Stories and photos of my Life in the South West

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Different Reptiles in our Jarrah Forest

The above three photo's are Dugites. If you look at the first photo you can see that he has not long swallowed whatever. They will prey on the Bobtail Goanna, rats and mice also birds and the many variety of lizards we have.

The second photo, I think is also a Dugite, but the head seems a bit different to the Dugites I know. So for all you snake lovers out there, who maybe know better, you could leave a comment in the guest book.

 If you look closely at the photo above, in the foreground you will see some little animal, like a rat or maybe a vascedale or whatever, has scratched out a hole, looking for water. You can also see bee's getting moisture out of the mud. It's February and the water in the creek has not long dried up. Whatever this little animal was, there's a chance he's no longer with us.

If you look into the background at the base of the rock in the middle and run your eye's up to the log, you will see the reason. 

 This photo is a close-up of the previous photo, a Carpet Snake and he's laying in wait for whatever little animal dug that hole. You can see he's shaped his body like an S, which allows him to strike and reach the base of the rock at ground level. Also you can see the log is quite smooth, no doubt from the scales on his body when he was positioning himself and tells us he's done this many times in the past. He is a non- venomous snake.

 The photo above shows another Carpet Snake crossing a gravel road. They are very docile and slow moving and they will fall victim to cars. My son Brett is in the background and you can see the snake shows no interest in him.

This photo shows the Carpet Snake is comfortable moving around in small shrubs and trees. The next photo shows he's getting annoyed and has positioned himself with the S shape and he is telling me he will strike if I come any closer.  

Tiger Snake

The photo above shows a Tiger Snake, laying in wait for maybe a lizard or bird that might use this rock for a vantage point to look around. I think he's the most venomous snake in the Jarrah forest.

The next photo shows you him charging his batteries by flattening the full length of his body, to capture the maximum of the sun. Either early in the day or when the weather's cooler.

Also this Tiger Snake is sunning himself but has only flared the head. He's in exceptionally good condition because he was living near the river and food would have been plentiful. Where as in  the first photo of the Tiger Snake you can see he's in poor condition.This photo shows you a Tiger Snake and  he's as comfortable in water as he is on land. I've seen many Tiger Snakes in the times I've spent fishing on the river also swamps, while I was hunting.

I witnessed this one day, when I was following a Tiger Snake with my camera. I was maybe 4 or 5ft behind it. I was more-so following the movement of the grass and small bushes as I couldn't see him. When the movement stopped, I stood there thinking I'd missed my chance at a photo.

When all of a sudden he came up through the bushes and I watched him flatten the length of his body also he kinked his body so it faced the sun and it looked like he was balancing on the flat edge.

The next photo shows the Tiger Snake from the previous photo 30 seconds later and it does not look to be the same snake. Not only can they flatten their entire body, they can also puff it up like a bike tube. I watched him do this when he realized I was there. I believe he done this to avoid detection, then he drifted away without movement.  

Closeup of a Race-horse

The photo above shows his powerful legs and claws and they can scratch out a hole in the hardest of ground.The photo above shows a damaged Race-horse, he's more than likely been hit by a car, but like you can see he's had no trouble digging a hole. Also when he decided to go it seemed to have little effect on his running.This photo shows another Race-horse at his den.

Race-Horse Goannas

The above photo shows a Race-horse Goanna swallowing a Tiger Snake. I watched him pick the snake up from the middle of the body and violently shake it  trying to break it's back. He also had his big claws from his front leg on the snake and was jerking backwards again I think trying to break his back. Then I watched him drag it over to a big rock, where he kept throwing his head down on the rock which was helping him to swallow the snake as the next photo shows. 

 

Lizards in our Jarrah Forest of our SW

This is a close-up of the Bearded Dragon and when you have a good look at the toes, it makes you wonder what purpose they serve.  Maybe some of you lizard lovers can let me know in the guest book. I'd like to know. 

The next photo shows you a different type of lizard, his toes are different to the Bearded Dragon, but just as confusing as to what purpose they serve. I remember sitting on a log one day and I watched one of these bob his head up from a split in the log. It was at the time of year that the Marsh flies were bad. I pulled the wing off one and threw it to him. I could have passed it, he was only two feet from me. He grabbed it instantly and disappeared.

A couple of minutes later he came back out and looked at me as if to say have you got any more. I passed another one, but this time he stayed and I watched him swallow it. Then he swallowed another five without moving.

Another time I was sitting on a big log over a creek. I was catching minnows, which are little fish I use as live bait for the Red-fin Perch. I was using a stick about 5 or 6 ft long and a length of cotton the same size as the stick, a bent sewing pin for a hook. I had an esky of water on the left side of me and a tin of worms on the right hand side.

I'd put a bit of worm on the bent pin and pull a minnow up, lower him into the esky and most times they would drop off themselves, because there's no barb on the pin. When I turned to grab a worm out of the tin, there's about a 7 or 8inch wood lizard and I watched him grab a big worm and run down the log with it. A couple of minutes later he was back again, he done this 5 or 6 times, it all took place within arms reach. 

This photo shows you a close-up of a Bearded Dragon swallowing a grasshopper.

I was driving along a bush track through the Jarrah forest, when I saw something leap up in front of my car about 2 or 3 ft into the air and when I got out to check what it was. I saw what the photo shows you.

The next photo shows you the type of grasshopper he had. 

The photo below shows how aggressive the wood lizard is, he can make a meal of the centipede. This battle took 7 mins and I watched it all unfold from about 3ft to maybe 6ft. As I was watching it the lizard wasn't too sure about me and he jumped from the log to the ground which was about 3ft.

The next photo shows you the centipede wrapped around his head.

  I was a bit unlucky with  the photo below. If you look into the shadow, you can see the lizards head and a little bit of the centipede left.

The photo below shows the lizard after he came out from the shadow and he had swallowed the centipede. You can see how fat he looks also you can see the marks where the centipede had bit him, on his right side also the toes on his back left foot and front right are quite red.

When he first ran from the ground and up the side of the stump, I watched him position himself upside down, so the centipede would be dangling down from him and preventing it's legs hanging on to the side of his body, like the first photo. I watched it disappear to the last little bit when he ducked into the shadow.

 

 

Bobtail Goannas

This photo shows you why the Bobtail gets the nickname Blue-tongue and I always think of my mate Bobby Carroll.  He had a saying when we were hunting and the day was warming up, Bobby would say I'm blue-tongueing and we would head for the nearest hotel. But I will tell you more about that further down the track, for now I will stay with the reptiles.

I remember one time pulling up at a house that was on three acres and when I hopped out of the car, I said to the wife, there's two big mushrooms on the ground and I will pick them for my dinner later, but when I returned something else had the same idea as you can see in the next photo. There's some myths about the Bob-tail that the old people used to tell their kids. They would say that if the Bob-tail bites you, he would not let go until after dark, also the sores from the bite would return every year. They said this knowing the Bob-tail has no defence and it would maybe deter the kids from teasing them also they would say the Bob-tail kills snakes. (But it's the other way around). 

This photo shows you a pair of Bob-tails. A lot of them fall victim to snakes. I remember one time, I was working in the Shire Council and the boss said this day. I've got a job for you and Derek (Watts). Who  I grew up with  if you check  the story Rivers From the Past. Our job was to build picnic tables and chairs on the bank of the Bucks River at the School Pool, which is about 20klms east of town.

When the boss returned to pick us up at the end of the day, he said to me " I've just seen something I don't  think you would have seen in the bush". He told me he was following one of the mine buses and he watched it run over a big snake and the pressure caused two blue-tongue goannas to burst out half way along the snakes body. He pulled up and showed us on the way home.

The bosses name was Reg Magill. I don't believe there was a better boss or more honest man and I would take his word before anybody elses in the Shire. I hope Collie people read this and think back to the late 60's early 70's. 

Another Dugite

The photo above shows you a dugite and you can see he's swallowed something. When I first saw him his head was maybe 6 inches off the ground and his mouth was unusually open. I suppose it was because he dislocated his jaw or whatever they do to allow themselves to swallow something. I'm not too sure if this is right but you can see his bottom jaw is white and maybe it's from dislocating the jaw preventing the blood getting to it.

Over the years and growing up like I have hunting the bush and fishing all our rivers I've had many experiences with snakes. I remember an incident one time when I was maybe 12 or 13 and I decided to go out the river chasing marron. So I called into a friends place  who was the same age, his nickname was Scrubber. There was another young fella at his place maybe two years younger than us, he asked if he could come with us and we said he could.

I can't remember if we had our bikes or we walked. It was about 3 or 4 klms out to the river, dad mustn't have had dog meat hanging in the shed, because we had a paper bag full of pollard for bait. We'd been on the river maybe 3 or 4 hours, we had a hessian bag half full of big marron. We'd go around the baits maybe every half an hour. While we were waiting there was a swing hanging out of a tree and we'd put our time in swinging out and diving into the water.

The marron were going a bit quiet and it was time to head home. We decided to leave the hessian bag which was tied to a piece of rope and submerged in the river, while we done our baits for the last time, halfway along the baits we cant handle the marron, so I said to the young fella, you go back and get the bag which was maybe 30-40yrds.

We could see him from where we were when he got to the bag. I heard a bit of a splash on the opposite side of the river and when I looked I could see what I thought was maybe a water-rat with his head sticking out of the water swimming towards the young fella, as it got closer I said to Scrubber "it's a snake". I know now it wouldn't have been but we thought at the time being young, it was going after our friend.

When I got too where it was coming out of the water. All I had was the snare stick, which was about 5ft long and a bit thicker than your thumb. I missed the first shot at his head, he tried to rear up but he had gone under a root of a tree which prevented him from rearing.(I think the next 50 swings hit his head), Pretty happy with the result, half a bag of big marron and a big snake which we put in with the marron.

I remembered we were knackered by the time we got too Scrubbers place. His sister Bev seen us and asked if she could have a look at what we had, I said "yes you can", I opened the hessian bag and she put her head in, I can still hear the screams as she disappeared and the slamming of the door, Scrubber and myself thought it was a great joke and decided to have a bit more fun with it.

We got one of his fathers fishing lines, put the hook in the snakes lip and we put him out on the road curled up, then we got behind his big wooden fence and waited for our first victim who was an oldish lady who lived up the road. I can still see her when she came around the corner in her car and we started to pull the snake with the fishing line. We were watching this through the crack in the fence not 30ft. We could see the expressions on her face as she accelerated, up the road and gone. You'd have thought she would have reported a snake in a populated area, but she didn't.

So we places the snake in the same position and wait for the next one, again it was neighbours, the man was driving and his wife was in the passenger seat, there was a squeal of brakes, she's screaming snake, he jumps out the car and we're watching it all through the crack in the fence. He's running around trying to find something to hit the snake, that's when me and Scrubber realized we were in trouble. Now he's right on us, we stood up and I remember stuttering trying to tell him it was on a fishing line, I can't remember what he was calling us as he was walking back to his car, but the worst was to come. No doubt he told her and she came out of that car abusing us and also saying "I will report you's to the police".( Boy's will be boy's).  

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