We have climbed the ladder up to the middle of the year and now it’s time to slide down to the other end.
Snakes have come up a few times in the past week, so this week is dedicated to them.
Unfairly maligned, they are creatures of great wonder.
Imagine being able to eat, mate and climb with no arms or legs. No wonder they can be armed to the teeth…so to speak.
The fear they instill in some humans, is also evident in the animal world. Sometimes people can use this to their advantage, like using cucumbers ‘snakes’ to scare unsuspecting cats on YouTube…
…or using rubber snakes to scare away birds from veggie patches.
The first seems pretty effective, I’m not so sure about the second.
I tried it to stop birds from flying into our window, but neither this or cd’s helped.
If you want to stop birds from flying into your windows, go to a cheap shop and buy static cling L or P stickers for learner drivers…any colour is fine…cut out small shapes of your choice and stick randomly over the window with gaps of about 45cm between them. You won’t even notice them there after a couple of days.
I made love hearts about 1 inch x 1 inch. It’s easy to make them even by folding the edge of the sticker over and then you can cut out both halves at once to make them even and quick.
The difference between how animals and humans respond to snakes is why I wanted to write about them today. Most animals avoid them. Too many humans kill them.
I was speaking to an ‘animal lover’ last week who was cheerfully justifying his killing of snakes. That night, while reading about euthanasia for a different type of animal, we came across a section on reptiles. What I read made me very, very sad and I would like more people to be aware of this fact…
When you decapitate a warm blooded animal, unconsciousness and brain death follows very rapidly and any movement after a short space of time can be attributed to nerves.
When you decapitate a cold blooded animal, full consciousness and brain life persist…for up to an hour.
The article the extract below is taken from is titled “Decapitation of Reptiles: Inhumane for Euthanasia”.
“Some of the many ways in which reptiles are “killed” are mentioned later on but one method which is quite commonly used is decapitation. Generally speaking, in mammals and birds, for example, quickly severing the head from the rest of the body may cause immediate or near immediate loss of consciousness and a very rapid death. It might not be describable as ‘humane’ but the period of post-severance life in the head is almost certainly short. Although meaning certain death, decapitation is certainly not a rapid or humane way of killing reptiles. As hard to believe as it seems, the heads cut from reptiles live on well after the horrific event of decapitation itself. It is not a case of “nerves causing the head to move unconsciously” as most people think. The heads, and parts of the neck if still attached, are alive and some may attempt to bite objects which approach; the eyes may follow movement and the pupils contract and dilate in response to light and dark; they can blink and in the case of snakes and lizards, flick out and in their tongues to test the air for scent and even move slightly if enough of their neck is left.
“With what movement they can manage they often writhe in agony from the massive severance of tissue. They are virtually helpless, frightened and going to die. If it seems too inconceivable to be true, then think of it as being a case of animals which have had most of their bodies cut away. One might think that suffering of this kind could not be endured for long. If only that were true. Unfortunately, a problem associated with the reptilian metabolism’s ability to operate at relatively low oxygen and low blood pressure levels is that nerve tissue is, to put it simply, very tough. Therefore, the nervous system, which of course includes the brain, can function away from the rest of the body for some time. In fact, the activities of decapitated heads mentioned earlier have been recorded as present for around an hour or so. If reptiles are to be killed by physical means (rather than by, say, an injected overdose of an anesthetic), then it has to involve complete and rapid destruction of the brain; otherwise they are very likely to suffer enormously and for a long time before dying.”
So please don’t do it!
If you haven’t seen them before, you probably won’t see them there again. They don’t like humans or our pets much at all. If they do persist and it bothers you, try removing any junk you have lying around that may be harbour for them and the rats and mice they feed on.
If that doesn’t work, and you’re willing to pay $50+ you can call a snake rescuer, to try and ensure the safe and humane removal of snakes. Here is a link for Victoria.
(Well mostly safe,as I was writing this I found an article about a snake handler is Kerala. Why they didn’t leave the poor thing alone once it had disappeared underground is beyond me.)
Fortunately the next story had a happy ending, although the resident rats might disagree…Monty is now thriving in a sewerage treatment plant.
Oh and please don’t buy ANYTHING made from real snake skin…I have heard that often they are skinned alive. Same goes for eels served as cuisine.
I wish you and all the lovely reptiles all the best for the second half of the old year and the first half of the new financial year.
Who knows what surprises will be in store for us, since the result of Brexit showed that apparently no one can predict the future!*
ps I’m having trouble finding any reptile charity I am comfortable supporting this week…it seems that a lot of snake removers charge for their services, make money from displaying them, or don’t show the conditions that the ones they are rehabilitating are living in.
Most other wildlife rescuers get/ask nothing for their services… I wonder why those who deal in the cold blooded are generally so, …well…
Which reminds me to mention this:
Donations to Wildlife Victoria do not go to the frontline rescuers at all, only to the office itself. If you want to assist the volunteers who arrive at callouts to animals, it is best to donate to them directly. They are giving up their own time out of compassion, while also paying for their own petrol, medicines, and often, sadly, bullets.
Surprise!…It was to me too
Yes, of Steve Irwin fame. I’m not a fan of zoos, but I just remembered someone mentioned visiting their rescue facility recently and how impressed they were with it. After visitng their site and seeing they attend call outs from the public for free I think they definitely deserve credit (and a direct debit) for this.
About the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit
Australian Wildlife Hospital 24-hour emergency hotline
Phone: 1300 369 652
From koalas to Green Sea turtles, the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit is dedicated to rescuing all wildlife in need. From Brisbane to Kilcoy and beyond the team travels far and wide with a proven catch and release program in place – their aim is to successfully rescue, rehabilitate and release. The team works closely with Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors – Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to ensure each animal receives the best possible care.
The Australia Zoo Rescue Unit provides a free service to the community to rescue sick and injured wildlife and get them to the best possible veterinary treatment, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. The team are highly skilled and trained to rescue everything from road accident victims to marine animal strandings (including everything in between) and they do it all seven days a week!
A variety of specialised gear is required in any given animal emergency and theirs includes Australia Zoo Rescue vehicles decked out with a range of rescue equipment and access to watercraft for local marine rescues.
The team receive an average of 500 calls per month with most of those located in the Greater Sunshine Coast Region. The best part of the job is getting the call from the vet that the animal has recovered in their care and ready to be released back to the wild – that’s why we love what we do!
Any contributions to rescue team provide essential rescue equipment to ensure that we can provide the best service possible to the animals.
A contribution of $50 will provide the Rescue Unit with:
- 2 Vials of Anaesthetic drugs to anesthetise Kangaroos and Wallabies to enable their safe and pain free transportation to the AWH.
- 2 Koala poles to enable safe and stress free capture of Koalas in trees that may be suffering from illnesses or injury.
- Large snake and Goanna bags for safe capture and transport of reptiles
- 2 small carry cages for transport of flying foxes, birds and small mammals that are sick or injured.
- An emergency rescue pack – Torches, Binoculars, Bandages, and Pliers (to remove animals from Barbed wire)
- Animal Rescue First Aid Kit – Containing all the essential first aid equipment to stabilise our patients before transport to AWH!
*Now the vote has been decided, interpretations of Baba Vanga the ‘blind mystic’s’ prediction of Europe turning into a lifeless wasteland appear on Google now with claims from supporters that this is proof she had foreseen Brexit.
It sounds plausible if you overlook the fact that it was apparently a nuclear World War III, raging from 2010-2016, that she predicted as decimating Europe, rather than the democratic vote of one nation.
Mind you we still have six months left…let’s hope she’s wrong!