Snake in the Grass

Not quite grass to be honest but in the house that’s for sure.

I am a little bit scared, ok maybe terrified of no few of the creatures that I live alongside in the outback, spiders being the main and biggest fear and I always feel quite pleased to live in a house which the spiders love. I do hate it when I walk across the drive way and face first through a spiders web that is not one of my fave things to do and I have visions of a spider getting stuck to my face.

I digress though! Last night we got home about 11pm and as I went to shut the front door I noticed that there was a snake sat in the screen of the door frame. It was quite lucky as the screen is on a spring and I often forget it slams shut quite hard and let it go.

The Aussie’s brother set to work setting it free and identified it as a children’s python. We had one of these on the back door of the house earlier in the year and their quite pretty.

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Luckily I’m not afraid of snakes and these ones aren’t poisonous though I’m not keen on the wild ones and still don’t fancy a bite from one so after a quick photo I wished him well and said bye bye snake!

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The Gecko Games

The Winter Olympics have just finished and it seems that our Geckos are coming out to play! Of course that might be helped by the break in the rain but it’s lovely to see them running around the walls (inside and out of course) catching their dinner.

House visitor

I took that picture on my last trip to Australia. I have found it to be quite tricky to get a photo of a Gecko as their quite fast moving and if you get to close they, understandably, run away! I just found this picture on the laptop though of one of the different species of Geckos who visit out house.

On the ummmm Kitchen Table!
photo 2

A few days ago we noticed that one of the Geckos was chasing the little mouse pointer as it moved around the computer screen but I didn’t manage to get a video. This morning it did the same again on the Aussie’s computer so I whipped out my phone to take a video which you can watch here.

I did a bit of research about Gecko’s (aka a Google search) and this is what I learnt from the Queensland Museum.

Australian geckos belong to the families Diplodactylidae, Carphodactylidae and Gekkonidae. Geckos are easily recognised, being mostly nocturnal with soft bodies and tiny granular scales. They have well-developed limbs with five digits, large eyes with vertical pupils, no eyelids, and broad fleshy tongues. In the absence of eyelids, the tongue is used to lick the eye clean (charming).

Climbing the Wall – They seem to like being upside down
I Come from the Land Down Under

The diversity in Australian geckos is remarkable. There are boldly patterned species (for example, Oedura marmorata and Strophurus taenicauda), drab species (for example, Gehyra dubia and Heteronotia binoei) and some, like the leaf-tailed geckos (Orraya occultus, Phyllurus spp., Saltuarius spp.), with cryptic patterns and broken outlines that blend perfectly with their backgrounds. Some are smooth and others are covered with small, raised tubercules.

We have also found that when under threat from animals such as birds (or a wayward door) that they will drop their tail and then slowly grow a new one. We’ve had one who did that since I’ve been here and it was really cool watching the tail grow back and also to see just how quickly it did it.

Gecko with a hint of tail growing back
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Special Deliveries

With the rain dying down at last (yay finally) the water in the puddles are going down and the land is drying up.

The Aussie was sorting out the water at the boar this afternoon and when he came back in he asked if I had seen the puddle behind one of the cars. I’d seen it had gone down earlier but he suggested I go take a look.

When I got there it looked like there were rain drops falling in to the puddle but when I looked closer I saw that there are lots and lots of tadpoles swimming around and having a generally good time in the puddle!.

Keep on Swimming

They looked pretty cute seeing as they are tadpoles and some looked quite developed so they’ve obviously been living in the puddle for a while now.

Tadpole Party

The only problem is that we have both Green Tree Frogs and Cane Toads living around the house and we’re not sure which they are.

Tree Frog or Cane Toad?

Green Tree Frogs
frog
Photo from the Australian Museum

Wikipedia explains that the green tree frog is larger than most Australian frogs, reaching 10 cm in length. Green tree frogs are docile and well suited to living near human dwellings. They are often found on windows or inside houses, eating insects drawn by the light. The green tree frog screams when it is in danger to scare off its foe, and squeaks when it is touched.

I also found that when one visited us recently, that they pee or spray you when you get too close and when its mating season (which might explain the tadpoles) they are so so noisy its like an alarm clock that won’t stop.

Here is one I found at the house a few weekends ago
Are you looking at me!?!

Cane Toads
cane toad
Image from Kimberley Toad Busters

Again back to Wikipedia who explains that the cane toad is an invasive species in Australia. Their size may vary from 15–23 cm.and their skin is warty. The coloration on their back and sides may vary from olive-brown or reddish-brown, gray, and yellow while their bellies are semi-yellow or semi-white with darker mottling. Their body is round and flat, has prominent corneal crests, and light middorsal stripes. They produce a milky toxic secretion or poison that is dangerous to many species of animals.

So as you can see Cane Toads are not such a good thing and are actually quite bad for the local creatures who would probably die if they tried to eat one. They also sit in the roads most nights making driving down in the dark quite gross as you try and dodge them (even though you know they shouldn’t be in Australia it still makes you feel bad for them because its also not their fault they jump up at the car as you go past making the most disgusting sound ever.

Fingers crossed its the very cute green tree frog rather than the Cane Toad living in our puddle.

Here’s a little vidoe I took when I visited Darwin last time sat on my towel!

Outback Creatures – Alex the Bandicoot

Whilst I am in Australia my gorgeous dog Henry is in the UK being looked after by my Mum and Dad.

Here is Henry
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I miss him lots and whilst he will never make up for it, we have kind of semi adopted a Bandicoot who we have called Alex (no reason why the name was chosen by the Aussie).

A Bandicoot is, according to wikipedia, one of a group of about 20 species of small to medium-sized, terrestrial marsupial omnivores in the order Peramelemorphia. They are endemic to Australia. Yeah I don’t really understand that either!

However there is also a good description information page here.

This is Alex
Alex the Bandicoot

Alex has been visiting the house pretty much every day since I arrived. Sometimes just turning on the BBQ to cook dinner (we only have a BBQ and no kitchen but I will discuss that later) would result in a rustle of the grass as he came to say hello. We found his favourite food is sausages but he is also partial to a bit of chicken or dog biscuits.

One night the Aussie put some dog biscuits one one of those throwaway plates and from then on wherever we left the plate with food he would find it and rustling the plate meant he would almost always come and say hi. The Aussie even managed to feed him by hand a few times and he would just about let you touch him if you were slow and gentle.

He wasn’t a fan of other Bandicoots, understandably as they would go for his plate, and a few times we had an altercation when one of the younger Bandicoots tried and failed to claim his territory.

Alex became a regular around the house but unfortunately a cat wandered around the house one night when we were eating (god knows where the cat came from or how it survived with all of the snakes and cane toads and things) and Alex disappeared for weeks and weeks.

However last night when we were sitting down for dinner the Aussie spotted him in the garden which was so nice and I could hear him romping through the grass. We had one of those pre-cooked chickens from the supermarket and whilst eating we heard Alex not only stealing the bag but also trying his best to get in to the bag to eat the leftovers. He made a swift exit when the Aussie went to retrieve the bag and has been happily and very noisily been enjoying the spoils of his theft! This is something Henry would definitely do if the opportunity presented itself!

Alex 2

Hopefully Alex is back for good now as we have really missed him 🙂

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