Monday, October 06, 2014

A Welcome Reptile Visitor

With spring here and the weather warming up, the reptiles of the area are coming out of hibernation and are starting to move about.
The unwelcome are the red bellied black snakes and to a lessor extent the monitor lizards (goannas), some up to 2m long.
But it's nice to see the small geckos and copper tails scurrying around and helping keep the insect population under control.
We have seen few blue tongues sunning themselves after emerging from their burrows which have been quite prevalent in the vineyards this year.

Blue-tongued lizards are the largest members of the skink family. They grow to about 60cm (2 ft) in length.
They are very slow moving and feed on a variety of plants as well as snails and beetles.
When threatened, blue-tongues open their mouth wide and stick out their broad blue tongue. This display, together with the large size of the head is meant to frighten off predators. They also hiss and flatten out the body to making themselves look bigger. A frightened blue-tongue may bite if it is picked up. The bite can be painful, break the skin and leave a bruise but there is no venom, so not that dangerous. As kids we used to keep them as pets.
Their natural predators are large predatory birds eg. Kookaburras and large snakes. Unfortunately introduced species like feral and domestic cats and dogs are also a danger. They will eat snails and slugs poisoned by snail baits and can be poisoned themselves and are no match for domestic lawn mowers.
We will be keeping an eye out for their well being in future when working around the place.

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