Saturday, February 25, 2012

Snakes, sand flies and stumpy-tailed lizards

Athol, who lives on the outskirts of Mitchell and is very generously looking after Doug's 1940 Plymouth sedan, has been visited by an unusual number of snakes. This past week he's found and killed (because of the risk of his dogs being bitten) four large highly venomous King brown snakes -- all in his garden.

Athol's daughter found a 7 to 8 foot long King brown snake basking on her verandah, the biggest Athol has ever seen. It seems that the flood waters of the Maranoa River have caused snakes to be out and about, and on the move.

Our friend and neighbour Richard offers a free and immediate snake removal service in and around Mitchell. Richard prefers to see snakes caught and relocated into bushland, rather than be killed.

With reptiles on my mind, and the temperature hovering around 34°C here on Phillip Island, I'd like to give you an update about Stego, my 41-year-old pet stumpy-tailed lizard.

Stego and I share a love of sunshine and consider a temperature of about 26°C to be ideal. As far as food is concerned though, our tastes differ. Stego loves garden snails, Whiskers cat food (but not of the fish variety) and very ripe bananas.

Hard shiny scales protect him from the sand flies that are currently swarming in the green grass of our garden. These sandflies are a huge problem for our dogs, but not Stego.

With an eccentric yet sensitive personality, my stumpy-tailed lizard is a true survivor.

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