Monthly Archives: April 2016

Exploring Mexico’s Jungles & Waterfalls on Video

Published on Feb 24, 2016

The Mayans did the impossible: They managed to take a beautiful place, a jungle flecked with cenotes and waterfalls, and make it even more beautiful by building some of the world’s most spectacular ancient cities and temples. When filmmaker Joshua Cowan went to Mexico recently, he was in search of two things: waterfalls and temples within the jungle.

He visited the famous Chichen Itza, the ruins at Palenque, the cataracts of Agua Azul; he went to the tall, storybook Misol-Ha falls, to the stunning chasms of Sumidero Canyon. He says, after his trip, “I didn’t expect to find so many of these places all in one country and so close together.” And now, here they all are in a single video.


Henry Sapiecha

Worker Stacey Konwesier killed in tiger attack at Palm Beach Zoo

An employee at the Palm Beach Zoo died in a Malayan tiger attack while performing a routine procedure on Friday afternoon, a zoo spokeswoman said.

Zoo officials confirmed tiger handler Stacey Konwesier was killed by a tiger.

Zoo worker killed by tiger

Palm Beach Zoo worker Stacey Konwesier died on Friday after being attacked by a Malayan tiger during a routine procedure in the tiger’s enclosure.

Zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter said Konweiser was preparing a male tiger for a show at the zoo called Tiger Talk just before 2pm when the attack happened.

Konweiser, a three-year veteran of the zoo and tiger expert, was doing normal procedural actions with the tiger when it attacked her. Her husband also works for the zoo.

Killed-by-tiger-Stacey Konwesier-image

Killed: Stacey Konwesier. Photo: Brianna Soukup/Palm Beach Post via AP

“Stacey was an expert,” Carter said. “She dedicated her life to her mission of protecting tigers.”

The male tiger was quickly subdued, allowing officials to reach Konweiser. She was taken to St Mary’s Medical Center, where she died.

“This is a family who is in mourning right now,” Carter said of the zoo employees. “We all, myself included, doubled over. We’re a close-knit group here at Palm Beach Zoo. There were tears.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be investigating the death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and grief counsellors were at the zoo.

Staff at the zoo have been left devastated by the death of Stacey Konwesier-image

Staff at the zoo have been left devastated by the death of Stacey Konwesier. Photo: Damon Higgins/Palm Beach Post via AP

“It’s very new and all the details are still coming in,” said Carol Lyn Parrish, spokeswoman for the wildlife commission. “Because it’s an active investigation for us, we are not releasing any information.”

Malayan tigers are “an endangered species – less than 250 in the wild. Four live here at Palm Beach Zoo,” Carter said.

Zoo keepers help breed the tigers to make sure they don’t go extinct, Carter said. “So that’s what was going on with this keeper here today, and this is just an unfortunate situation,” she said.

At no time was any guest at risk of injury, and immediately after the attack, all guests were escorted out of the zoo, Carter said. The zoo remains closed.

“The tiger never escaped,” Carter said. “We have safety protocols for when incidents like this occur. We initiated those safety protocols.”

Officials put the zoo on lockdown and were conducting security sweeps to make sure the zoo’s 500 animals are in their rightful places, Carter said.

Alena Rodriguez, 25, said she was at the zoo with a friend when she heard of an emergency underway. As the emergency unfolded, there was a commotion of the tiger potentially being on the loose, she said.

“We were trying to exit and they forced us into the gift shop,” she said.

Rodriguez and about 25 people, eight of them children, were herded into the gift shop, she said.

“It was very sporadic,” she said. “People didn’t know what was going on.”

Rodriguez saw the tiger at its exhibit at 1pm and decided to come back for the scheduled 2pm feeding. She came back to the tiger cage at 1:50pm and saw a trainer run by and say, “We need to evacuate.”

Rodriguez said that she and her friend tried to exit the zoo and were told to stay in the gift shop. She said she didn’t know what was going on, but she heard sirens. She wasn’t frightened, but was worried for the children, she said.

Then 20 minutes later, she heard from a zoo employee that the tiger was secure and the zoo was closed for the day. The zoo gave attendees a free pass to go back.


Henry Sapiecha


Snake handler dies in 50 minutes after being bitten by  Taipan snake in Australia one of the most deadliest venomous snakes in the world

Wayne Cameron working for his own business, Reptrix Reptile-image

Wayne Cameron working for his own business, Reptrix Reptile

Snake catcher above did own first aid after bite, died 50mins later



1. Coastal Carpet python

Coastal Carpet python-image

Danger: Non-venomous. Bites may cause substantial lacerations or punctures.

Description: Large, heavy bodied snake with a highly variable, mottled and blocked pattern and colour. Mostly white to cream on the underside.

Average size: 2.3m long but large specimens can exceed 3m. Largest reliable record is 4.2m.

General: Most commonly encountered snake in the region. Often lives in ceilings. Active day and night. Large specimens can devour small pets such as dogs, cats and chickens, with smaller specimens taking caged birds.

Diet: Mostly mammals such as rodents, possums, bats, etc; also some reptiles, birds and frogs.

2. Spotted python

spotted python australia image

Danger: Non-venomous. Bites may cause minor lacerations or punctures.

Description: Solidly-built snake but not as large as the Coastal Carpet python. Fawn or pale-brown ground colour with contrasting dark, chocolatey-brown mottled and blotched pattern and colour. Mostly cream on the underside.

Average size: 75cm-1m. Large specimens may reach 1.5m.

General: Nocturnal. Preferred habitat includes rocky outcrops and associated ridges within dry forests and woodland. Will inhabit areas where ground timber is frequent. Mostly found in the Hinterland it is also infrequently found across the coast in and around mountain areas such as Mt Coolum, Buderim and the Glasshouse Mountains.

Diet: Small mammals, birds and lizards.

3. Common tree snake

Common tree snake.image

Common names: Green tree snake, yellow-belied black snake, grass snake. 

Danger: Non-venomous and bites infrequently. Emits strong odour if threatened.

Description: Sleek slender body with long, thin tail. Colour ranges from green, olive, yellow, brown and black to rare blue-grey on upper body. Belly yellow or creamy, with bright yellow on throat. Some specimens with blue or grey belly. Large eyes.

Average size: 1.2m long and up to 2m.

General: Active by day. The most common species to enter homes on the Sunshine Coast. Fast-moving and hard to see in heavy cover.

Diet: Frogs and skinks but will also take small fish.

4. Keelback


Common names: Freshwater snake, Water snake, Swamp tiger.

Danger: Non-venomous. Reluctant to bite. Gererally strikes with mouth closed. Emits strong odour when threatened.

Description: Variable colouring but typically shades of grey, brown or olive with irregular, broken cross-bands or flecks of darker brown and flecks of paler creamy colour. Belly surfaces cream or pale rusty colour with dark scale edges. Feature is each scale has a distinct raised longitudinal ridge, giving the snake an appearance of parallel ridges down the length of the body.

Average size: 60cm but can reach 90cm.

General: Active by day and night. Often encountered in suburban homes and yards throughout moist suburbs or areas where creeks and drainage lie.

Diet: Frogs, lizards and occasionally fish and tadpoles. often noted for its ability to eat cane toads.

5. Brown Tree snake

Brown Tree snake-image

Common names: Night tiger, Eastern brown tree snake.

Danger: Mildly venomous. Bites and causes localised pain and swelling and possibly headaches and nausea. Most experts regard it as a minimal risk to all but young children.

Description: Slender-bodied with bulbous head and narrow neck. Large eyes with vertical pupils. Upper brown to reddish-brown or even dark orange, with irregular indistinct darker cross-bands. Belly creamy, apricot or orange.

Average size: 1.2m up to 2m.

General: Strictly nocturnal. Skilled climber often found in the heavy foliage of trees and shrubs and in roofs.

Diet: Birds, bird eggs, small mammals, frogs and reptiles.

6. Yellow-faced whip snake

Yellow-faced Whip snake-image

Common names: Whip snake, grass snake. 

Danger: Potentially dangerous, especially to children. Bite may cause pain and severe symptoms.

Description: Very slender snake with long, thin whip-like tail. Large prominent eyes. Colour generally pale olive or bluish-grey, often with rusty flush or longitudinal stripes along front-third of body. Belly grayish-green, often yellowish under tail. Distinctive face markings. Obvious pale cream or yellow rim around eye, with dark comma-shaped marking curving back below eye.

Average length: 65-70cm but can grow over 90cm.

General: Swift-moving, alert and with good vision; an active hunter by day or hot nights. Quick to retreat. Often seen in suburban yards in and around rock and timber retaining walls.

Diet: Small lizards, frogs and lizard eggs.

7. Lesser black whip snake

Lesser Black Whip snake.image

Danger: Larger specimens can be potentially dangerous, especially to children. Bite may cause localised pain.

Description: Large prominent eyes. Colour rich dark brown through reddish brown to dark grey, often reddish-brown flush towards tail. Body has pattern of black and white flecks or spots caused by dark and light markings on individual scales. Top of head usually has dark brown spots and flecks, and narrow, pale edge around eye. Belly greenish-grey.

Average size: 1.2m

General: Swift-moving, alert and active by day. Very shy and infrequently encountered.

Diet: Small lizards and frogs.

8. Eastern brown

Eastern brown-snake image

Common names: Common brown snake, brown snake.

Danger: Highly venomous. Accounts for more fatalities than any other Australian snake. A nervous, ready biter it will defend itself if threatened. The second most toxic land snake in the world.

Description: Highly variable in colour and pattern. Colour ranges from pale tan through orange, russet, dark brown and almost black, sometimes with cross-body banding. Belly unusually cream, yellow or orange.

Average size: 1.4m and up to 1.8m.

General: Active hunter by day but active on hot nights. Occasionally climbs in search of prey. Often encountered in and around localities with a strong rodent presence such as bird aviaries and stock feed sheds.

Diet: Primarily small mammals (rats, mice etc.) but also lizards and frogs

9. Red-bellied black

Red-bellied black-snake-image

Danger: Highly venomous. 

Description: Uniform glossy black along whole body. Belly has red or pink flush brighter on the sides and paler in the middle. Hind edge of belly scales is black, creating an even red and black striped appearance. Belly colour is visible along flanks and sides.

Average size: 1.5m and up to 2m.

General: Active by day but has been known to be active on hot nights. Favours wet habitats; rain forest and near water. Reclusive but will inflate and flatten the body and neck to intimidate an aggressor. Fearsome reputation is exaggerated.

Diet: Primarily frogs but also other reptiles (including other snakes) and small mammals.

10. Marsh snake

Marsh snake-image

Common names: Black-bellied swamp snake, Swamp snake.

Danger: Mildly venomous. Bites have been known to cause pain and swelling, possible headaches and nausea. Most authorities regard it as a minimal risk to all but children.

Description: Fairly uniform brown, olive or black above with dark grey or black belly surface. Two prominent narrow pale-yellowish stripes on each side of the face, one running from snout through eye and onto neck area, and one below eye running from snout to corner of mouth.

Average size: 50com up to 70cm.

General: Diurnal, although may also be active at night in hot weather. Shelters under rocks and debris. Uncommon throughout most of the region although common near Beerwah.

Diet: Small frogs and lizards.


Henry Sapiecha

Pregnant woman bitten by ‘trouser snake’ python in bedroom

python carpet snake image

The python was found by Mr McKenzie in the wardrobe. Photo: The Snake Catcher 24/7 – Sunshin

A pregnant woman remained “calm” after she was bitten by a python in her bedroom at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday evening.

The Snake Catcher 24/7 – Sunshine Coast founder Stuart McKenzie was called out to a house in Tewantin at 11pm after reports a python was trapped in a bedroom.

Mr McKenzie talked the pregnant woman and her husband through the steps to take if a python is found in a bedroom, including getting everyone clear of the room, closing the door and securing a towel at the base to keep the python inside.

python snake on mattress image

The pregnant woman was shocked to find a python had bitten her. Photo: The Snake Catcher

It was only after about a minute of talking through these steps on the phone that Mr McKenzie heard the full story.

“About a minute in she said she had been bitten, now at that stage it got a little bit more serious when there was a bite involved, so I had to make sure it actually was a python,” he said.

After confirming it was a python (which are non-venomous) thanks to the woman’s husband sending a picture of the python through to Mr McKenzie, the woman explained how she came to be bitten.
The woman thought she had been scratched by a wire.

python bite marks on foot image

The woman thought she had been scratched by a wire. Photo: The Snake Catcher

“She got out of bed, heavily pregnant, to go to the toilet and walked around the bed in the dark and basically felt a bit of a prick or scratch on the top of their foot. They are renovating and she thought it might have been a bit of wire or something she hit,” he said.

“She turned the bathroom light on and saw a five foot python slithering into the bedroom.”

Mr McKenzie said the python was probably in the house looking for food or water and would have bitten the woman as a defence mechanism.

“It obviously wasn’t trying to eat her or anything like that, she obviously stepped quite close to it and as a defensive strike it just struck out. It didn’t bite and hold, it just scratched the top of her foot,” he said.

“It would have maybe got a bit defensive because it thought something might have been trying to come after it but obviously it was just a coincidence, they were both in the same area at the same time.”

Mr McKenzie said the woman remained “relatively calm” the whole time.

“She had adrenaline pumping which is natural in that situation. I think she was calm because her husband was basically 100 per cent sure it was a python,” he said.

“They are non-venomous, completely harmless, they have a mouth full of small little teeth. Large ones can give you a nasty bite and can occasionally cause serrations but usually it is just a heap of little needles going into your skin.”

Mr McKenzie said this was one of the first times he had heard of someone getting “accidentally” bitten by a python, but said pythons in houses was not uncommon.

“It is pretty rare you encounter them at night after you’re asleep, normally people come home and there will be a snake in the house,” he said.

“The next day on Monday I had a python curled up on the make-up bench of an elderly lady’s bedroom.”

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Python caught on video ‘devouring neighbours’ cat’

A carpet python devours a cat at Sunnybank Hills on Brisbane’s south side – Qld Australia.


A Brisbane snake catcher has captured the moment a carpet python performed its “magic disappearing act” of a neighbourhood cat on Tuesday morning.

Snake Out Brisbane owner and operator Janne Torkkola, a zoologist who has been operating for three years, said he got the call about 6.30am from some slightly “flustered” Sunnybank Hills residents after they found a python eating his breakfast.

“We got a call around 6.30am, we woke up and got told there was a python eating something in a backyard. By the time we got there, the cat was long dead,” he said.

python eats cat images www.pythonjungle (2)

It took the python about an hour to eat the cat. Photo: Snake Out Brisbane/Youtube

“They were obviously surprised and a little bit frightened. We did explain that it was probably a non-venomous carpet python but because it was out in the back yard eating a large item they were quite concerned and flustered by the situation.

“We got there and reassured everyone that it was non-venomous and it was not really dangerous to people so they were happy to sit there with us for a lot of the time while they were getting ready to go off to work.

“By the time we got there he had already constricted the cat and was starting to swallow from the head first so there was nothing we could do for the cat so we thought we would just sit there and wait.

python eats cat images www.pythonjungle (1)

A snake catcher filmed a python consuming a pet cat at Sunnybank Hills. Photo: Snake Out Brisbane/Youtube

“We thought we should at least let the python get a meal out of it because it does take them a lot of energy to get something down of that size.

“We sat there and had a coffee and filmed the python do its magic disappearing act of a cat.”

The unfortunate adult cat was believed to be a neighbour’s pet.

Mr Torkkola said the whole process took roughly an hour and said the most difficult part for the python was the shoulders.

“It was a decent sized cat you could see it struggle a little bit when he got to the shoulders, which is the most difficult part when it comes to swallowing a large prey item, but once he gets over those shoulders things start to go a bit smoother for him,” he said.

“Generally their feeding behaviour is to capture and constrict it and when they are done constricting they will release from where they have bitten it and position themselves to be able to swallow, head first.

“Then they will use the coils of their body to help push it along and they will walk their top jaw along and use their upper neck as well to form little S loops, which they will then kind use to push their mouth over the prey with and will keep on doing that until it is slowly swallowed.”

Mr Torkkola said they were “very well designed” to consume such large prey items.

“Sometimes they take such big prey items that they cause a small puncture on themselves, they pop a little bit, but if it is not a major tear they will deal with it fine, they will curl up in the bush for a couple of weeks and heal up and go and do it again,” he said.

Most calls out to Sunnybank Hills were in relation to pythons or tree snakes, Mr Torkkola said, with only the “occasional” venomous snake sightings.

“We ask people to remember these are native and protected animals and to not attempt to approach or handle them without being in the presence of a trained professional who is licenced for wildlife handling,” Mr Tokkola said.


Henry Sapiecha