Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pre-Party Herping . . . Python!

Addictions. That is the theme of our floor party tonight. Most of the students on my dorm floor will probably just tape empty Goon bags all over themselves, because let's face it, many of my dorm neighbors find enjoyment in alcohol. I'm the odd ball, even though my costume is simply a mask with "Poker Face" written on it, and a playing card neck piece, my real addiction is wildlife.

I love spending my time in the bush. It doesn't matter what I'm doing before or after, or even more tired I am, I'm always keen for a walk through the bush. On this particular night, the night of my floor party, I fancied going for a walk on my way back to my dormitory. Yes, the floor party started an hour ago, but who even shows up on time to these things?

After a significant detour, only seeing a gecko Gehyra dubia, I decide to follow the creek back through campus to my Hall.

I notice a set of bright white eyes, reflecting my light beam back, and my heart starts to pick up the tempo. Upon closer inspection, I find it's a common bushtailed possum Trichosurus vulpecula. Gosh these guys are adorable! I  approach this one so closely I can even see his breathing increase with nervousness as I near. As a car passes on the road behind us, he decides this chance is a great excuse to bound away up a tree.

My creek walk turns to go under a building, and right before the building, I see a whopper of a python, thermo-regulating to digest a small meal on the bare bank of the creek. What a beautiful creature! She has no concern of my presence here, so I snap a few up close photos and take a few measurements before heading off to my dormitory.

Encounters with a these 2.3m long pythons, or sneaking in close to possums are what I particularly relish. Times like these give me a feeling of natural belonging and a connection to fundamental instincts that are so scarce in this day and age. And as I sit with my "poker face" on, sipping on my water, I watch the games of beer pong at the floor party; I am utterly confused about the whole ecology of the "college party ecosystem."

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