- Don’t panic!! When you see a snake remember it is likely it has seen you too. In the majority of cases snakes will retreat to nearby cover but on occasion will lay still in hope you will go away. A snake will not make a deliberate motion towards you unless provoked.
- Keep a sharp eye on the snake. If you feel you may want the snake identified or further assistance, call for someone to grab your digital camera or the telephone. Fast moving species such as Common Tree Snakes or Eastern Brown Snakes usually head for cover if you leave the area. For identification of snakes in our region go to our snake id web page. Snake Identification and Information.
- Keep pets and people well away from the snake. The more interaction the snake has the more intimidated it will become. 95% OF SNAKE BITES OCCUR WHEN PEOPLE TRY TO CATCH OR KILL SNAKES. Don’t knowingly place yourself or those around you into the highest risk category. No snake left alone is dangerous. Allow a specialist to solve the problem for you if you feel relocation is required.
- If the snake is inside your home/workplace it is paramount you keep a constant watch until your snake catcher arrives. Snake catchers are not magicians and snakes are exceptional at exiting an area undetected. A general search in most cases will not turn up your snake. If you cannot manage this then a damp towel jammed under the closed door will assist to keep the snake enclosed. Be sure to push the towel in with an implement to minimise the option of escape. Remember that snakes can hide in inaccessible places even in a single room and capture cannot be guaranteed if you don’t know where the snake is. Nothing replaces a constant watchful eye.
- Snakes outside are generally temporary visitors that will leave your premises if left alone. With a little patience from yourself you will find the snake will vacate of its own accord. Remember that your snake has probably lived its entire life in suburban backyards without incident so why should this change just because you have seen it.
- It makes sense to have the number of your local 24 hour licensed snake handler ready in case of a surprise snake encounter. Trying to find the number whilst endeavouring to keep watch on a snake is time consuming and delays any response to your situation. For a comprehensive suburb by suburb list of all snake catchers within Brisbane and other regions in Queensland go to the 24 Hour Snake Catchers Directory.
What percentage of koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) mortality can be attributed to carpet pythons (Morelia spilota) in South East Queensland?
Koalas are the most recognisable Australian animal, known around the world for their cute and cuddly appearance. As locals, we all know that koalas are vulnerable here in South East Queensland. Most people attribute their population decline to disease, however there are a variety of factors that are affecting Australia’s most iconic marsupial. Habitat destruction, trauma from cars, predators, climate change and disease are the main causes for koala mortality. In the past, it has been difficult to determine exactly what are the causes of koala mortality due to poor reporting. Previous estimates have been determined from wildlife hospital records which are often biased. Most hospital records state mortality by predation as either caused by wild dogs or livestock. However, there are several predators of koalas including domestic dogs, dingoes, dingo hybrids, foxes, lace monitors, carpet pythons, birds of prey such as wedge-tailed eagles, powerful owls, and white-bellied sea eagles.
The study “Predation by carpet pythons (Morelia spilota) is an important cause of mortality in a free-living koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) population in South East Queensland” found in the Australian Veterinary Journal, aimed to determine the importance of carpet python predation of koalas. This is important for formulating effective management strategies for species conservation.
A total of 503 live koalas were captured during this study. They were examined by a wildlife veterinarian, tagged with telemetric devices (a device that collects information on the animal’s location and movement) and monitored after release over four years. Mortality was detected when the biotelemetric collars indicated low or zero activity, or during routine field surveys. Deceased animals were examined by a veterinarian to determine cause of death. To assess whether a carpet python was the cause of death, three indicators were used: A U-shaped primary bite site, slicking of the fur by python saliva and diffuse, uniform pulmonary congestion (accumulation of fluid in the lungs).
The study found that carpet pythons were important predators of koalas, second only to wild dogs (dingoes and dingo hybrids). Carpet pythons accounted for 11.6% of predation deaths and 7.2% of total deaths. However, less than half of the koalas that were killed by carpet pythons were ingested (38%). Those that were ingested had an age range of 11.5 months – 14 months and approximate weights of 1.3kg-2.9kg. The younger, smaller koalas are more likely to be predated on due to size.
Before this study, carpet python predation of koalas was recognised, however the relative importance to mortality had not been acknowledged. This knowledge is important for conservation management plans as it is essential to understand the factors driving population declines. Koala populations are intensively controlled to manage localised extinction; therefore, recognition of their predators is relevant to inform decisions on predator control efforts. Carpet pythons can influence a population by targeting smaller, juvenile koalas. Therefore, when determining translocation sites, carpet python density should be studied to maximise koala survival rates.
To purchase and read the full article, please follow the link below.
Robbins A, Loader J, de Villiers D, Beyer HL & Hanger J 2019, “Predation by carpet pythons (Morelia spilota) is an important cause of mortality in a free-living koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) population in South East Queensland”, Australian Veterinary Journal, vol 97, no 9