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Newsletter
No. 29
WELCOME TO OUR CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTER
I hope all of you have some time off with family, friends and pets this festive season. As this is our last mailing of 2015 I thought I would fill it with some great images that have been sent in to us this year, from wildlife at mine sites to those found overseas. Enjoy.

If you find yourself at a loose end, all alone or just don’t really enjoy the Christmas thing then why not contact Native Animal Rescue or a local wildlife care group.

They always need extra help as many people disappear on holiday or are tied up with children and family commitments at this time of year.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

David Manning, Animal Ark
WATERBEARS IN SPACE
Phylum: Tardigrada
Strange and tiny creatures Tardigrades are also called water bears or moss pigs. Known for surviving extremes they can be found on the highest mountains to deep seas and from poles to tropics; some 1,500 species are known worldwide. We have at least 161 species living amongst us in Australia. Some live near you – think local river, swamp or patch of mud, roof tile, stone wall and other niches - they prefer nice safe damp watery habitats such as on moss where many species are found.

They are very little creatures, the biggest ones are under 1mm long or smaller than this dot . They are noted for being quite cute looking under a microscope and phenomenally tough, living and even thriving under conditions that would normally finish off even the toughest living creatures. That’s partly why scientists study them. So they sent some into space to see how they cope. The study has confirmed them officially as the first animal species to survive in space. Google TARDIS FOTON – M3 for more info.

Tardigrade in moss. Photo Nicole Ottawa /  Oliver Meckes, Eye of Science, Science Source Images
  • Tardigardes have survived being boiled to +150°C or chilled to -272°C.
  • Give them no water or food for 10 years and they're still fine.
  • They have 8 legs (4 pairs), claws and one pair of eyes.
  • These so called water bears have been here longer than dinosaurs, some 530 million years according to (no doubt very small) fossils.
  • They often have sharp teeth to spear algae and other small organisms such as bacteria on which they feed.
  • Here is a guide to keeping one as a pet! No its not an April Fools joke – I don’t think http://www.wikihow.com/Find-and-Care-for-a-Pet-Tardigrade-(-Water-Bear-)
REPTILE REMOVALISTS WANTED
I need to update and add people to our Volunteer Reptile Removalist page http://www.animalark.com.au/emergency-snake-removal.

If you are a Regulation 17 licensed relocator and want to be included please send your name, mobile and list which suburbs you are willing to be called out to.

Reptile removalist catching a dugite snake
NUMBAT RUBBISH TIP DUMPED
An update on the planned rubbish tip in Cuballing shire - Councillors have just voted to accept a decision by the tips proponents to withdraw a development application. So the tip that was planned to be constructed near Dryandra woodland, the home of many endangered species such as the Numbat, will NOT now go ahead. Well done to the four person team Numbat Taskforce who started the campaign to protect the area. A great result for everyone concerned. Numbats, Dryandra. Photo Robert McLean
SOME CHRISTMAS IMAGES

KING COBRA (Ophiophagus hannah)

The longest venomous snake in the world up to 5m – a snake eating snake and just an all round awesome serpent. Not found in Australia this image from Chilean national Javier (pronounced havier) and taken in Bali.

King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). Photo Javier Perez de Arce

King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). Photo Javier Perez de Arce
Images © Javier Perez de Arce

KOMODO DRAGON (Varanus komodensis)

Largest lizard in the world at up to 2.6m long. Found on only 5 Lesser Sunda Islands islands in south eastern Indonesia - Komodo, Rinca, Gili montang, Padar and Flores. Images also from Javier Perez de Arce who obviously had a great trip.

Komodo dragon (Varanus komodensis). Photo Javier Perez de Arce

Komodo dragon (Varanus komodensis). Photo Javier Perez de Arce
Images © Javier Perez de Arce

WHITE LIPPED PIT VIPER (Trimeresurus insularis)

How beautiful is this? A moderately dangerous tree climbing viper.

White lipped pit viper (Trimeresurus insularis). Photo Javier Perez de Arce
Image © Javier Perez de Arce

VINE SNAKE (Ahuetella prasine)

A stunningly camouflaged slender snake that just hangs about and can glide through the leaves and branches at speed searching for lizards and other prey.

Vine snake (Ahuetella prasine). Photo Javier Perez de Arce
Image © Javier Perez de Arce

MALLEEFOWL (Leipoa ocellata)

This image from Forrestania Nickel Mine lands out in South Eastern Wheatbelt some 400km east of Perth.

Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) pair on nest. Photo Ashleigh Harris, Westerns Areas Forrestania

Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata). Photo Ashleigh Harris, Westerns Areas Forrestania
Images © Ashleigh Harris
Senior Environmental Advisor, Forrestania

LAKE CRONIN SNAKE (Paroplocephalus atriceps)

With a tiny distribution this small snake with a distinct black head is only around Lake Cronin in WA. A poorly studied, rarely kept species that apparently eats lizards and may climb.

Lake Cronin snake (Paroplocephalus atriceps). Photo Ashleigh Harris, Westerns Areas Forrestania
Image © Ashleigh Harris
Senior Environmental Advisor, Forrestania
ANIMAL IN FOCUS:
Woylie or Brush Tailed Bettong (Bettongia penicillata)
Here In Australia we like to give some creatures several names, so just as the Bob tail lizard may also be known as a stumpy lizard, sleepy, shingleback and even Pine cone lizard so it is with this month’s Animal in Focus the Woylie. Woylies are also known as the Brush-tailed Bettong, Woylie being the indigenous Nyoongar name.

The bottom line is this is an extremely rare creature. Once found over 60% of the country they now occur in less than 1% and remain a critically endangered species.

I have been lucky enough to meet an educational Woylie at Native Animal Rescue in Malaga and a delightful little creature it is - dense soft brown greyish fur with a distinctive black crest on the tail.

A miniature kangaroo - they are small at 30-38cm body length and weigh in at around 1.6kg. Unfortunately for them that’s just the size and weight that cats and foxes like to eat most.

Early last century they were considered an agricultural pest and millions were shot or trapped or taken for the fur trade. Now despite their great bounding speed the Woylies main threats in life are as ever our introduced predators. In south western WA just three remnant populations remain.

They forage at night digging around for fruiting bodies of fungi but also bulbs, tubers, seeds and insects.

Woylies can breed almost continuously when conditions are right. From 6 months of age females mature and can produce about 3 joeys a year. Usually a female has one pouched young and another little one hopping around with her.

Their tails are prehensile (able to grip) and used to transport leaves and twigs for a nest in which they rest up during the day. They can live for up to 6 years.

Woylie or Brush tail bettong (Bettongia penicillata). Photo Animal Ark / NAR

Juvenile woylie (Bettongia penicillata). Photo Sabrina Trocini, Conservation WA

Woylie or Brush tail bettong (Bettongia penicillata). Photo Animal Ark / NAR

Upcoming Courses and Events
Venomous Snake Handling Course
DPaW approved for Reptile Relocator's Regulation 17 Licence
Friday 8 January 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 5 February 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 4 March 2016 - Malaga, Perth
Friday 1 April 2016 - Malaga, Perth

Fauna Handling Course
Thursday 4 February 2016 - Malaga, Perth

Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs
Saturday 16 January 2016 - North Beach, Perth
Saturday 30 January 2016 - Guildford
Saturday 13 February 2016 - North Beach, Perth
Saturday 20 February 2016 - Bunbury

Public Events
Do come along and see us. Bring your family or friends as well.
The Animal Ark Roadshow will be attending the following events:

Sunday 13 March 2016
Ballajura Harmony Day
12noon – 4pm

Saturday 19 March 2016
Altone Comes Alive! Beechboro
11am – 4pm

See our diary for more dates or contact us to book.

Call (08) 9243 3044, SMS 0466 688 188 or email David or Jenny at info@animalark.com.au to book.

Courses held monthly and as required plus on-site and remote site training available.

   

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