Tuesday, March 9, 2010

National Dinosaur and Reptile Museums

Our Autumnal seasonal rains have not appeared for over ten years and March in that period of time has been unseasonably dry and warm. Until this year, that is.

As I have mentioned elsewhere we have our two grandsons, 4 and 7, staying with us for two weeks while their other grandparents are touring Egypt and Jordan - City of Petra is on their agenda. The boys are 'city boys' and really got a shock to see fruit growing on trees, vegetables in a garden plot and cows producing milk. They are also experiencing a 'dietry change' and eating good, wholesome and healthy country produce and not the usual supermarket chemical 'Heat-&-and-ready-to-eat' meals. Add to that good clean country air instead of Sydney smog and they are really get a 'lifestyle change'.

They must have caused a weather shift cause this March has been the coolest and wettest we've had so far for a decade. One day alone we got 50mm (2 inches) of rain and its been generally, cool, overcast and damp.
Yesterday we needed a break from their indoor games, nintendos, ceaseless DVD's, etc so we took them over to Gold Creek in Canberra, firstly to the National Dinosaur Museum and then to the Gold Creek Reptile Park.

Here are a few images from both.

Aidan posing in front of a diorama of a model of a raptor dinosaur on the hunt.

Aidan pointing to a real wooly mammoth skull complete with tusks which is part of the 'Hands-on' aspect of the Dinosaur Museum,  Sabre tooth tigers hunting in the background.

A model of a crested pteradactyl

Aidan and James pose in front of a model of Stegosaurus, the actual skeleton of which was dug up by a French Archeologist at a site in Africa in 1837

A pair of live Mountain Pythons laze under a heat lamp in their glass enclosure.

A live Diamond back Python, frequently kept as domestic pets by many reptile enthusiasts because of its placid and non-venomnous nature - it feeds on small mammals like field and barn mice, rats , etc.

Of course, couldn't miss out on our most aggressive of snakes - the Brown Snake. The Brown Snake may be found all over Australia. It has extremely potent venom, and although the quantity of venom injected is usually small, this snake causes more snakebite deaths in Australia than any other.

Sudden and relatively early deaths have been recorded. Its venom causes severe coagulation disturbances, neurotoxicity, and occasionally nephrotoxicity (by a direct action of the venom), but not rhabdomyolysis. There is another type known as the Gwardir (also known as the Western Brown snake) and its cousin, the Dugite spotted brown snake shown below which is found in Western Australia. A brown snake antivenom does exist but it is very expensive and deteriortes quickly so that not all hospitals can carry it and those that do usually only stock one single dose of the antivenom.

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