Reptile encounters at Edgbaston Reserve

By Kathy Wager 
about  Edgbaston Reserve  
on 15 Jun 2016 
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Edgbaston Reserve is known for its endangered fish, plants and snails living in the artesian springs. It's also home to a variety of reptiles that make you stop what you're doing until they've moved along. In my recent visits to Edgbaston as a volunteer, I've had a couple of encounters with some pretty cool reptiles.

As a kid I was always told, “they are more scared of you than you are of them”. This is clearly not the case with these reptiles. They were more than happy to hang around while I got the camera then snapped away happily.

The shearing shed is the camping hub for researchers visiting Edgbaston Reserve. It's quite well set up with a kitchen area, a dining/work area, and a shipping container for storage. We had our camper set up inside the shearing shed to try to escape some of the summer heat. Seems the Sand Monitor decided that it would escape the heat as well, under the shipping container. That would explain the noises I heard during the night.

I had an encounter with a smaller sand monitor out near the springs. This one was quite friendly, and not in any hurry to get out of my way. It hung around for a while and posed for some photos, even showing its tongue.

I'm always worried about encountering snakes when out in the Australian Bush. When this little fella poked its head out of the spinifex, I thought it was a snake. It was a lot more difficult to photograph than the monitors as it kept to the spinifex and shadows. This Burton’s Legless Lizard shows one of the many colour variations across its range. One of the key factors to help identify a legless lizard is the shape of its tongue.

We were a little slow to get moving this particular morning. We had breakfast and were getting ready to go into the field. I wandered off to clean my teeth and spotted a rather large Black-headed Python headed towards the shearing shed. What I thought was most strange was that it had left the cover of the Mitchell Grass and was heading across an open clay pan straight towards the people.

When I got closer I discovered it had an injury. In doing some research I discovered the only known predators of Black-headed Pythons are humans and Dingoes. The males are known to occasionally have combat displays before breeding, sometimes biting each other. So did this python have a run in with a Dingo, a human, another snake, or did it just meet a sharp piece of fencing wire? Whatever it was, it still hadn't made him more scared of me, than I was of him!

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