Category Archives: Fauna

What to do in case of snake bite

SNAKEBITES by Rob Timmings – RN BHSc MEmNsg Cert IV – TAE

Managing Director/Principle Educator (Clinical) of ECT4Health Pty Ltd (Education, consultancy and training for healthcare professionals). Full medical qualifications, experience and biography via https://www.ect4health.com.au/about-us/

Photo credit: Karen Hising
  • 3,000 snakebites are reported annually
  • 300-500 hospitalisations
  • 2-3 deaths annually

Average time to death is 12 hours. The urban myth that you are bitten in the yard and die before you can walk from your chook pen back to the house is a load of rubbish.

While not new, the management of snakebite (like a flood/fire evacuation plan or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) should be refreshed each season.

Let’s start with a basic overview:

There are five genus of snakes that will harm us (seriously) – Browns, Blacks, Adders, Tigers and Taipans.

  • All snake venom is made up of huge proteins (like egg white). When bitten, a snake injects some venom into the meat of your limb (NOT into your blood).
  • This venom cannot be absorbed into the blood stream from the bite site.
  • It travels in a fluid transport system in your body called the lymphatic system (not the blood stream).
  • Now this fluid (lymph) is moved differently to blood.
  • Your heart pumps blood around, so even when you are lying dead still, your blood still circulates around the body. Lymph fluid is different. It moves around with physical muscle movement like bending your arm, bending knees, wriggling fingers and toes, walking/exercise, etc.
  • Now here is the thing, lymph fluid becomes blood after these lymph vessels converge to form one of two large vessels (lymphatic trunks), which are connected to veins at the base of the neck.
  • Back to the snakebite site.  When bitten, the venom has been injected into this lymph fluid (which makes up the bulk of the water in your tissues).
  • The only way that the venom can get into your blood stream is to be moved from the bite site in the lymphatic vessels. The only way to do this is to physically move the limbs that were bitten.

Stay still!! Venom can’t move if the victim doesn’t move. Stay still!!

Remember, people are not bitten into their blood stream. In the 1980’S, a technique called pressure immobilisation bandaging was developed to further retard venom movement. It completely stops venom/lymph transport toward the blood stream.

A firm roll bandage is applied directly over the bite site (don’t wash the area).

Technique:

Three steps – keep them still.

Step 1 – Apply a bandage over the bite site, to an area about 10cm above and below the bite.

Step 2 – Then using another elastic roller bandage, apply a firm wrap from fingers/toes all the way to the armpit/groin. The bandage needs to be firm, but not so tight that it causes fingers or toes to turn purple or white. About the tension of a sprain bandage.

Step 3 – Splint the limb so the patient can’t walk or bend the limb.

Then go directly to the hospital. Do not remove the bandage, medical staff will take the bandage off.

DO NOT’S:

  • DO NOT cut, incise or suck the venom.
  • DON’T EVER use a tourniquet.
  • DO NOT remove the shirt or pants – just bandage over the top of clothing.
  • Remember movement (like wriggling out of a shirt or pants) causes venom movement.
  • DO NOT try to catch, kill or identify the snake!!! This is important.

In hospital, we NO LONGER NEED to know the type of snake – it doesn’t change treatment.

Five years ago, we would do a test on the bite, blood or urine to identify the snake so the correct antivenom could be used.

BUT NOW…

We don’t do this. Our new antivenom neutralises the venoms of all the five listed snake genus, so it doesn’t matter what snake bit the patient.

Read that again- one injection for all snakes!

Polyvalent is our one-shot wonder, stocked in all hospitals, so most hospitals no longer stock specific antivenins.

Australian snakes tend to have three main effects in differing degrees.

  1. Bleeding – internally and bruising.
  2. Muscles paralysed, causing difficulty talking, moving and breathing.
  3. Pain – in some snakes, severe muscle pain in the limb and days later, the bite site can break down, forming a nasty wound.

Allergy to snakes is rarer than winning lotto twice.

Final Tips:

Not all bitten people are envenomated and only those starting to show symptoms above are given antivenom.

Did I mention to stay still!

Bushcares Threatened Species Event

On Threatened Species Day (Saturday 7th September) we had a series of talks about fauna in the Blue Mountains. The day started with Anne Carey from the Blue Mountains Fauna Project presenting the findings of the year long study.

From left to right: Michael Hensen (BMCC Environmental Scientist), Anne Carey (Blue Mountains Fauna Project), Erin Hall (Bushcare Project Officer) and Tanya Mein (Community Engagement Coordinator)

Throughout the day there was a stall with weed and threatened species information. The eco cinema was playing a series of short films about threatened species and where they occur.

The community came along to enjoy the numerous stalls – Council’s Bushcare and Community Education, NPWS, Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Wildplant Rescue.

Next was the amazing Akos Lumitzer from amatterofflight.com.au who talked passionately about the powerful owl and how he came to spend so much time capturing the images.

Akos Lumitzer presenting his Powerful Owl talk to an enthralled audience.

Last but not least was Dr Beth Mott from Birdlife Australia. She presented the Powerful Owl project that is a citizen science project.

Award Winning Powerful Owl’s Nest – Waste to Art

Another great reason to come along to the Threatened Species Day at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, in Katoomba (Saturday 7th, September).

View the awarding winning Powerful Owl’s nest made during a series of Waste To Art community workshops held across the Blue Mountains. The sculpture is made from waste fabrics, to highlight that Australians are buying 27kg of new clothes annually and over 20kg ends up in Blue Mountains residents’ garbage bins each year.

At the Regional Waste to Art Community Exhibition held in Oberon recently the Blue Mountains entry was awarded first prize in the Community 3D category. A fantastic result as the exhibition featured about 120 artworks, from 14 NetWaste councils, that were all made from everyday rubbish.

Waste to Art aims to encourage the whole community to rethink their own waste and promote a low waste lifestyle. By taking action to Reduce, Reuse and Repair over buying new, it saves resources like water and energy that go into manufacturing new items.

Our collective efforts do make a difference and also help threatened species like the Powerful-Owl which is found across the Blue Mountains in old growth forests.

Fauna Watch

Winter is not the time for hunkering down for Antechinus!

By Anne Carey

Winter is the season for the once-in-a-lifetime mating ritual of the Antechinus. Males die after a focussed and frenzied two week period of searching for mates and mating. Deceased males are sometimes found along walking trails so keep an eye out and try to identify any species you encounter. There are currently 11 recognised species of Antechinus of which three are encountered in the Blue Mountains. These are the Brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii), Dusky Antechinus Antechinus mimetes mimetes [swainsonii], and Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes). These species can be readily identified with a bit of experience and a good field guide so take some photos if you encounter any and ask Council for help with ID if required.

 Often called “Marsupial mice” these little hunters are actually in the same family as the Spotted-tailed Quoll, and like their larger cousin, are fierce predators hunting, usually at night but sometimes during the day, for insects, spiders, centipedes and sometimes small reptiles and frogs. Antechinus shelter in hollows, burrows and fallen logs during the day and good refugia is essential for their persistence in our reserves.

Gully combined day 2018

Upper Kedumba Bushcare group hosted 35 Volunteers from Garguree swampcare and Friends Of Katoomba falls groups and the broader BC community in our annual Kedumba Catchment Gully get-together.

David King welcoming the group onto country

It was a great success, with a wonderful community feel and a great boost to The Upper Kedumba Bushcare site, with so many enthusiastic and committed helping hands we also had 5 new volunteers join in.

After a full work morning we indulged in a wonderful shared feast and heard from Eric Mahony about works in the catchment and how our workdays positively impact on it and Jane about our Bushcare native bee metropolis and who we would likely see using the bee hotels.

We were working on 4 different site components, giving a variety of work options to the volunteers so they could join in with tasks to challenge them and also tasks where they would feel familiar and relaxed.

Our work day consisted of

1 – Continuing to create a wetland soak in the low lying section of Upper Kedumba, to change the environmental conditions currently present, trying to create a wetter area hoping to diminish annual grasses and create more habitat for aquatic critters, whilst slowing the flow of the water in big rain events capturing it on site , and stripping nutrients from it.

In Feb/March we hope to plant this area out with Juncus and other sedges

Installation of water detention devices

Installation of water detention devices

2 – Continuing on with a creation of a mulch path through the site – The long-term vision is to create a site where local community will feel inclined to walk through it and stop and find out about local native bees, fauna and habitat creation and why these things are needed and how important they are in our local environment.

3- Removal of small and large privets in bands across the slope – this work will be supported by a day of contracting works in the next 3 months and continued planting of endemic species.

4- Removal of Montbretia from a drainage line.

Thank you to all who came along and helped with our ongoing Bushcare works
By Jane Anderson

Mt Wilson Fauna Survey results

Greater Glider found on the Mt Wilson Fauna Survey

Last weekend we had the Mt Wilson Fauna Survey Workshop and Spotlight. We were incredibly lucky to see three greater gliders, a threatened species and the Anabat detector also recorded a threatened species, the Eastern Bentwing Bat!

Despite the cold, we had a great turnout of people and animals…..

Next time you spot an animal in your backyard or local park, record your sighting at www.bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au/faunaproject or on Facebook www.facebook.com/BMFaunaProject/

We have one more weekend this year of wildlife walks and talks coming up on the 27/28 October in the upper mountains, please let your family and friends know.

Bookings are essential, go to www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/events/

 

SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 29.9.18
Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen 4
Australian Raven Corvus coronoides 3
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans 6
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris 2
Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis 2
Gang-gang Cockatoo Callocephalon fimbriatum 2
Pied Currawong Strepera graculina 1
Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata 2
Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus 3
Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae 1
White-throated Tree-creeper Cormobates leucophaea 2
Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops chrysops 2
Common froglet Crinia signifera 1
Greater Glider Petauroides volans 3
Swamp Wallaby   1
Common Wombat   1
 
White Striped Free tailed Bat Austronomus australis
Large Forest Bat Vespadelus darlingtoni
Eastern Bentwing Bat Miniopterus orianae oceanensis

Waterbug Identification Training

EOI – Thurs 11 Oct

Blue Mountains City Council have been fortunate to have secured John Gooderham, author of The Waterbug Book (CSIRO Publishing), to deliver waterbug identification training workshops on the 29th and 30th October 2018 (probably at Old Ford Reserve, Megalong). These workshops are for Council staff, Bushcare/Landcare/Swampcare/Streamwatch volunteers, teachers and other community members.

If you would like to participate in the training, please contact Amy St Lawrence by Thursday 11 October to express your interest.  Places are limited but we’ll do our best to accommodate everyone. You can complete either the Monday or the Tuesday workshop, or if super keen (and places are available), both!

Council’s Healthy Waterways team can then assist workshop participants to complete their own waterbug surveys with their Bushcare/Landcare/Swampcare/Streamwatch groups or schools, with data collected to be entered into the National Waterbug Blitz – https://www.waterbugblitz.org.au/

Amy St Lawrence – astlawrence@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Water Sensitive Cities Workshops

Help shape a sustainable water future for the Blue Mountains

Do you want our waterways to be healthy in the long term? To live in a place that is more resilient to heatwaves, drought, flooding and bushfire?

Our city faces significant challenges (such as climate change and urban development) that will have a big impact on our waterways and the way we use water. To secure a sustainable future, we need to rethink how we use and value water now. As a member of our local community, your knowledge and ideas are vital to this discussion.

Have your say

Council, together with Water NSW and the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, is running community workshops to help guide us towards a more sustainable, livable, ‘water sensitive’ future. This is an exciting opportunity for people from the community, government and business to get together and help shape our future.  The workshops will be dynamic and interactive, exploring:

  • How we might benefit from a ‘water sensitive’ approach to development;
  • successful ‘water sensitive’ case studies from Australia and overseas; and
  • potential local projects to implement as part of Council’s new Water Sensitive City Plan.

You can choose a workshop time and location that suits you:

Date Location Time
Tuesday 30 October Lawson Mechanics Institute Hall Evening: 7-9pm. Dinner provided
Wednesday 31 October Katoomba Cultural Centre Daytime: 9.30am-12.30pm. Lunch provided
Wednesday 31 October Springwood Sports Club Evening: 7-9pm. Dinner provided

To secure your place, go to: www.watersensitivecityworkshops.eventbrite.com.au

Enquiries: ekennedy@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Phone 4780 5000 (ask for Emma Kennedy or Geoffrey Smith)

Calling all “Buzzinators”   

In celebration of Pollinator week (12th – 19th November)

Can you use your November work day as a day to check your Bushcare Site Bee Hotels?

See who is using them and then email your results to phillipnelson100@gmail.com the convener of the Pollinator website and we will start to compile a list of who’s who – and where…

You can get an idea of which bees you have on site by checking how they are closing up the nest hollows in your Bee Home. Check out Megan Halcroft’s www.beesbusiness.com.au – a very valuable resource!

And this spring remember Pollinators need Food – flowers, shelter and water.

And if your Bushcare site does not have a Bee Hotel do not despair! In early 2018 we will be running another bee hotel making workshop in the lower Mountains. Watch This Space … details coming soon!

A Good Recipe for a Happy Pollinator Garden

Food A pollinator habitat garden is more than just flower beds. By providing an assortment of plants, which flower throughout the year, you are providing a consistent food supply which will encourage pollinating insects and birds to stay, feed, drink, shelter and even reproduce. It is recommended that you plant swathes or large patches of flowers, rather than scattering them randomly through the garden. By planting flowering food-crops in large patches, you encourage specialist pollinators such as bees to forage within these patches, cross pollinating the plants as they move efficiently from flower to flower.

Shelter The next thing you need to do is provide potential shelter. You can include hollow logs, pieces of thick bark and crowds of rocks which will provide shelter and nesting substrate for a variety of pollinators. Resin bees, leafcutter bees and solitary wasps will nest in large drilled holes in wood, which mimic the natural cavities produced by wood-boring insects. Hollow or pithy stems can be collected and bundled up when plants are pruned. These will attract reed bees and masked bees as well as small solitary wasps and ants. By providing small cavities in rockeries or with layers of rolled bark, you will be providing shelter for ladybeetles, resin bees and other pollinators.

In Australia, gardeners are encouraged to mulch their plants, to maintain soil moisture. However, some of our pollinators, such as solitary bees and wasps, nest in the ground and find it hard to dig through the thick layers of mulch. So leave an area of bare ground, at least a metre squared, to encourage ground-nesting bees into your garden.

Water  is necessary for honey bees and birds so include a shallow bird bath, with a large rock in it to reduce the chances of insects drowning. A bowl filled with wet mud will provide minerals and water for some butterfly species and rocks provide insects with a warm place to bask.

Maintenance of your habitat garden is important if the plants and the pollinators are to thrive. Water deeply and regularly to ensure flowers produce plenty of nectar and pollen. Don’t use insecticides. If a plant is infested with many pests, it may need feeding, pruning or pulling out. A healthy garden will not only encourage pollinators, it will encourage wasps, shield bugs, spiders, dragonflies and other natural pest-predators. Keep the water and mud bowls topped up and place a seat out in the garden so you can sit, observe and enjoy your wonderful pollinator habitat garden.

by Megan Halcroft www.beesbusiness.com.au