The Food Chain can be Cruel

We are one of many communities that got an amazing light and thunder show and a decent storm last night (Tue 20th January), with a lot of rain getting dumped here. I guess that was part of the reason we had not One, but Two Brown Tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) visit us tonight.
The Brown Tree snake is a mildly venomous, rear fanged snake. They are nocturnal , sometimes called ‘Night Tigers’ because of the colour and banding that is often seen on these snakes. They grow on average to 1.4 metres, but can reach 2 metres. Apparently, some were accidentally released on the island, Guam and have become a serious threat to the native wildlife because they can reach 3 metres long over there.

Before I show you the snakes, I promised I would post a photo of a Pied Imperial Pigeon (Torres Strait Pigeon) that has been cautiously hanging around. They are very shy and skittish birds considering their size.

This Pied Imperial Pigeon was extremely shy

This Pied Imperial Pigeon was extremely shy

OK, onto the snakes. This first pic is of the metre long Brown Tree snake that had slid by Jack the dog while he was sleeping, and most likely under my feet before Norm saw it. It headed along the wall toward my room, so I headed it off at my door and gently coaxed it toward the yard with a long rake. I was very gentle with it, just guiding it with the wide headed rake away from the house wall.

We noticed this snake, then Norm pointed to the one in the rafters.

We noticed this snake, then Norm pointed to the one in the rafters.

Norm had noticed what he had at first thought was some loose electrical cable on the rafter between the front area and the back room; basically between the kitchen and lounge room in a normal house. It is only about 40 or 50cm.

We saw this little one stalking the rafters

We saw this little one stalking the rafters

Just after these photos were taken, we had a power outage that lasted about 20 minutes. When the lights came back on, this snake had headed off through the beams toward the outside courtyard area. Norm noticed it when he was in the kitchen, the light reflecting off its skin as it  hung, half coiled over the rafter. Then we noticed something in its mouth…
Unfortunately, one of the Geckos was in the wrong place at the wrong time during the blackout.
I captured this series of images as the snake swallowed its prey as it slowly died. Norm was horrified. I was enthralled. Science, nature and all that stuff. Last week a Black Butcher bird got a snake:

Black Butcher Bird and a Green tree Snake. The bird won.

Black Butcher Bird and a Green tree Snake. The bird won.

Tonight we see a snake reduce our gecko poo levels :). It took less than 4 minutes for this snake to go from the first image, to the last.

This was just after the snake had stalked the gecko

This was just after the snake had stalked the gecko

It didn't take long for the snake to begin swallowing the gecko

It didn’t take long for the snake to begin swallowing the gecko

If you look toward the back of the snake's mouth, you might be able to see where the fangs are located

If you look toward the back of the snake’s mouth, you might be able to see where the fangs are located

Nearly done

Nearly done

The Gecko is gone, but you can see its shape along the snakes belly.

The Gecko is gone, but you can see its shape along the snakes belly.

After the Brown Tree snake had swallowed the gecko completely, it turned and headed back up toward the roof. It seemed pretty sated, so will probably chill for a day or so. They hang out somewhere close, in the roof in Winter to catch the corrugated iron’s warmth I suspect.

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4 thoughts on “The Food Chain can be Cruel

  1. Lots of people in Brisbane complain about Geckos (introduced species from asia) and their poo, but I’m not sure how they’d feel about keeping a snake handy as a control option.
    Mind you, a few larger snakes might keep the possum (and small yappy dog) population down, too. Melbourne could use a few for that purpose, but it’s not consistently warm throughout the year, here. Oh well.

    Like

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