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Scaley Tales


Sean Becker

A day spent with lizards & co.

This morning was spent with Mark Hutchinson, an expert in the field of Herpetology (reptiles & amphibians). We assisted him in collecting from and packing up several funnel traps (very similar to a crab net, but green and with a small wet sponge inside to keep any caught critters cool).

The highlight of our finds was two Northern Spiny-Tailed Geckos (Strophurus ciliaris) with beautiful yellow and black spines running down the tail. A unique characteristic of these geckos is their ability to squirt a viscous fluid from glands deep within their tail as a defensive mechanism. Also caught was a Fat Toadlet (Uperoleia crassa) – the species name (crassa) being Latin for fatty.

After we had finishing packing down each site, we returned to base. It is fortunate that we did, as a Greater Black Whipsnake (Demansia papuensis) had made its home near the lab. Mark was then able to put his snake handling skills to good use and “Homer” (as we named him) was released into the bushland nearby.

Soon after, we were graced with a team of scientists who brought a collection of interesting reptiles with them. Most amazing of all was a Rough-Scaled Python (Morelia carinata), dubbed the rarest python in Australia. Another amazing find (amongst many others) was a Fringe-toed Velvet Gecko (Oedura filicipoda) minus a tail.

After dinner, Mark and Jeremy led us on a spider hunt through the bushland near a base. Mark had us peeling bark in search of pseudo-scorpions and Jeremy had hunting for Australian Tarantula burrows. Just your usual post dinner activities.

Looking forward to another day on Wulinggin Country :)