Catching Wild Skinks (for photographing).

Discussion in 'Australian Lizards and Monitors' started by LizardMan29, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. LizardMan29

    LizardMan29 New Member

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    Hi Guys,

    This being my first post, it’s lovely to meet you all, hopefully I can gain countless herp knowledge from you guys and this forum in general. I’ve read over a thousand pages of reptile books so theirs nothing I don’t know concerning their biology etc........ however,

    When it comes to field Herpetology I am a baby. I so wish I could catch the beautiful
    Lizards that live here in the northern Perth suburbs. Their are national parks very
    Close to me, and most are banksia woodland, where a plethora or herpofauna exist.

    Also their are patches of native bush land all around me. And of course I make trips
    to other national parks as well. But yeah, i don’t know, so many skinks,
    How do i trap them humanely so I can Id them, photograph them, and let them go?

    Thanks guys.
    LizardMan29.
     
  2. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Oh, the questions I'd barrage you with if only that was true!

    Catching or touching them (or technically even photographing them) is illegal, generally no one is going to care and many people do it, few people will particularly care as long as you photograph them quickly and immediately release them without moving them, but trapping them is significantly illegal and also something you should never do unless you're highly trained and experienced. Even on some of the wildlife surveys I've been on (done under permit by professional biologists) there have been significant problems caused.
     
  3. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Active Member

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    Here's a suggestion of an approach that works (for me)
    1) locate the reptile you want a photograph of
    2) sit on the ground very quietly and still for a while , the reptile will eventually decide you are not a danger and come out , or will become curious enough to come close to check you out
    have a little tub of blowfly gents or mealworms handy , deposit some of these in a little petri-dish (make sure the reptile can see the wriggling insect) where you think you can get a good photo
    the lizard will be drawn out by these ( most are very opportunistic feeders )
    3) make sure you have zoom lens on the camera so you don't have interfer with the lizard to photograph it and can be far enough away from it to not frighten or even disturb it ( you'll get better photos )
    have camera set to rapid fire , you'll get lots of photos in a short time , some will be good.

    I'm not a fan of catching a reptile ( or flipping logs or rocks , disturbing their habitat / destroying their home ) to get a photo.

    Of cause my approach involves a good deal of patience , something many have in short supply.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  4. LizardMan29

    LizardMan29 New Member

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    Hi Sdjai,

    Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it. No offence, but I don’t believe that you need to be a professional biologist or ecologist to catch reptiles. If you know that they are their, then you can catch them, pit-trapping, I don’t know exactly the way the ‘professional’ methods are, but if you look at the museum specimens and how they where caught, the vast majority is by pit-trapping. I’m well aware of the wildlife laws in all Australian states. Cheers.
     
  5. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Pit trapping is ecologically destructive and arguably isn't justified in a lot of licensed studies. To do it just for amateur pictures is completely unjustified. If you do it anyway I won't be offended, I'll just see you as the environmental vandal you are. In most pit trapping studies I've seen first hand (licensed ones done for formal research through official institutions) a fair number of animals have died from it and there is always environmental disturbance. In all cases, the leader of the research says something like 'Oh, ****... well, let's not write that bit up...' so it goes undocumented. Whether or not this is justified anyway is up for debate and on the whole I'd say yes, but only where the research is important.

    Still, there's little anyone can do to stop you.
     
  6. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    I think that you may find that you will require a permit to trap or disturb lizards in WA. Here's a link to the WA Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2018 that it mightn't hurt to peruse, especially the section on licensing relating to Taking Native Fauna and Disturbing Native Fauna.

    Having been involved in quite a number of licensed surveys myself, I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with all of what Sdaji has said especially his comments regarding pit trapping.

    https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/l...Regulations 2018 - [00-00-00].pdf?OpenElement
     
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  7. LizardMan29

    LizardMan29 New Member

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    I’m not an environmental vandal. If you look at the map of WA you will see countless nature reserves and bush, I,m doing my photo id’ I’m my local dunes which will soon be destroyed to make way for human housing and commercialism.
     
  8. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    If you're doing it on habitat which will shortly be destroyed then sure, the harm you will do is completely inconsequential and I'd agree there's only a legal and not an ethical or ecological issue. It's definitely still completely illegal to use any method of trapping to catch reptiles without a permit. It sounds like you don't care and are already familiar with the methods, which begs the question of why you're asking.

    I am going to bluntly state that I don't for a moment believe you are being honest since you initially said national parks and native bushland and only later changed your story to areas about to be destroyed after being pulled up on related issues.

    Since by your own claims there is nothing you don't know concerning the biology of reptiles you should probably be educating us all. As a formally qualified biologist with a lifetime of interest in reptiles there is so much I don't know, perhaps you would be kind enough to answer some of my questions.
     
  9. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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  10. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Active Member

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    I'm not going to flame you , but I disagree with your method.
    if you have to capture (stress) the animal to get your photos , you are not capturing or observing their natural behavior and you not going about your nature photography in an ethical manner, the legalities not withstanding and habitat disturbance and destruction you are causing.

    A lot of which could be avoided for much better photos for the price of a tub of mealworms.
     
  11. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hey there. I photograph, film, and observe wild reptiles around my area purely as a hobby. Not once have I ever needed to catch or trap my subjects. Nor do I turn over logs or rocks to find them, although I did once wedge myself into a rock crevice so I could view whatever inhabitants sheltered within. Of course it was too dark to photograph them. But with my trusty torch I was able to see what species they were (King's Skinks and Motorbike Frogs), and I didn't even need to wrench them out of their home.

    All you need is a half decent camera, a torch, patience, perseverance, luck, and a reasonable understanding of the reptile species in your local area. Some days you'll turn up with nothing, and some days you'll see heaps of critters. More often than not, they're off into inaccessible areas before you even have the chance to take out your camera. Sometimes you have to sit stark still for hours and hours in the hot sun, being beset upon by pesky mosquitoes and troublesome march flies. In this particular instance, it was absolute torture, but oh so worth it in the end! And I haven't shared these photos publicly just yet, only between a few trusted friends (you know who you are ;)) but it was certainly one of my more exciting captures (photography wise), despite the hardships I had to endure in order to get them.

    Take the advice from the posts above. It's not worth trapping and capturing reptiles to identify and photograph purely for your own enjoyment. It's not even necessary. Not to mention the ethical issues and that it's illegal without a permit. You could risk injuring yourself or your subject.

    Here's some photos of identified species that I captured in photo form. All totally hands off.

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]King's Skink (Egernia kingii) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Juvenile Skink (Egernia kingii) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Western Three-lined Skink (Acritoscincus trilineatus) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr
     
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  12. LizardMan29

    LizardMan29 New Member

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    Hey man, thanks for that awesome advice and showcasing your work, I might pm you.

    Sdjai, I don’t claim to be the worlds best expert, all I said was Ive read that famous intro to herpetology book, a dozen or so open research papers, and yeah, reptilian DNA and chromosomes aare still something I need to study.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2019 at 4:18 AM

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