Snake and lizard in sticky situation
WE ARE often prompted to take care with disposal of rubbish and to consider how it might affect the environment.
Plastic of all kinds has a devastating effect on land and sea creatures. Even something as simple as paper masking tape can, however, be a death trap for wildlife.
When WIRES received a call about a snake that was caught in sticky tape, we expected it would be tangled in a heavy duty plastic tape. Our rescuer was surprised to find that the tape was normal paper masking tape which had been crumpled up and discarded. Of even more surprise, the tape had caught not only a Dwarf crown snake but also a little lizard, itself perhaps an intended meal for the snake.
Dwarf crown snakes average about 25cm in length. They are mildly venomous but not considered dangerous to humans because they are reluctant biters, relying more on bluff display than bite. Freeing the snake and the lizard from their sticky situation would take some careful and patient work, since both were so small and delicate. Two WIRES snake handlers worked together, one holding the snake's head as they soaked the paper and freed the two reptiles.
This lizard and snake were fortunate that the tape they were stuck to was water soluble. WIRES also currently have a juvenile coastal carpet python in care who had been adhered to a very sticky 'matting tape' used to insulate a ceiling. This snake had to be transported to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for treatment and is now in care until he sheds.
It is always important to consider the potential consequences of our disposal of rubbish, particularly things with adhesive surfaces, dispose of it responsibly and you might just save a small bird, mammal or reptile from a sticky fate.
Contact WIRES for rescues, advice or enquiries. The 24-hour hotline is for all calls to WIRES in the Northern Rivers - 6628 1898.