that this iconic Australian animal is struggling for appropriate habitat in which to live in south east Queensland. At one time these animals were found in many suburbs around Brisbane. Urban development, loss of trees, pesticides, and domestic animals have confined these lizards to living within small pockets of suitable habitat. (more…)
Posted on May 27, 2010 - by admin
Ctenophorus fionni or the Peninsula Dragon
Found on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula and some offshore islands, these small, sun-loving dragons feed on virtually any insects they can catch, including ants. Females are usually smaller than males, and will lay two to four eggs
per clutch. Eggs are laid from spring to early summer. The Peninsula dragon can be found in and around rocky outcrops where it hide in the crevices formed between rocks. (more…)
Posted on May 28, 2010 - by admin
Ctenophorus nuchalis or the central netted dragon
Male central netted dragon perches on high vantage points, such as termite mounds (which also serve as a source of food for this insectivore), dirt hills, logs, and fence posts. They will retreat to a nearby burrow if they feel threatened by a predator, or if the temperature gets too high. They will often backfill the entrance to this burrow to prevent entry by predators, and to keep the heat out. (more…)
Posted on May 29, 2010 - by admin
Ctenophorus vadnappa or the Red-barred Dragon
This ornate little dragon from the Flinders Ranges in South Australia is one of the most distinctly marked small dragon species. They are found on and around rocky outcrops surrounded by low shrubby growth. The red-barred dragon basks on the rocks by day, and seeks shelter in rock crevices for sleep and safety at night time. The species name, ‘vadnappa’, comes from the Aboriginal name for this species, which means ‘painted lizard’. (more…)
Posted on May 30, 2010 - by admin
Cyclodomorphus gerrardii or the Pink-tongued Skink
Members of this species are born with a blue tongue, but its colour changes to pink within the first year or so. The tail is long and prehensile, and can be used to grip things (such as branches when the lizard is climbing). Both arboreal (tree climbing) and terrestrial (living on the ground), pink tongues shelter in tree hollows, hollow logs and crevices, and under fallen timber and leaves. (more…)
Posted on June 1, 2010 - by admin
Cyrtodactylus louisiadensis or the Ring-tailed Gecko
The ring-tailed gecko is one of Australia’s largest gecko species, growing up to 34 cm long, half of which is tail. They are attractively marked animals with broad purplish-brown bands on their pale bodies. Their habitat includes the rainforest and rocky areas of north-eastern Queensland, to the caves and rock fissures in the drier western parts of the Atherton Tableland. As with all gecko species, the ringtailed gecko is an egg layer, depositing 2 eggs at a time. (more…)
Posted on June 2, 2010 - by admin
Diplodactylus steindachneri or the Box-patterned Gecko
Did you know…
- Box-patterned gecko dwells in the dry woodland areas of Queensland and New South Wales.
- By day, the box-patterned gecko shelters in soil cracks, underneath fallen timber and in piles of logs. At night, they emerge to feed.
- Like most geckos, the Box-patterned Gecko eats virtually anything they can fit in their mouths, such as termites, crickets and spiders.
- Geckos usually lay just two eggs pet clutch, but they can lay multiple clutches per year. After she’s laid her eggs, the female won’t look after them.
Posted on June 3, 2010 - by admin
Egernia cunningham or the Cunningham’s Skink
Did you know…
- The Cunningham’s skink is the largest of the spiny-tailed skink group.
- As with all spiny-tailed skinks, Cunningham’s skink gives birth to live young.
- The Cunningham’s Skink live in rocky areas, and are often found in small groups.