Up Close and Personal

As part of their classwork, Year 7 Science students and Year 10 Biology students were treated to a visit with Lisa Harrap and friends from the Perth Reptile Company. The students were educated on the adaptations and classification of a range of different reptile species. It was an extremely informative session and the girls gained a great deal from the experience. The students were lucky to get up close and personal with these amazing animals and it was a very ‘hands-on’ experience.

Did you know?

A python tastes the air with its tongue to smell if prey is nearby? Also, special temperature-sensing pits on its face can sense the heat of a nearby animal. This helps them find warm-blooded prey even in the dark or among dense foliage. 

Pythons use their sharp, backward-curving teeth, four rows in the upper jaw, two in the lower, to grasp prey. It then quickly wraps its body around the victim and squeezes. The python doesn’t actually crush the prey or break its bones though. Instead, it squeezes tightly so that the prey can’t breathe; each time its prey exhales, the constrictor tightens its coils to take up space, causing suffocation.

The python can also feel the prey’s heart beating, so when it stops, the snake knows it is safe to release its coils and begin to eat. Bigger pythons eat mammals as big as monkeys, wallabies, antelope, and pigs.

Our reptile guests included a range of different Western Australian pythons including the pygmy, woma, Stimpson, and a huge carpet python.

The girls learnt how adaptations in these animals help them to survive in the wild. Lisa also introduced us to some of the lizards in her care such as the blue-tongued lizard, skink, and an amazing, frilled-neck dragon. She also brought along Dingo, one of her turtles. 

Here are some comments from the girls

It was fun being able to have Lisa come to our school and teach us all about snakes and let us get hands-on with them. Matilda Tate  

We got to hold various types of snakes, lizards, and even a turtle. I think the crowd favourites were the big snakes. We learnt lots of valuable and useful information about snakes, especially for when we are camping or hiking. Sienna Pitt

I thought the reptile incursion was very informative and was really interesting. I loved hearing about the reptiles and where they came from, what environment they live in, and about their species.

I had the chance to hold both the carpet python and the blue tongue lizard. When I held the carpet python I thought that it would be quite heavy but it was really gentle and calm, and to my surprise, it wasn’t that heavy. When I held the blue tongue lizard it was really cute, and I loved how small and easy it was to hold.

It was a really good experience, and I would definitely love to do something like that again. Romey Hinscliff

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