Northern Suburbs Branch October Excursion
The NSB’s visit to the WA Reptile Park at Henley Brook was arranged as a follow up to Gane Doyle Jnr’s very entertaining presentation, Reptiles, Up Close, at the branch’s July meeting. So it was very disappointing to have only four members turn up, although one other member did attempt to get there but got lost on the way.
The park was established and is still run by the Doyle family who have been long-time members and supporters of the Club.
The indoor section houses live specimens of most of WA’s snakes, both venomous and non-venomous. The Doyles do not breed their snakes but catch most of them in the wild. Some have been in captivity for many years.
We were able to have an “up close” experience with the same Ramsay’s Python—aka Woma—(Aspidites ramsayi) (above M. Kwok) that Gane brought to the July meeting. Unlike other pythons, the Woma has a narrow, pointed head. According to the Perth Zoo’s website ‘…there may be two separate types of Woma—the highly endangered ‘south-west’ Woma and a less threatened ‘’desert’’ Woma. Each has different environmental threats. Until a scientific confirmation is made of the two populations, all Womas will continue to be classified as endangered.’
The indoor exhibits also featured numerous lizards and goannas, including a large Gould’s Monitor (Varanus gouldii)(below, D. Poynton) with its characteristic cream-coloured tail tip.
In the indoor-outdoor pond we saw a number of turtles labelled Oblong Turtle (Chelodina oblonga). For many years the similar turtles found in northern and south-western Australia were believed to be a single species but in 2013, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature ruled that the name C. oblonga should be used for the Northern Snake-necked Turtle first collected by explorer George Grey in 1839 and described by John E Gray of the British Museum in 1841(below left, D. Poynton). The southern species, known as the Western Snaked-necked Turtle or Longed-necked Turtle, is now C. colliei.
Outside we were able to see both Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and Johnston’s Crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni).
Apart from reptiles, the park has a number of Australian animals: kangaroo, wallaby, Emu, a very sleepy Hairy-nosed Wombat (above D. Poynton) and a pair of Dingos, one of which commenced howling soon after Michele came within a few metres.
Although the visit to the park was ostensibly to view the reptiles and other fauna we were able to take a short GOLLY Walk, led by Gane Snr, through the bush at the rear of the Doyle’s 4.5ha property to view the last of the spring wildflowers. These included a tall pink stylidium, possibly Stylidium brunonianum, Dampiera sp. possibly Dampiera linearis, Summer Starflower (Calytrix flavescens)(below D. Poynton), Pixie Mops (Petrophile linearis), Purple Flag (Patersonia occidentalis), Catspaw (Anigozanthus humilis) and Cottonheads (Conostylis aculeata).