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Rescue Help

Cain04

Not so new Member
Good morning you legends,

Just need a bit of help and maybe a point in the right direction. I currently have a beautiful little python, a carpet I believe. He was found hiding in some pallets at work, normally I would just admire him and let him be on his way, however they were doing a big clean up of the factory and it was not a safe place for our little friend.
I have brought him home, put him in one of my spare enclosures and given him a nice big feed. He seems happy as Larry. But now the question is, What do I do with him/her?
Is there a place I can relocate it too and release it, or is there somewhere I can hand it over to that will find a suitable home for him/her?

I am in Deception Bay, QLD.

Thanks
 

Wolfgang5

Not so new Member
Personally I would just find a park/bushland or someother safe space not too far from where you found it and release it there, unless of course he/she is injured or sick, then you might wanna look into your local rescue group.

(I'm not sure but do you need permits to relocate wild snakes?)
 
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Bluetongue1

Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
The important thing at this stage is to keep the snake properly quarantined from your existing collection. You actually do need to be licensed to remove and relocate snakes, but it is a bit late to worry about that now. Part of the licensing involves following quarantine protocols, including the gear used to capture and transport snakes, and releasing them ASAP into suitable nearby habitat.

If there is a substantial bit of native habitat near the factory, it is quite probable this is where the snake may have come from. It would be best to release it back into this area, well away from buildings and roads. Choose a spot that has plenty of rocks or fallen timber that the snake can make use of for sheltering. Otherwise just release it into one of the local native parks or reserves in your area.

If you are still uncertain, ring a local snake catcher and simply explain what has happened and ask for his/her advice. Most are happy to provide free advice if their services are not required in person. Rescue organisations deal with injured or sick animals that need to be rehabilitated before they can be released, so are not relevant here. That aside, I am not sure if Queensland Wildlife Rescue deal with snakes or operate in your local area. There is no way you will be legally allowed to keep it and even what you have done so far is not actually legal.

Please let us know how you get on.
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
If you're going to release it, release it ASAP as close as possible to where you caught it.

In future, never, ever take a wild snake home, and if you are going to catch and release, do it immediately (pick it up and walk directly to the place you'll release it, and only in the immediate vicinity of where it came from). Never, ever feed a wild snake.

Moving a wild snake (including when licensed removalists do it, and this is drawing increasing criticism from ecologists, validly so) more than a very short distance causes various problems. Exposing it to captive snakes and then releasing it potentially introduces diseases and parasites into wild population (Melbourne's wild reptiles are now crawling with African snake mites for example, and we're never likely to be able to get rid of them, and they cause a lot of damage, you commonly see wild reptiles dead or close to being dead from parasite burden, covered in mites). Misguided attempts at 'saving' a tiny number of reptiles in the Melbourne area has caused mites to spread over a lot of the region, causing millions of wild reptiles to die and many more to suffer. The gene pools of some species in the area has also been polluted.

There's a reason we say 'don't feed the animals' with everything from bears to possums; it hurts them rather than helps them, in multiple ways.

If this snake is potentially contaminated, don't release it. If you are going to release it, do it ASAP.

To anyone else reading, please keep all this in mind, don't take wild reptiles home out of 'kindness', encourage others not to do it. Even if your heart is in the right place you can cause tremendous, permanent damage.
 

Bluetongue1

Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
In responding to the OP’s question, I was aware that a hatchling snake found amongst pallets may also have been transported to that spot.

Given the OP is an experienced keeper, I presumed that he would likely know what “proper quarantine” involved and if he didn’t, he would likely ask for direction as he had already done in his original post. The only unsolicited advice I possibly should have offered is that a 10% bleach solution is just as effective across the full spectrum of micro-pathogens as the expensive disinfectants, such as F10, for cleaning the spare cage once it was empty. Let the bleach sit for 15 to 20 mins before rinsing it off with water, then place it in the sunshine for a day or so, to get rid of any residual odours.
If this snake is potentially contaminated, don't release it. If you are going to release it, do it ASAP.

To anyone else reading, please keep all this in mind, don't take wild reptiles home out of 'kindness', encourage others not to do it. Even if your heart is in the right place you can cause tremendous, permanent damage.
I certainly agree with your overall message, but some of the supporting comments raise some questions for me. Firstly, what particular species are you referring to as “African snake mite”? Secondly, why do you say one should “never, ever feed a wild snake”? I understand the various problems that can result from people feeding wild animals, but I cannot see how any of these would apply here.
 
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Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
I certainly agree with your overall message, but some of the supporting comments raise some questions for me. Firstly, what particular species are you referring to as “African snake mite”?

You obviously know I'm talking about Ophionyssus natricus. If you want to play the 'there's some controversy over their native origin card', I'm not interested in nitpicking, and we can all agree that they are not native to Australia, were introduced through reptile imports, and continue to be introduced to wild Australian reptile populations because people release snakes irresponsibly.

Secondly, why do you say one should “never, ever feed a wild snake”? I understand the various problems that can result from people feeding wild animals, but I cannot see how any of these would apply here.

I'd have thought you'd be able to. Oh well.
 

Bluetongue1

Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
The question was a genuine one as I have only ever heard them referred to as just “snake mite” or (less often) as “reptile mite”.
... Misguided attempts at 'saving' a tiny number of reptiles in the Melbourne area has caused mites to spread over a lot of the region, causing millions of wild reptiles to die and many more to suffer. ...
Even allowing for use of poetic license, this is quite a claim. To the best of my knowledge, occurrences of snake mite in non-captive reptiles in Australia are few and far between. Hence, I question the veracity of what you have stated here.

You avoided answering my second question. Why does that not surprise me?

Snake relocation (done properly following quarantine procedures) is a somewhat contentious issue. Unfortunately there is almost no research and hard data to work with. So here is my two-bob’s worth on the subject...

We do know is that snakes build up a knowledge of their home range, such as where suitable refuges and other resources are located. It would therefore seem reasonable to assume that an individual relocated back into its home range could likely continue its existence as normal. However, if a snake is relocated outside of its home range, then its chances of survival would likely be considerably reduced. It would not know the location of needed resources and would be there be more vulnerable in searching for these. The carrying capacity might already be at a maximum, so there simply is not enough of the limiting resource(s) to maintain all the individuals present. As a consequence, competition for this resource(s) would result in elimination of at least one individual – the one least-best suited to accessing that resource. Even with unsuccessful relocations, the positive is that they add their biomass to the food web and can assist other organisms in this manner.

The argument of genetic pollution caused by snake relocation is over-stated. If a snake that is relocated to a new area should survive, which is unlikely in itself, half of its genes will be lost if and when it reproduces. Given dispersal and random mating, if and when any of its offspring should reproduce, a further half of the original genes will be lost. Losing half the genes at each generation, it does not take long for the genes to effectively disappear. It is only where multiple individuals with similar genes are released in one area that there is even a chance of influencing the genetics of the local population. Given the low survival rate and the minimal percentages that released individuals will become reproductive adults, even in that scenario it is not very probable.
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
The question was a genuine one as I have only ever heard them referred to as just “snake mite” or (less often) as “reptile mite”.

Even allowing for use of poetic license, this is quite a claim. To the best of my knowledge, occurrences of snake mite in non-captive reptiles in Australia are few and far between. Hence, I question the veracity of what you have stated here.

You may be unfamiliar with it, but there are many wild populations of reptiles in Australia with heavy mite infestations. This is well known to many people familiar with these areas. Melbourne's wild reptiles are crawling with them, and have been for decades. I've seen many wild snakes and lizards, particularly Tiliqua, very heavily parasitised, sometimes to the point of having clearly severely compromised health.

You avoided answering my second question. Why does that not surprise me?

Snake relocation (done properly following quarantine procedures) is a somewhat contentious issue. Unfortunately there is almost no research and hard data to work with. So here is my two-bob’s worth on the subject...

Your unfamiliarity with studies doesn't mean they don't exist, and in absence of such knowledge, surely caution is most appropriate, even ignoring how intuitively obvious the risks are.

We do know is that snakes build up a knowledge of their home range, such as where suitable refuges and other resources are located. It would therefore seem reasonable to assume that an individual relocated back into its home range could likely continue its existence as normal. However, if a snake is relocated outside of its home range, then its chances of survival would likely be considerably reduced. It would not know the location of needed resources and would be there be more vulnerable in searching for these. The carrying capacity might already be at a maximum, so there simply is not enough of the limiting resource(s) to maintain all the individuals present. As a consequence, competition for this resource(s) would result in elimination of at least one individual – the one least-best suited to accessing that resource. Even with unsuccessful relocations, the positive is that they add their biomass to the food web and can assist other organisms in this manner.

Cringefully bad misinformation. This was the normal way of looking at things decades ago. Fortunately an increasing number of people are waking up. You'll presumably follow once it becomes widely accepted and you're comfortably following the herd.

The argument of genetic pollution caused by snake relocation is over-stated. If a snake that is relocated to a new area should survive, which is unlikely in itself, half of its genes will be lost if and when it reproduces. Given dispersal and random mating, if and when any of its offspring should reproduce, a further half of the original genes will be lost. Losing half the genes at each generation, it does not take long for the genes to effectively disappear. It is only where multiple individuals with similar genes are released in one area that there is even a chance of influencing the genetics of the local population. Given the low survival rate and the minimal percentages that released individuals will become reproductive adults, even in that scenario it is not very probable.

Comical that you would point out how unlikely it is that a relocated snake will survive when it suits your narrative!

As a qualified geneticist, I can say that you are demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of population genetics. Counterintuitively, a single individual added to a population will have a genetic influence which is almost 100% independent of the population size it is introduced to. Your misinformation here is extremely wrong and very dangerous. If anyone is reading this, please understand that bluetongue1's misinformation goes completely against established genetic theory and is dangerous. There is plenty of research on this topic. The addition of a single individual can have big impacts on a population's genetics. Some geneticists would argue this isn't a bad thing, and it generally isn't if you don't care about maintaining the genetics of a population in its natural state (and many geneticists don't consider this to be a priority, while others including myself do think it would be nice not to alter the genetics of a population by having humans introduce individuals from non local gene pools), but whether or not they think it's bad, all agree that the addition of a single individual can have a big genetic impact.
 

Bluetongue1

Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
Well, with a response like that it seems I hit a nerve. Sorry about that. My post was certainly not intended to be personally denigrating or demeaning. You have an amazing amount of knowledge and experience, which I openly acknowledge and respect. However, occasionally you make some statements or claims that are a too over the top to ignore, and this is what seems to bring us into conflict.

That said, I am taken aback at the personal nature of your post’s comments. It seems you like you are more interested in character assignation than rational discussion. Simply because you are “a geneticist” does not entitle you to do that. I actually hold a science degree from the University of Sydney (with a double zoology major) and a post graduate diploma in education from the University of Western Australia. Throughout my decades of teaching, I considered it to be my professional duty to keep abreast of current research and new understandings, particularly in the areas of Biology and Human Biology, which I was teaching to senior school students. I have also associated with a variety of academics and biological professionals and amateurs, refining existing understandings and learning new information from them. The foregoing does not mean I am always correct. It does not make me better than anyone else. What is does do is to enable me to ‘smell’ BS and question it.

I am disappointed but I bear you no malice. However there are a number of statements in the post that do need to be addressed. Lack of time precludes me doing so at the moment, but I will get back to it.
 
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