Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles


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Snakes were very modern reptiles compared to the dinosaurs. Snakes first appeared during the late Cretaceous period about million years ago , towards the end of the time of the dinosaurs. So the late dinosaurs, like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops were around when the first snakes evolved. A snakes diet would have been warm-blooded mammals and they could see whether potential prey was warm or cold blooded. As most or all dinosaurs were cold-blooded, it was very rare for a snake to make a meal out of them. Less than one-third of all snakes are venomous and fewer than may be fatal to humans.

Brahminy blind snakes are the smallest snakes in the world measuring two inches in length. The anaconda is probably the largest snake and can reach lengths of 38 feet. Snakes are found in many habitats including in the water, forests, deserts and prairies. Like most reptiles, snakes are ectotherms which means they must regulate their own body temperature. Snakes bask in the sun to warm themselves up and move to cooler locations to cool themselves down. Snakes hibernate during the winter months. While snake vision is unremarkable generally being best in arboreal species and worst in burrowing species , it is able to detect movement.

Some snakes, like the Asian vine snake, have binocular vision in which both eyes are used together. In most snakes, the lens moves back and forth within the eyeball to focus. In addition to their eyes, some snakes pit vipers, pythons and some boas have infrared-sensitive receptors in deep grooves between the nostril and eye which allow them to actually see radiated heat. Their sense of hearing is most sensitive to frequencies around — Hz.

The fork in the tongue gives the snake a sort of directional sense of smell. Red bellied black snake. Red-bellied blacks are active during the day and night, and are often found near swamps, lagoons, streams and wet forests of eastern Queensland. This species is generally shy and will only defend itself if cornered. The small-eyed snake maximum length 1.

Snakes are often attracted to yards and houses, when food and shelter are unknowingly provided by the human inhabitants. Brown snakes and taipans eat rodents and are attracted to garden or farm sheds to hunt rats and mice. Pythons regularly enter chicken pens and aviaries to prey on the occupants. They are also found in roof cavities hunting for rats and possums.

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Brown tree snakes are specialists at invading aviaries, often becoming trapped inside after they have eaten a bird. These snakes can also be found at night hunting for geckos around window sills in the home.

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Common tree snakes actively hunt frogs during the day and are often seen around the house and garden where frogs occur. Houses and yards can also be used by snakes for shelter.


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Carpet pythons are regularly found curled up in ceilings, enjoying the security and warmth. A variety of snake species is often encountered in places such as timber piles and under sheets of corrugated iron. You can take measures to reduce the attractiveness of your yard or house to snakes. If you have a rock wall or other structure that has the potential to house frogs and rats, and in turn attract snakes, discourage these animals by blocking holes.

Avoid creating habitat for snakes by keeping a tidy, well-maintained yard and shed. Actively discourage rats and mice, and snake-proof your aviaries and poultry pens. Ensure that the yard is tidy with shrubs and gardens kept away from the house.

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Snakes will shelter in houses, under shrubs and in timber stacks to avoid the hottest parts of the day. It is also important to ensure that food scraps are disposed of properly to discourage rats and mice as snakes are attracted to places where they can obtain food.

Bird owners should also discourage rodents by ensuring that aviaries are kept clean and hygienic and that the mesh is small enough to stop snakes entering. Blocking off as many potential access points as possible can significantly reduce the chance of snakes entering your house. Install screens on doors and windows. Block any holes around the house including those between the roof and ceiling. Extra care should be taken during summer when the snakes are most active. In areas that experience flooding, snakes will move to higher ground during a flood.

Take extra precautions at these times. If there is a chance that a snake could find its way into your home you should have the number of a commercial snake catcher on hand. Snakes found on your premises can be removed and relocated by snake catchers authorised under the Nature Conservation Act Contact details of local snake catchers can be obtained through the Yellow Pages or via the internet. It is important to remember that snakes are an important part of the environment and the relocated snake is often replaced by another living nearby.

The best approach is to snake-proof your house. It is important that you never try to kill the snake. Not only is it illegal to kill a native animal, but it places you at a higher risk of being bitten if you force the snake to defend itself. Close the internal doors in the house and open the external doors and windows. Block the gaps underneath internal doors with rolled up towels. Place chairs and boxes under windows to make it easier for snakes to climb out.

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Keep everyone well clear of the snake. If the snake is in a place away from electricity and valuable items, try directing a gentle jet of water from the garden hose or squirt bottle towards the snake to encourage it to move away. Remember that snakes on the move will naturally try to find shelter, so hosing the snake may not always work. Under no circumstances can you keep a snake that you have found in the wild.

All wildlife in Queensland is protected under the Nature Conservation Act It is an offence to keep wild animals, and fines and penalties may apply. If you want to keep a snake as a pet, you can legally acquire an animal that has been bred in captivity from an authorised reptile dealer. You will also need to obtain a wildlife licence from QPWS to keep the snake. Even if you have a wildlife permit, it cannot be used to take additional snakes from the wild. For more information about wildlife licences and permits visit Permit and Licence Management.

Back away to a safe distance and allow the snake to move away. Snakes often want to escape when disturbed. Remember, all native wildlife, including snakes, is protected. Do not try to handle the snake. Injured snakes are particularly aggressive. If this is a concern, it is important that steps are taken to minimise the chances of snakes being in your yard. See living with snakes for helpful advice. It is important that parents, teachers and childcare providers are aware of snakes and correct first aid in the event of a snake bite.

Setting a good example around wildlife is also something adults can do. If a child sees an adult kill a snake, they are more likely to show the same behaviour in a similar situation. It is important that children learn to respect snakes and are taught the correct way to behave around them. Most snakes have the potential to bite a human, but will generally only bite as a last resort.

Not all snake bites are harmful. Pythons do not have venom and colubrids rear-fanged snakes either have a weak venom or lack venom altogether. Bites from venomous elapids front-fanged snakes should be taken seriously and treated appropriately. It is impossible for venomous and non-venomous species of snake to interbreed. Even closely related species are extremely unlikely to interbreed in the wild. Snake skin is very smooth and soft, similar to supple leather. Snake skin is often thought to be slimy as the skin often has a shiny appearance.

Water pythons Liasis mackloti have a waxy layer protecting the scales, adding to their shiny appearance and the perception that they are slimy animals.

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Snake activity patterns change dramatically over the course of a year. Throughout the cool months, snakes and other reptiles are relatively inactive.

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Reptiles gain body warmth using external heat sources, either by basking in the sun or in warm places including rocks, near roads and even under the fridge! All aspects of a snake's life rely on this external heat to function, whether it is to feed, find a mate, fight off disease and infection, or even just to pump blood around its body. As a result, they are not very active during winter. Open to the public ; Online: Not available for loan Book English Show 0 more libraries This single location in New South Wales: Open to the public Book English Show 0 more libraries This single location in Queensland: This single location in Victoria: Book English Show 0 more libraries None of your libraries hold this item.

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Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles
Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles
Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles
Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles
Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles
Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles Living with Snakes and Other Reptiles

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