Kalrissan Rottweilers, Reptiles and Amphibians
REPTILE RESCUE and REHAB
This page is dedicated to our efforts in rehabilitating injured or sick reptiles. The primary goal of our efforts being that the animals in our care are eventually be released back to where they came from. Note that you need a PERMIT to be able to do this work - you can find out more on the Reptile Rehabilitation Qld Facebook Page. Enjoy the stories below. RRQI provides a 24-7 rescue service and high quality in-house rehabilitation to animals deemed viable by a dedicated reptile vet. We also provide education to both members and the public and you may see us at an event near you - come and say hello and meet the reptile and amphibian education A-TEAM. You can contact RRQI and book a session for your workplace, school or library.
We have been involved in rescues
too numerous to count - from lizards to snakes, frogs to turtles. We also rescue other native Australian wildlife, but it is our reptiles that we have a particular passion for.
Below you will see a snapshot of some of the awesome animals we have had the pleasure of meeting, caring for and for the majority, have eventually released back to their native homes. The little darling in this shot was inadvertently caught by two boys fishing and had a fishing hook pierce her upper jaw and exit her nose. Note that she had just been sedated prior to being photographed for her treatment. She stayed with us for a few weeks and was released once her courses of antibiotics and analgesia were completed.
Baby Saw Shell Turtles
Currently, we are fighting to save the most delightful baby turtles. Sadly, they are at least one month premature and are very weak. They were accidentally disturbed during a gardening incident and 5 were knocked totally out of their shells and another 3 hatched on the way home from badly damaged shells. Despite being placed in an incubator, the remaining 3 eggs also hatched within days and the fight begins to save these guys. Currently, they are in an ICU tank and are receiving aggressive care to get them feeding and swimming. We will do our best to give these guys the best chance of surviving and it is likely they will be with us for a bit. Ordinarily, baby reptiles are released about 3 days after hatching but these guys will need specialized care for a while to ensure an optimal chance of surviving.
Baby Coastal Carpet Pythons
Our incubators have been going crazy the past month with 56 baby Eastern Bearded Dragon babies, 33 bay pythons and 12 baby turtles all emerging safely.
The baby pythons were from 2 clutches where mum was disturbed and did not return to incubate her eggs. The decision was made to remove the eggs and artificially incubate them, to ensure their survival. We had 33 from 33 hatch so this was a good decision. All babies have been returned to the area that their mums were found to begin their lives in the wild. GOOD LUCK guys.
Mina the Blue Tongue Skink got herself into obvious trouble when she came into the path of a large dog. That ballon-like structure that clearly shouldn't be there is her LEFT LUNG. She also had other very severe bites all over her tiny body and was sucking air in and out of many holes everytime she struggled to breathe. It did not look good for her, but the dog owner rushed her to Brisbane Bird and Exotic Vets where a very dedicated team of vets and nurses then sprung into action and took her straight to surgery. Any delay would have cost Mina her life. I am pleased to report that 4-weeks later this very tough little skink is smashing on the weight and doing very well. It is likely she will have her stitches out in a few more weeks and be prepared for release. She is a testament to how tough reptiles are and what can be achieved with a little knowledge, a heap of skills and some special care with an experienced rehabilitator.
You need to have a REHABILITATION PERMIT if you want to care for native wildlife. I would advise looking up your local wildlife group and talking to them. You may do harm even if you don't intend to if you do not have the training or skills to care for an animal. Some species (like reptiles) require very specialized housing, feeding and handling and if you don't provide this, there is no point even considering to rehabilitate. I have had several cases where animals have been handed over to me after well-meaning people have tried to 'help' the animal but in fact have doomed it to a death by incorrect feeding and care. Sadly, inappropriate care and husbandry can be the difference between life and a slow death for a reptile. The great news for Mina (above) is that 8 weeks later - her sutures were removed and she spent a few more months in care but did make release. She was put in a safe spot away from the dog and within her habitat zone.
Parlay is a Coastal Carpet Python who some of you may recognize from the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital facebook page - his story spread far & wide. He had come over from Stradbroke Island where some very caring people found him in one of the worst states I have seen a snake in for a long time. He was covered in ticks - and when I say ticks, I mean hundreds!!! See pics below.
He was immediately transported to CWH where he was anaesthetised and had the ticks pulled off him. His head (where most of the ticks were) was 3 times the size of a normal python head. We had subsequently picked off over 200 more ticks in the first few days. This process continued for weeks as he was too sick to be handled for any longer than about 15 minutes at a time. See his pics below
Unfortunatley for Parlay, this is not the end of his story as one would logically ask - why did he get so many ticks in the first place? Normally, snakes do not get that many on them - a healthy snake is able to rid him/ herself of most ticks. Parlay had to have been on the ground for some time to have this many on him. CWH ran a series of blood tests and X-Rays where it was discovered that he had a skull fractured in 3 places!! His bloods were terrible as well - not surprising with so many ticks sucking the life out of him.
On arrival, his condition was critical, but we have a few skills and after a long and rough ride, Parlay gradually started to improve and finally ate by himself a couple of months later (he was tube fed for a bit to provide him with critical nutrition that he needed to heal). His head was terribly swollen and took weeks to return to it's usual size - he then became a very cranky individual!! Oh well, he is wild and we don't expect them to be grateful for our interventions!!
Parlay was released after 10-months in care. He was taken by boat back to his native habitat to continue his life.
Iva as you can see met foul play, most likely at the hand of bored kids on school holiday: ”We’re bored so let’s paint a dragon”!!
I have had purple ones, yellow ones and maroon ones. Blue and maroon are common around State of Origin time!!
Good catching skills though (on the part of the kids) as water dragons are not for the faint hearted in an open area.
Iva was painted electric blue and a nice job at it for sure: maybe the offender should look for work in car detailing and spraying instead of assaulting native wildlife.
Painted dragons only need basic care until the paint comes off when they shed. This could take a week or 6-months depending on whether he has had a recent shed before he was assaulted. The issue with painting an animal is that it no longer blends with the environment and they become a beacon for predators to hone in on. Removing him from the wild temporarily until he sheds is the management for this presentation. Luckily for Iva, the paint is water-based and giving him a large water bowl where he can fully submerge is already lifting the paint. He will be releasable once he returns to normal colouring.
He is a bit dehydrated and thin so will be indoors a few weeks to gain weight and then he will be placed in one of my pond areas until he sheds the rest of the blue-coloured skin.
GLIN above is a female 5-foot Eastern Brown Snake. She was found trapped in netting and unable to escape and then was 'noosed' around the neck by property owners. I struggle to understand the need for this as she was trapped and unable to do anything even if she had been able to. She was in a terrible state on rescue - dehydrated and suffering neck and respiratory injuries from the noosing. Now here's the message NEVER, EVER approach a venomous snake. There is NO NEED TO. If you find yourself in close proximity: Stand VERY STILL until the snake moves on. This may take a few minutes and may seem like a lifetime but snakes can be very reactive to movement, so if you don't move, they don't acknowledge you. If you have space to safely do so - move backwards slowly and keep an eye on the snake - If it reacts, stop moving. If you find a snake in your yard - DO NOT attempt to catch or kill it - this is the time that people get bitten. If the snake is in your house or garage, close the door & place a towel along the bottom to prevent the snake from leaving and call a snake catcher. If you do not know how to handle a snake DO NOT even try - call a professional to remove the snake appropriately. It is AGAINST THE LAW to harm any native AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE and this includes venomous snakes. There are very strict laws that protect our wildlife, even dangerous ones and this includes rules for relocation. Special licences are required.
Now the good news for Glin is that she is doing very well and even better: she is a delight - she is very calm for her species, however we take NO liberties. She is always treated with the respect that her species commands. She is receiving pain relief and antibiotics via injection (yes, this is possible with the correct knowledge and skill). She should be released in a week or so.
TOUSON the Eastern Water Dragon
Touson came into care after being hit on the head by a golf ball - the legacy of living on a golf course!! He has a badly fractured jaw. Touson has had his jaw wired and a feeding tube inserted as it is important he rests his jaw to allow it to heal for the moment. He is receiving strong pain relief and antibiotics and has his feeding tube flushed after every meal.
Touson is doing very well and after 4-weeks of care has just had his feeding tube removed and is now off all medications. He is being assist fed for now but is getting stronger every day.
UPDATE: Touson has done very well and was released back to the 9th Tee to hopefully dodge golf balls in the future!! He had put on a heap of weight and was more than happy to go back home.
Georgie is a Coastal Carpet Python who was with us for nearly 15 months. For those who have been following Georgie's story, we are very pleased to report that he was released late January. Georgie came to us in a terrible state and was not expected to live: he had been stuck in a roof space in wire for an unknown period of time. His extraction was traumatic and he received a degloving injury on top of the oxygen deprived section of body. He was septic, emaciated and dehydrated but had something that made is give him a go. Below is a shot of the area starting to de-marcate (go dead).
Georgie underwent 6 operations to remove dead flesh and at one point had spine exposed. The shot below is bad enough, but not the worst - he was too sick to handle at that point for anything other than his necessary treatment. He received intensive and prolonged antibiotic therapy and pain relief. His wounds were packed daily. He was assist fed as he was too sick to eat. Gradually, he turned the corner and started to improve. It took many more months for his wound to heal and gradually he came off his meds and his dressings were less frequent.
Georgie is an example of what can be achieved with a little dedication and work. He was released in the best condition he has probably been in his life. Hopefully, he will go on to play a part in the future of our coastal carpet python population.
Below: Georgie's parting shot on release - GOOD LUCK GEORGIE
HERBIE the Coastal Carpet Python
Herbie is a very large python who was run over by a slasher. He has a very large deep wound to his back which has required two surgical debridements so far. Because the wound was a week or so old before he was found and is so large, it will need to be treated as an open wound and will therefore take a while to heal. Herbie is currently receiving strong pain killers and antibiotic injections and is having frequent pack dressings. The photo below is after 2-weeks of treatment and you can see the wound is now looking clean (it was full of dirt and the edges were going necrotic when he first came).
Lucky for us, Herbie is a very nice fellow and is taking it all in his stride. He will be here until his wound is closed and he demonstrates a safe shed - this may take some time. Watch this space for updates on Herbie.
Herbie did very well and was released after 7-months in care. His wound had fully healed and he shed with no problems. Good Luck Herbie.
FRANKLIN the Lace Monitor
Franklin is a new arrival after being caught in a fox trap. These inhumane traps do terrible damage quite often to unintended targets such as Franklin. Franklin suffered horrendous fractures to his femur and was likely trapped for several hours before being found and freed. He then underwent long surgery to repair his leg and pin his fractures. He will be with us a long time but is doing well. He has already been transferred to a larger enclosure and is frequently seen hanging from the roof of the enclosure!! Like all monitors, he loves to climb! And unlike most wild monitors, Franklin is very well behaved.
Update on Franklin: He has done very well and despite an initial non-union (the bone did not heal as quickly as hoped) - he was re-x-rayed & his fracture has finally healed. It was decided to leave his pin in place and he was successfully released early January 2013 after 9-months in care. We'll miss you dude!!
Baby Broad-Shell Turtles
Recently, I was called to rescue 5 baby turtles that I was told were Eastern Long Necks. On arrival, I found they were actually Broad Shells that had been prematurely knocked out of their eggs when an excavator was doing some work near a dam on the property. They were in a pretty sad state; cold, covered in ants and only one was showing any signs of life. Being reptiles though and cold, I was unconvinced they were dead - I confirm this with a Doppler at home once they have been warmed slowly to Preferred Body Temperature (PBT) for at least 2-hours. So, I cranked up the heat in the car (note that it was 38 degrees outside on the day) and made a mad dash for home. The things we do for our reptiles!! There were also 3 eggs that had babies still inside but all 3 were badly cracked – I took these as well.
At home things looked bad for them – they were still cold and the one showing some signs of life was no longer. I placed them in a small tub in the incubator (that had Bearded Dragons actively hatching at the time) where I could control both the heat and the humidity. Every hour I checked on them and poked them to stimulate them into moving. This went on all night and by morning all 5 were slowly rallying. I transferred them into a small tub in the morning with a heat pad under and a heat lamp over as they were still not tolerating even ambient temperatures well. For the next 3 days I poked and prodded and tried to get them to eat. The eggs also needed urgent attention and so I put Tegaderm over the cracks and defects to prevent as much fluid loss as I could.
On day 3 when they were all still alive and better able to tolerate a car trip, I took them to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, where the vet agreed that they were at least one month premature and an ultrasound revealed that 3 had no internal yolk sac, meaning that they would soon die if not eating. So, these 3 were tube fed and I persisted with the other 2. Because they were attempting to swim in the shallow water I had provided, I also transferred them into a small aquarium where I could also provide necessary UV light, filtration and a dry-dock. Here they excelled and grew stronger every day. They began eating by themselves as well. Then a few weeks later, the most amazing thing happened: one of the smashed eggs began hatching. I carefully peeled away the Tegaderm to allow the baby to hatch unimpeded and he soon joined his 5 siblings. The next day I carefully cut out the other two babies as there was so much plastic holding the eggs together – there was no way they would hatch by themselves. To my surprise, they were both alive and well (both eggs were terribly damaged). All babies were returned to their mother’s dam a week later – 8 out of 8. I’m sure you will all agree this is a very good effort to get all of them back to the wild when all the odds were very much against them. Here are some photo’s of my brief but rewarding time with them. Good luck guys.
I will warn you up front - this story does not have an entirely good ending. Mya, an Eastern Bearded Dragon came into care with me early October 2010 after being savaged by a dog. Unfortunately for Mya, a young boy found her & hid her under his bed until his mother found her a few days later and made him take her to the local vet. She suffered terrible injuries: large puncture wounds all over her body and was sucking in air through her abdomen every time she took a breath. To top it off, she was also heavily gravid (full of eggs).
She was immediately rushed to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, where she underwent surgery to save her life. X-rays showed she had at least 26 eggs on board. She came to me a few days later and 2 days after that, she delivered 17 eggs.
But this was only the beginning for Mya - all the eggs were from the one side. She was unable to deliver the eggs from the side that had taken the worst of the dog bites. She was rushed to surgery for a second time and she had another 6 eggs removed - there were several more that had been ruptured by the dog and these (as well as the bacteria from the dogs teeth had caused a massive abdominal infection). The damage was so bad, she had to have an ovary and egg tube removed from that side. Her antibiotics were continued and she was still receiving pain relief.
Her eggs were put into an incubator but it was uncertain if they would be viable due to the trauma and shaking. The photo below is Mya after 10-weeks of care, once she was feeling better.
Mya then rapidly improved and progressed to going outside to sit in the sun with me regularly. She loved this. But, sadly things took a turn for the worst a few weeks later when she finished her antibiotics. She became very sick again and underwent a further operation to remove part of her abdominal wall. This is the legacy of dog or cat attacks, where bacteria gets a foothold and is challenging to control. She was put back on heavy-duty antibiotics but the infection was too severe. Her kidneys failed a short time later and she was humanely euthanased. I was devastated and I will miss my sits with Mya in the sun of a morning. The sad part of this story is: If Mya had been taken to the vet immediately, she may have survived. Unfortuntely, the delay getting her onto antibiotics likely cost her her life.
The story is not over yet though, of the 23 eggs we had in the incubator, 16 hatched!! This was a good day and Mya's babies have just been released (early February).
Monte the Keelback
Monte is an adult male Keelback who was attacked by 2 cats when he unfortunately ventured into a kitchen. He suffered a fractured neck and also has a severe deviation to his spine about 1/3 of the way down his body. He was given 'benefit of the doubt' as despite this, he was moving 'reasonably' well!!! Monte is receiving pain relief and antibiotic injections and having betadine baths to prevent infection. So far, he is doing well and we hope with time and rest he will fully recover enough to be released.
UPDATE: July - Monte is currently totally hands off now & is being left alone to rest his fracture. He is cruising his pad and is moving very well. All is looking good for release once the weather warms up.
September - Monte has just been released. Good luck mate
Brodie is a female Eastern Water Dragon who came to me last year after being attacked by a cat. Her injuries were severe: she had punctures through her spine in two places. She was unable to move either rear leg when she came but did have a withdrawal reflex. Her prognosis was grave.
Brodie had different ideas though and with intensive physiotherapy, she has now regained the use of both back legs. This has been a slow process as she was rested the first month to let her spine heal. She was also receiving antibiotic and pain relief and needed hand feeding. Then she started gentle physiotherapy which gradually increased in intensity. She also completed daily hydro-therapy to strengthen her legs. Soon she started to use one leg, then the other as well.
But Brodie's story is not over: about 8-weeks into her treatment I became suspicious that she was gravid - she started putting on a lot of weight despite not eating well. So, she had an Xray and sure enough - 10 eggs. This was a big concern though as it was feared (rightly so as it turns out) that she may be unable to lay her eggs due to her mobility issues. A few weeks later, Brodie started laying her eggs and every one needed to be assisted. We got to 8 and no more despite our best efforts. So, Brodie had to have a C-Section to deliver the remaining 2. She has recovered well and is continuing to do well. She will be here a long time yet but we are now confident with time - she will be released. About her eggs: all 10 hatched and have since been released. See some baby shots below:
Justice is a male Eastern Water Dragon who was found with jaw injuries and a necrotic (dead) toe. He has had surgery at CWH and will be recovering with us for the winter. He is a very confident dude and gets very demanding at food times - he LOVES his grapes and rockmelon!! He is now just finished his antibiotics and pain relief and is much happier to be left alone. He was very thin when he arrived due to his jaw injury but is now eating very well and putting on heaps of weight. Justice will be released as soon as his mouth heals more and the weather warms up for him.
Justice was released in September 2012 to fight another day.
Lacey is a female Lace Monitor who has just joined us. She was hit by a car and has some significant neurological damage. At present she is being feed assisted as she cannot eat for herself. She is also in a small ICU enclosure as she is unable to stand. Her heating is critical at this point and she is receiving pain relief by injections. Normally, wild Lace Monitors can be ferocious and we handle them with welding gloves but Lacey is too sick - we can pick her up with no gloves on!!
Today, she opened her eyes and had a look around for the first time. We sat in the sun with her for a short while before she was put back to bed. If she survives, she will be with us a while. It is touch and go for her at the moment but we will give her every chance. We are hoping we will need gloves to handle her very soon - we take this as a good sign!!
Update on Lacey: She is slowly improving every day - she still has some bad days where she sleeps a lot but she is now walking straighter and can climb - she even spends every 2nd day out for a few hours.
September: Lacey is now climbing and walking straight. She is eating by herself now but still has a way to go - we are more confident that she will make it though.
Nile is a gorgeous Brown Tree Snake who came into care recently after being trapped in bird netting. If that wasn't enough, his neck was damaged when the homeowner refused to wait for an appropriate snake person to retrieve Nile from the netting and pinned him against a tree. Now, not only does Nile have strangulation wounds on his scales, but he has neurological damage to his spine from a bad retrieve. This highlights the issue that untrained people SHOULD NOT attempt to handle any snake, especially a venomous one like Nile. Had the appropriate person retrieved him, he would not have suffered neck damage as well and would likely have been released by now. As it stands, if he is unable to move normally soon, the decision may be that he will be euthanased as he will be unable to be released if he can't feed himself.
For now, Nile is receiving pain relief and antibiotics and is being rested. He is handled very carefully. We hope he will begin moving better soon and we will then transfer him to a larger enclosure where he can climb.
Update: Nile recovered well and was moving normally around his enclosure. He was released mid February.
Mickey the Green Tree Frog was caught in a mouse trap and suffered a terrible front leg injury. Whilst the main bone in his arm (humerous) wasn't broken, a large portion of it was exposed. His toes on the same leg were also crushed. He will be with us for a while as he is receiving cream to his wounds to prevent infection and pain relief. He is now starting to use his leg slightly and will soon be transferred to a larger enclosure where he can climb.
Update on Mickey: he has done very well and was using his leg normally. Circulation to his foot was normal & so he was released back into his garden early March (after all mouse traps were removed!!).
Sandow is an adult male Rough Scale Snake, a highly venomous species closely related to a Tiger Snake. They can be very aggressive when disturbed (which is great when we have to give him antibiotic injections frequently!!) but so far Sandow has been remarkably well behaved. He was found with terrible wounds on his belly (almost right through into his abdomen). He was first treated at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital & will complete his recovery with us. He poses a unique challenge due to his venomous nature, but we strongly believe that all animals play a vital role in a healthy ecosystem and he deserves the same treatment as any other injured animal. And that's exactly what he will receive here.
Sandow's wound healed very well with dressings and antibiotics and he was recently released - Stay out of trouble dude!!
Amber is the most delightful Blue Tongue Skink we have met. She was attacked by a dog December 2011 and sustained horrendous injuries to her chest. The night she arrived, she had part of her lung hanging out of the broken bones in her chest and was struggling to breathe. She also had a loop of bowel hanging out one of the large dog puncture wounds. If this wasn't bad enough, before I could begin giving her emergency treatment for pain and infection, she went into labour and began delivering 14 babies!
Amber's babies have all since been released but Amber will be with us a while. She underwent surgery to repair her lung and bowel the next day and has been a very sick skink. Now though, Amber is doing very well and should be released in the coming summer after some well earned r & r! For now, we just enjoy her company & she is starting to enjoy ours (now that she isn't getting any more needles!!). Like all Bluey's, she LOVES her food!!
Update: Amber was released in a safe 'dog-free' area 9 months after her attack.
Krien is a Yellow-Faced Whip Snake who tangled with a cat and came out second best. He is a mildly venomous snake and has sutures to two sections of his body and many other puncture wounds. His treatment is betadine baths, antibiotic injections and pain relief. He will make a full recovery and be released in a few weeks.
OTHER RESCUED ANIMALS
We also attend the rescue of all manner of Australian wildlife needing assistance (often in the middle of the night!!). Here are some examples:
Arj, the baby Eastern Long-Nosed Bandicoot baby was found near his dead mum and siblings. He was handfed overnight & transferred into the care of a Bandicoot carer the next day.
Everyone loves a Koala, although they are not the easiest of customers to deal with - particularly the males like Negus here!! He was found on the ground very sick and very cranky (he had chlamydia - a deadly, highly contagious and common problem for Koalas). He was transported immediately to Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, where he remained for several months receiving intensive antibiotic treatment. He was released totally healthy not long after - see his parting shot above.
The bottom Left is Pele the female Eastern Grey Kangaroo baby. Her mum was killed by a car strike and she was thrown from the pouch and dragged along the road under the car. She sustained some injuries to her leg but was successfully treated by CWH. She went to a registered macropod carer and was released a few months later with another two Kangaroos.
The bottom Right is an orphaned Brush Tail Possum who's mum was electrocuted. He was thrown off her back and was rescued very early in the morning. We kept him alive for a few hours and transferred him to a Possum care the next morning after a few feeds and keeping him toasty warm. He was raised by his carer and soft released a few months later with another possum.