Came upon this two-metre Carpet Python (Morelia spilota macdowelli) curled up in a warm spot beside a sugar cane track today. Looks in need of a feed. But pythons can become almost skinfold thin behind the head. This snake would not merit a post except for the almost overlooked Green Tree Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) seemingly pinching a pleat in its neck.
An illusion of course. The ant just happened by. But later I had closer ant encounters. Going into a grove to check on a robin's nest, I flushed a Large-tailed Nightjar. It landed nearby on a low branch and settled down. A way looked open to crawl under some guavas and through a bit of long grass to get pictures.
On hands and knees with camera flopping on my spine, I set off. Then noticed the leaf litter was teeming with green ants. A short crawl later and ants and I arrived within about six metres of the bird. But the angle, shadows and backlight made the task hopeless. After sitting back and watching all this, the bird effortlessly uplifted elsewhere.
Leaving me with the ants. And here's the strange part. Anyone who's wandered through rainforest and brushed against a few trees will have met the stinging defence of green ants. Can get nippy inside a shirt!
Today's ants jawed themselves in to hands and arms, but didn't follow up with stinging fluid from their abdomens. Picking them off gently was almost painless for both parties.
I assume that because there was no nest disturbed the chemical signal for all-out aggression wasn't fired off.
Townsville Common Cons. Pk, track to Jacana hide, today. Flew off a second later with lighter load.
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