Animal Diaries Archive
The scaliest time of year
12 January 2007Well once again we are well and truly into the swing of summer, and as well as being a very busy time for all the staff here at the Zoo, the local reptile community is full of activity getting ready for the winter that will be upon us in no time. The local snakes and lizards in the area are often seen sunning themselves around the Zoo or chasing down a tasty morsel.
They need to get as much condition on their bodies as possible before slowing down to their mid-yearly nap (or brumation) for winter. Reptiles can go as long as six months without food in the cooler months, so it's imperative that they take advantage of the warmer months and feed themselves up to a healthy level.
Anyone who has visited the Zoo will have surely seen our mates the Eastern Water Dragons, but it is our lesser known friends who are allowing themselves to be seen in the heat of summer. The very swift Golden Water Skink is often seen darting for cover as we pass over a wooden footbridge, and it is only too often that a friendly non-venomous Carpet Python is found sunning himself in the trees of one of our kangaroo paddocks. The beautifully elegant Green Tree Snake is also regularly spotted taking a dip in the cassowary creek or basking in a palm tree. The wetlands are not only a perfect habitat for our birds, but the nomadic Lace Monitor likes to make an appearance there when the wind takes him. Kreft's and Saw-shelled Turtles can be spotted sun baking on various logs and banks in the wetlands or chasing fish in the shallows. Our local residents are also noticing an influx of the scaly variety at this time of year. We have had many a call to relocate Carpet Pythons from local chook sheds and ceiling cavities.
For a reptile keeper, this is the best time of the year. We always get a kick out of seeing our scaly friends out and about and thriving in the local area. It almost becomes a competition each year between our reptile team and Big Richard to see who has the privilege to see some of our rarer mates out and about, or some of the more striking individuals. The summer is not over yet, but I think it is safe to say… better luck next year, Rich.