February 02, 2020

Common As Muck

Much of my spare time is taken up in observing our unique wildlife in my corner of the world. The Peel region is home to diverse animals that inhabit the coastal heath, woodland and estuaries in this corner of south west Western Australia.
Typically, I'm after reptiles - in what we call "herping" which is just short for "driving around the roads at night looking for reptiles that may bask on it!" haha
I can't say it's always that fruitful but it's a lot of fun and no one night is ever really the same. We get everything from late moving Brown snakes like Dugites (Pseudonaja affinis) to small Ctenotus sp of skink opportunistically catching invertebrate prey in the light emitted from above street lights.
However, by far the most common reptiles to see are these two:

Jan's banded snake (Simoselaps bertholdi), a small (average of 30cm) fossorial snake species commonly found just laying in the middle of the road, soaking up the heat on a warm night. These go a little spazzy once approached and move like excitable worms and can even move in a somewhat "sidewinder" fashion trying to get away quickly from a perceived threat - namely and hamplamp clad herper standing over it! They are weakly venomous and reluctant biters but very pretty to look at and painful to photograph :)

Burton's legless lizard or Sharp-snouted snake lizard (Lialis burtonis) these can average about 50-60cm total length which a legless lizard or Pygopodidae that size is enough to get the layman people a little excited by their presence thinking them snakes. When in fact they're more gecko than snake. Harmless and morphologically similar to snakes and even their behaviour and diet has converged with some elapids , these legless lizards come in a wide range of colour morphs and are one of the most widespread reptiles we have found in every state bar Tasmania.

Posted on February 02, 2020 06:16 by outstar79 outstar79 | 1 observation | 1 comment | Leave a comment

December 26, 2017

True Blue Christmas

Ok, I really couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present this year being a FIFO worker in
the Pilbara region!
Walking around camp last night I cam across something small and stripy - to my surprise it was
a baby Centralian blue tongue skink (Tiliqua multifasciata) and one of the smallest wild blue
tongues I've ever seen

Centralian blue tongues are arid region specialsts, thriving in the hot desert conditions that's typical
of Australia's remote and dry central regions. Like all blue tongues, these are omnivores and will
eat almost anything, while they won't typically drink from water directly, they will get moisture from
their prey and dew drops off plant life in the mornings.
They build their homes among the spinifex around here, which is very typical of these guy as it
offers great protection from predators. And their head it perfectly shaped to slide though the pointy
prongs of the spinifex. Their body patterns also act as perfect camouflage among those plants
as well

And like all blue tongues, these are born live (not from eggs) - in which they will eat the membranous
sac they are born in as their first meal before taking off on their own, as fully independant skinks

Posted on December 26, 2017 19:32 by outstar79 outstar79 | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment