A study in contrast

The weather has warmed up and snakes are on the move. Here on Bundjalung Country, late July and August are called ‘Coming Out Season‘:

Getting dryer and can be strong winds, first hint of northerly winds. Birds starting to sing and build nests. Turtles and echidnas start moving around and are fat. Old people say don’t eat the first echidna after winter. Coastal acacia peak flowering, some heaths begin flowering. Banksias still flowering, river red gum peak flowering. Grey mangrove mass ripe fruit.

We’ve had our first echidna sighting and it looked pretty fat already, but it will get fatter.

On the roof, a young carpet python (Morelia spilota) was exploring.

A friend sent the photo below of another python (who she calls Skinnyfang) exploring at her place last week – you can clearly see the pit organs on the lower jaw. These organs detect infrared radiation (heat) from the bodies of possums, birds and rodents and other warm-blooded prey. The snake ambushes the prey, throws its body in coils around it and suffocates it before swallowing it down.

Carpet pythons are not venomous but a bite would be painful, and a tetanus shot is recommended if you are bitten. You don’t know where that mouth has been!

Spring may be the season of renewal, but not everything survives. The freshly dead body of this rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) allowed me to have a close-up look at its beautiful colours.

Such a contrast in colours and patterns, and both beautiful in their own way.

2 thoughts on “A study in contrast

  1. Beautiful pythons – will your one move into the roof do you think to replace the old big boy and keep the rodent population down?

    The late lamented leopard toad was a very large ad probably quite old one who may have been doing their sort of semi-hibernation and then come to the surface as it is mating month. In August teams of volunteers called Toadnuts go out on moonlit night or damp nights at known crossing places (the toads go to ancestral breeding ponds, like salmon, and the face of a new main road never stopped them trying) and shepherd the eager batrachians across. Very beautiful and somewhat endangered, so sad to find a dead one.

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