Rainbow Lorikeets can be aggressive towards other native parrots, especially around nesting hollows. This prevents other native parrots from nesting, and since the introduction of the bird they have been known to throw Australian Ringneck nestlings from their home.
This is the key reason they are considered pests in Australia, and research has shown they disrupt the balance of native Australian birds and wildlife.
Why do Rainbow Lorikeets make good pets?
Putting the issues with Rainbow Lorikeets in the Australian environment aside, many Australians keep them as pets.
Whilst these birds are known to be aggressive around other parrots, as pets they are beautiful birds who love human company. Owners of Rainbow Lorikeets will tell you how chatty these birds are, with a playful and highly interactive nature. Simply put, they quickly become a part of the family.
They love to entertain and show off their bubbly personalities, both to you and your guests.
Rainbow Lorikeets also enjoy the company of the same species, especially when raised from a nestling upwards. There’s a saying about two birds being better than one, which is true for these birds.
Why do they NOT make a good pet?
Before you go out and buy one, lets take a look at the flipside.
Rainbow Lorikeets are messy.
Their feaces needs to be cleaned every other day, as if it isn’t it quickly becomes very unpleasant. Loris can also projectile deficate from their cage, which is due to their daily nectar diet along with fresh fruit.
Some owners prefer to use dry nectar as opposed to wet nectar which can help make their poops less “squirty”.
Lorikeets like to splash around in their water baths, usually twice per day, meaning the water goes all over the floor. You’ll be surprised at the mess they can make.
Male and Female Loris appear the same, so if you have two then it’s worth getting a DNA analysis by a vet.
Like other parrots Rainbow Lorikeets can be noisy, so make sure you get on with your neighbours if they’re in close proximity!
Do you own a Rainbow Lorikeet? Are they a pest or a pet?
Persistent “Bioaccumulation” through food chains and in air and soil have brought devastation to wildlife and humankind.
A move from stable organochlorine products like DDT, to organophosphorus substances that break down quicker, has only multiplied the number of substances we are exposed to, and slowed facing up to the key issues.
Using a no-selective compound means when predators of particular insect pests are killed by these “non-selective” products, the surviving pest populations continue to expand faster than they would if the predators were still alive.
Hence, the broadcasting of non-selective or “broad-spectrum” pesticides has always proved to be self-defeating.
This behaviour creates imbalances that tend to favour the pests. It also elicits pesticide resistance which increases over subsequent generations to the point a strong resistance becomes the norm.
Did you know this practice can mean a pesticide can become obsolete in just a few years?
Disposal of toxic by-products, and how it effects us
Improper disposal techniques for toxic by-products are only considered “after-the-fact”.
Waiting until after these toxins have contaminated landfill sites, whether the contamination was known or not, is often worse than known broadcast spraying.
Accidental leakage can occur from drums at temporary storage sites or where storage containers have become damaged.
These harmful chemicals have moved into water ways, into storm water systems and by indirect (leakage) and direct (blatant dumping) into our oceans and rivers. Our sea food then becomes the target, which in turn comes back to effect us through consumption.
The fruit and vegetables available at our supermarkets and fresh food outlets are often sampled and checked for pesticide residues. Rarely would this kind of test show zero or low levels of organochlorine compounds.
How constant use of pesticides makes the problem worse
Constant application of synthetic pesticide chemicals usually builds up a resistant strain of pests which the chemical was sprayed to eliminate.
This type of chemical resistance can be seen and proven in many areas including things like chemicals used to control infections in humans (anti-biotics) where we often see resistance build up over time.
Unfortunately regulations governing the use of pesticides are only increased after the damage is done.
Chemicals like this should be banned instead of being released, not restricted after “irreversible damage” is done.
Insecticides are just one of many chemicals used to control pests and disease “after the fact”. Fungicides and herbicides also thrive in a chemical dominant society, and average figures given in most research do not give a complete picture.
Heavy insecticide applications on crops, and what we can do about it
At the moment, growers are relying on heavy insecticide applications which provide an unsatisfactory level of control.
Synthetic pesticides are now, as in the past, being used excessively by commercial vegetable growers, and unfortunately due to varied pricing and farmers wanting to maximise their return, withholding periods are not always observed.
It is obvious to suggest what not to buy, and instead, grow for yourself. A clear message for us consumers is to not buy any fruits or vegetables at the beginning or the end of the season.
The ONLY way to be certain of avoiding the intake of pesticide residues is to grow your own food in total absence of pesticides.
From an organic point of view certifiable standards are available. There are several organic organisations providing guidelines.
In Australia, these include Biodynamic Agricultural Association of Australia (BDAAA), Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA), Organic Growers of Australia, and NASAA, National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia,
To some operators, the word “organic” is just another marketing game, but to others, it is a serious commitment.
It is generally considered most organic produce is more expensive, but you will be certain to save and ensure freshness by growing as much as you can in your own garden – this is not only much cheaper, but also much more rewarding for us.
Bats can consume half their body weight in insects per night during the warmer/summer months. Pregnant bats can consume up to their entire body weight in insects per night in the warmer/summer months.
Microbats go into ‘torpor’ during the cooler/colder months from approximately May to August.
Flying-foxes do not go into torpor so need to feed and drink all year around.
Bats must not be disturbed when in ‘torpor’/hibernation as they can lose their energy/fat supply which has been stored/built-up ready for the winter, resulting in the eventual death of the bats.
Microbats are our most environmentally-friendly pest exterminators feeding on many mosquitoes, beetles, flies, moths, and many, many more insects.
Flying-foxes are one of our essential night pollinators and long-distance ‘native tree’ planters/foresters.
Bats generally live to between 5-10 years but can live up to 20 – 30 years. A small Myotis Fishing Bat has been recorded living approximately 41 years!! (Susan Barnard – Bats in Captivity Volume)
Bats can hang upside down by their feet, with little effort. It takes more effort for a bat to release the tendons in its feet to fly away.
The word ‘Chiroptera’ – the Order of Bats – means ‘hand-wing’. Microchiroptera (sub-order) relates to our microbats. Megachiroptera (sub-order) relates to our megabats, for example, the Flying Foxes/Fruit/Blossom Bats.
Bats have incredible membranes in between their elongated fingers. They do have a thumb and four fingers.
Bats have varying tails, for example, a tail which is enclosed fully within the membrane like the Gould’s Wattled Bat. The Yellow-Bellied Sheathtail Bat has half its tail enclosed in the tail membrane. The White-Striped Freetail Bat and the Southern Freetail Bat have a ‘free-tail’ with minimal tail membrane. The Flying Foxes have no tail.
The rare Ghost Bat can be viewed at the Adelaide Zoo. These Ghost Bats are part of the Australasian Regional Zoos Program. The Adelaide Zoo has had reasonable success with breeding Ghost Bats, and have bred 17 individuals in the past 10 years.
The most commonly ‘heard’ bats around Adelaide are the White-Striped Freetail Bat and the Yellow-Bellied Sheathtail Bat (due to humans only being able to hear at approximately 20khz and below).
The most commonly ‘rescued’ bats are the Gould’s Wattled Bat, the Lesser Long-eared Bat, the Southern Freetail Bat, the Chocolate Wattled Bat.
Bats are placental mammals giving birth to live pups/young just like humans do and only have 1-2 babies per year if that! Twins are common in some species of Microbats.
There are presently 8 common species, 6 rare species and 1 endangered species.
Diet, Habitat & Behaviour
Microbats consume approximately half their body weight in insects per night over the warmer/summer months. They are our natural pest-controllers. Their diet is full of many types of insects, including mosquitoes, moths, beetles, flying ants, caterpillars and flies.
Microbats are nocturnal. They are warm-blooded, placental mammals. They live in tree-hollows, under loose/exfoliating bark, in old sheds, in caves, and also co-exist with humans in their homes, for example, in roof spaces and wall linings without any concerns in general.
In the cooler months, between May to August, our bats go into torpor, similar to hibernation. They must not be disturbed during these cooler months. If they are disturbed, they can lose their precious fat storage/supplies that they have built up ready for their slumber, and possibly die as a consequence.
Microbats are very secretive little creatures. We need to respect their privacy and let them go about their business – eradicating all those pest insects the natural way!
Threats To Our Bat Populations
Humans seem to be the major threat to bats! We are taking away their habitat daily. We are cutting down trees which provide homes for these little nocturnal mammals (tree hollows take approximately 100 years to develop!).
We use too many pesticides in our parks and gardens. Remember our bats eat some of these insects that have been poisoned!
Our domesticated cats and dogs can also bring these little mammals inside to show us what they have caught like they do with mice and baby birds!
Here are some reasons why bats in Australia require rescue and human help:
They are brought in by domesticated cats and dogs
They are brought in because they are found on the ground/exposed during the day (this is not where they should be)
They have fractures to their very delicate bones, generally to the forearm
They have torn membranes – wing damage
They have been electrocuted/severe burns
They have Alopecia – fur/hair loss
They are Anaemic
They are about to give birth
They are very thin
They are still pups – baby bats are called pups
They can land in dog/animal water-bowls and swimming pools and need assistance and drying out before they can be released that evening (depending once again on weather conditions/season, and condition of the bat). They have come down for a drink and, unfortunately, cannot fly back out again once water-logged
Usually though, a short time in care can see bats released back into their natural habitat.
Cats especially will pierce the skin/tear membranes and will generally infect the bat as cats carry many bacteria on their teeth. Immediate Veterinarian attention is necessary to help save the bat. Please go to www.catbib.com.au for the CatBib which can help prevent cats from killing our wildlife.
Disturbance to bats during Autumn and Winter when they are hibernating/in torpor can kill many bats. So please stay away from caves, especially, where many cave-dwelling bats will colonise and torpor during the colder months.
On occasions, bats are found in homes (roof spaces/wall linings), sheds (under hessian bags or horse blankets), roosting in/on machinery and other cosy, warm spots! Please do not disturb or handle them. Please contact us for assistance.
Natural causes including drought, storms and climate change are impacting on bat populations, especially, the Southern Bent-wing Bat which is now endangered within South Australia! This species is critically endangered around Australia!! Further reading is available on the Southern Bent-wing Bat of the Naracoorte Caves.
Please contact James Smith, FauNature for further advice on bats co-existing with people and the benefits of artificial roost boxes.
The Ghost Bat, Australia’s largest carnivorous echolocating bat, was recorded in the past (prior to 1970) around the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. This bat is a threatened ‘vulnerable’ species, restricted to caves and abandoned mines. This species is now restricted to Tropical Northern Australia. Destruction and disturbance have caused their numbers to dramatically decline (Sue Churchill – ‘Australian Bats’ – Second Edition). Zoos SA – Adelaide Zoo – have been part of the Australasian Regional Zoo Conservation Program for over ten years with reasonable success, having bred over 17 individuals during this period of time. The lifespan of the Ghost Bat is approximately 15 to 20 years.
Echolocation – ‘Seeing with Sound’!
Bats emit a high-frequency call when searching for their insects. The call is emitted from the mouth and nose of the bat. The sonar pulses/signals emitted are returned to the bat as an echo, giving the bat the information of the size of insect and its location. Most bat sonar pulses are beyond the range of human hearing.
Two Adelaide bats are within our range of hearing, these being:
Yellow-bellied Sheathtail Bat (Saccolaimus flaviventris)
White-striped Freetail Bat (Tadarida australis)
There is a lovely book available now through CSIRO – ‘BATS – Working the Night Shift’.
This is an excellent book if you wish to learn more about Echolocation and anything else about our beautiful Australian bats! Dr Greg Richards and Dr Les Hall are the wonderful authors.
Bat Conservation International also have an Educational Manual called ‘Discovering Bats’ which has a very informative section on Echolocation.
Microbat Care & Rehabilitation Process
We assess the bat for any injuries, and have Veterinarians who can assist us promptly with treatment and medications.
Depending upon the injury, some of the bats that have come into care go back to where they came from within a few days. Unfortunately, many require euthanasing due to their terrible injuries.
Only a small number of microbats are kept in permanent care if they are unable to be released back into the wild. Specialised Permits must be obtained from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources to care for these specialised mammals.
In care, our orphaned pups receive Wombaroo Insectivorous Bat Milk Replacer (a wonderful South Australian product). Our juvenile and adult bats are offered mealworms, moths, crickets and woodies in general. Supplementary additives such as Wombaroo Insect Booster (new product line), Wombaroo Small Carnivore/Insectivore Mixture and Missing Link (Omega 3 Supplement) are also provided as a medium/gut-loader for our insects prior to feeding to our bats. Visit Wombaroo for more information on these wonderful products!
Fresh water is also a necessity daily as bats do enjoy, and require, their drinks of water.
Case Study: Gould’s Wattled Bats
This is a photograph of mum (middle) and twin male Gould’s Wattled Bats born in care.
These twin males were approximately 6 weeks of age in this photograph. The twins were born on 4 November 2007.
By approximately 3 months of age, these pups are weaned from their mother’s milk and are independent, out in the night sky catching their own insects.
For some excellent Resources on caring for orphaned pups, please refer to Basically Bats, Batworld Sanctuary and the other wonderful carers listed under the Links & Bat Books / Educational Brochures sections.
Releasing Microbats back into the Wild
Bats MUST be able to fly extremely well before being released back into the wild.
They must be eating well.
Artificial roost boxes are provided for those bats that are to be in care for a longer period so when the time comes for release, their new/alternative home can be fixed to a nice tall tree. These boxes need to be fixed at 4 metres or more to avoid predation by cats and foxes. They require a clear flight path.
You will find a Downloadable Guide to the Snakes of Tasmania (including Emergency Numbers, First Aid, and Safety) at the bottom of this page. Please feel free to share the guide with attribution to Human Animal Science.
Types of Tasmanian Snakes
There are three types of snake species in Tasmania – the Tiger snake (Notechris scutatus), Copperhead (Austrelaps superbus) and White-lipped snake (Drysdalia coronoidies):
All three species of Tasmanian Snake are venomous.
⚠️ First Aid for Snake Bite
Snake bite is an acute medical emergency and it is important to act quickly and effectively.
In the event of a snake bite:
Stay calm, safety comes first – check that the snake is not still near the victim.
Keep the victim as still as possible and immediately apply a pressure bandage.
Start the bandage over the bite site and continue to the end of the limb leaving fingers or toes exposed. Work back over the bite site to the top of the limb until the entire limb is covered. Immobilise the limb.
Ring 000 for medical assistance.
Mobile phones: ring 112(please see important note under Contacts section below)
Bring transport to the victim if possible, or carry the person on a makeshift stretcher. It is important that the person is kept as still as possible.
Identification of the snake is unnecessary as the antivenom is effective for all three species of Tasmanian snakes.
Once the pressure bandage is in place, treat the victim for shock; i.e. keep warm, monitor breathing and heart rate. Do not give food or drink.
If person loses consciousness, place victim in coma position on the unaffected side and keep airways clear.
Monitor fingers/toes – if they turn blue or white and go cold, the bandage is on too tight.
Do not cut or suck the bite site.
Do not release the bandage until victim has received advice from qualified medical practitioner.
⚠️ What not to do in the event of a snake bite!
Do not apply a tourniquet
Do not suck or cut a snake bite
Do not attempt to catch the snake
Do not let the victim walk about
Encountering Snakes of Tasmania
Snakes may be seen in the most surprising places including towns and industrial areas, particularly during summer when water is in short supply.
If possible, it’s always best to leave snakes alone.
Although most snakes will only be passing through, they do occasionally take up residence in suburban yards.
During prolonged dry periods, snakes are attracted to gardens in search of water, shelter and food (i.e. lizards, frogs, goldfish and mice/rats).
To minimise the presence of snakes around your home:
Keep your lawns mowed.
Minimise rubbish and garden waste.
Stack wood away from the house.
Do not have standing water in bowls or ponds close to the house.
If you have a pet dog or cat you must take extra precautions. Your pet cat may even bring a snake indoors to show it off to you – keep cat flaps closed!
Most people get bitten when they attempt to kill or handle a snake, or may have accidentally trodden on it. The last person to die from snake bite in Tasmania was bitten by a Tiger snake in 1966.
The best thing to do if you see a snake, is to stand very still and let it go on its way or if safe to do so, back away from it very slowly.
Contacts & Assistance with Reptiles*
North West Coast
Central North Wildlife Care & Rescue Inc: 0409 978 064
If your carrier does not have service but another carrier does, the emergency number will automatically use that.
However, if there is no service at all in the area you won’t get through.
If you are going into the bush, always let someone know when you are leaving, due to return and where you are going.
Always carry an EPIRB and two bandages if you are going into remote areas.
* Please note: snake relocations will incur a fee
💡 Tasmanian Snake Facts
Below are a set of answers to commonly asked questions about the snakes of Tasmania.
Tasmania has three species of snakes, the Tiger snake, Copperhead and White-lipped snake (formally known as whip snake), which are widely distributed throughout the State.
All three types of Tasmanian snakes species are venomous.
Snakes cannot regulate their body heat. They need to warm up in the sun, and become sluggish in cold weather.
Snakes breed and birth in March/April and then go into hibernation for the winter, emerging in spring when temperatures warm up. Snakes will hibernate anywhere that is warm and dry and do not eat until they emerge from their torpor.
Tasmanian snakes give birth to live young and do not lay eggs.
Snakes generally give birth every second year.
Copperheads give birth to 6–12 young; Tiger snakes between 20-30 and White-lipped snake approximately 2-6 young. Only a small percentage of the young survive to adulthood.
Baby snakes are as venomous as adult snakes (just produce less venom).
Snakes usually hide from the hot sun between 10am and 2pm, but will move around on cloudy days.
Some snakes can live up to 30 years.
Snakes will eat each other, frogs, tadpoles, lizards, small birds and marsupials, mice, rats and rabbits.
Most snakes are good climbers and have been found in roofs and up trees.
Tiger snakes and Copperheads are amongst the top 10 most venomous snakes in the world. Their venom is designed to quickly kill their prey in order to minimise the potential for injury to the snake.
Both Copperhead and Tiger snakes have wide colour variations ranging from black to yellow, red and brown.
Snakes are immune to their own venom.
According to the records, no Copperheads have been responsible for any snake bite deaths in Tasmania.
What to do if you find a snake at home
If you find a snake on your property, make sure you take the following steps:
Do not approach the snake. Secure children and pets safely away from the area.
Keep the snake under constant observation if safe to do so, and ring for help.
Lizard or Snake?
The completely harmless lizard, the She-oak skink (Cyclodomorphus casuarinae) is only found in Tasmania and is often mistaken for a small snake.
This is mainly because as well as flicking its tongue, it can tuck its legs and move along the ground with snakelike motion.
Roles and Values
Like most native mammals, birds and reptiles, Tasmanian snakes are protected by law.
They are an important source of food for the larger birds of prey and do an excellent job of controlling introduced pests such as rabbits, rats and mice which have a detrimental effect on farms and natural bushland.
Reptiles depend on native bush for their survival.
As more bushland is cleared for homes, agriculture and industry, animals have to adapt to the new environments to find food, shelter and breeding sites.
Unless areas can be reserved to provide habitat, snakes will be seen more often in gardens and urban areas.
First Aid for Reptiles
Snakes frequently get caught up in strawberry netting. If this happens, do not attempt to free them.
If it is a hot day, throw a towel over them, keep them shaded, cool and moist (light spray with water) and call an expert snake handler.
Bluetongues may also get caught in netting, and although they may bite it is more safe to attempt to free them yourself (with care).
Bluetongues may be injured by family pets or lawnmowers, or other items around the home or garden.
Carefully scoop the animal into a secure cardboard box with a towel in the bottom to prevent sliding, and keep in a cool dark place and call wildlife rescue.
Injured snakes should only be handled by experts. Keep the snake under surveillance and ring for help from a handler.
Snakes on the Move!
Increasing day length and warmer temperatures in late spring tempt Tasmania’s snakes out of winter torpor.
All three Tasmanian species (Copperhead Austrelaps superbus, tiger snake Notechis scutatus and white-lipped snake Drysdalia coronoides) are now on the move.
While all are venomous, only tiger snakes have claimed human lives, although this was mainly before the development of antivenom in the 1930’s.
While Tasmania’s snakes have a reputation for aggression, most behaviour that people find threatening is largely bluff.
This is borne out by a very simple fact; in most rural areas snakes are present in very high densities, but bites to people are very rare.
Snakes will always retreat if given the opportunity to do so and even in very rare cases when tiger snakes feel sufficiently threatened to advance towards a person, they will not bite but veer away.
Most snake bites occur when people are attempting to capture or kill snakes.
If you see a snake at a safe distance simply walk away or around it.
If a snake is disturbed very close to you, the best thing to do (but also the hardest for many people) is to stay completely still.
With poor eyesight limited to about 1 meter, if you are not moving the snake will crawl passed you without being aware of your presence.
While the potential negative side of having snakes in your environment often receives plenty of press, the positives rarely do.
Tiger snakes have a very broad diet which includes introduced rodents such as mice, rats and juvenile rabbits.
These rodents are responsible for a lot of agricultural damage and few land owners appreciate the enormous numbers of these pests that snakes consume every year.
Copperheads also consume rats and mice but tend to specialise on frogs.
The ecological health of your dams, creeks and lagoons can be very quickly gauged by the presence or absence of healthy copperhead populations.
Without exception, high copperhead densities reflect high frog densities and high frog densities reflect a healthy ecosystem on your property.
While many land holders are not overly concerned by snakes away from homesteads and stock yards, there are a number of things you can do to deter snakes from choosing to take up residence close to human dwellings.
Most reptiles are very good at conserving water, mostly by absorbing moisture from prey and having a slow metabolism and scaly skin.
During dry weather, snakes often move closer to homesteads and urban areas in pursuit of prey such as frogs and rodents.
While snakes may not need lots of water in hot weather, their prey generally does.
Snakes can be discouraged by reducing cover for them as well as their prey.
Keep grass very short, stack timber, roofing iron etc well off the ground and away from residences and above all, eradicate rodent populations quickly. Nothing will encourage a large tiger snake around your house like an outbreak of rats.
While all Tasmanian snakes are protected, they can be destroyed if deemed a threat to people or livestock.
Given the many positives of having these snakes on your property, an alternative response should be considered.
There are a range of people around the state who will relocate the snake to a more remote part of your property without any of the risks of trying to kill the animal yourself
Downloadable Snakes of Tasmania Guide + Safety & First Aid (PDF)
The below guide to the Snakes of Tasmania (including Safety & First Aid) may be printed or shared. If sharing, please link to this page as the source.
When someone turns a fun hobby into a game changing tool for good, it’s inspirational!
That’s exactly what Lian Pin Koh has achieved in bringing affordable drone technology to aid conservation scientists.
A tropical ecologist by training, Associate Professor Lian Pin Koh received his PhD from Princeton University, where he studied the environmental and policy implications of oil-palm development in Southeast Asia.
He then spent several years researching key scientific and policy issues concerning tropical deforestation and its impacts on carbon emissions and biodiversity while based in Zurich.
Lian Pin currently leads the Applied Ecology & Conservation group at The University of Adelaide in South Australia, where they ultimately seek to do good for society.
In this episode, we speak with Lian Pin and learn about his exciting work using drones in conservation.