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Other high risk species

 Have you seen an unusual non-native animal in your local area?

Indian Ring-Neck Parakeet

The Indian ring-neck parakeet (Psittacula krameri) (also known as the rose-ringed parakeet or African ring-necked parakeet), originates from Africa, the middle-east and Asia. Adult Indian ring-necks average 37-43cm in length and have long tails. They are pale yellow-green in colour with red beaks. Males have a narrow black and pink collar around their neck. They have a distinctive screeching call, typically a shrill kee-ak. Their flight pattern is quick and direct, with rapid beating wing. 
The Indian ring-neck parakeet commonly lives in hollows and cavities greater than 3.5m off the ground. They can live up to 20 years in captivity. Indian ring-necks can occupy a range of habitats from deserts, dry open scrub and bush land, rain forests, agricultural landscapes, gardens, and within built up areas. The Indian ring-neck is a very adaptable bird and eats a range of fruits and vegetables, as well as cereals and legumes. They can fed in flocks of up to several hundred when food is plentiful, therefore posing a significant threat to our agriculture, horticulture and orchard industries. They out-compete many threatened native birds for nesting sites, can become a noise nuance and foul public areas. A risk assessment undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Food in Western Australia, ranked the Indian ring-neck parakeet as an extreme risk to Australia (the highest of four levels), with many of Australia's climatic conditions resembling their current range overseas. They can carry Newcastle Disease and Cryptosporidium, and inflict a very hard bite. 

Californian King Snake

Californian king snakes (Lampropeltis californiae) originate from southwestern USA to northern Mexico. Their scales are smooth and shiny in appearance. Colours range from black and white, to brown, cream and yellow, and the most common colouring is light cross-banding on a dark backgroundFemales reach sexual maturity around 3-4 years, and lay 8-10 eggs that hatch within 6-8 weeks.
Juveniles are 20-25cm long, and adults can grow up to 75-120cm. The average adult weight is 400-800g, although some weigh up to 1500g. Their head is slightly wider than their neck and spoon-shaped with a rounded jaw. They also have round pupils. Depending on location, Californian king snakes may be nocturnal or diurnal. When threatened, they release an unpleasant musk scent and shake their tail. They can inflict a non-venomous bite. This species can live in a variety of habitats, including forest, grassland, semi-desert and farmland. Californian king snakes are popular pets globally, and kept both legally and illegally. They can carry diseases and parasite that have devastating impacts on native species due to their non-selective diets.  

Indian Palm Squirrel

Indian palm squirrels (Funambulus palmarum) are native to Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. They are about the same size as a black rat, approximately 22-40cm from head to tail tip, and weight between 60-200g. They are usually grey-brown with tones of red. Their underbelly is a white-creamish colour in some species, and red in others. 
Three-five distinctive stripes (depending on the species) run along their back. Their tails are bushy with a mixture of white and black hairs. They have small, triangular shaped ears and chisel shaped teeth. Indian palm squirrels are generally most active during the day, feeding both on the ground and in trees, are agile and can move quickly. They become sexually mature at approximately nine months of age. Breeding occurs from spring to autumn. Females give birth after a 42 day gestation period, producing from one-five young per litter, and up to two litters per year. Nests are created in both trees and houses (walls and roofs) and are lined with grass. Their average life expectancy is approximately six years. Indian palm squirrels cause significant damage to orchards in their native home range, eating flowers and ripe fruit, and damaging unripe fruit and vegetables crops. As they nest inside roofs and walls, they also chew and damage the electrical wiring in houses. Indian palm squirrels can bite and may carry exotic diseases such as rabies.

African Pygmy Hedgehog 

The African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) is originally from the central belt of Africa. They are a small mammal with spines 0.5-1.5cm in length along their back and sides, short legs and have a pointed muzzle. They weight between 250-600g and are approximately 21cm in length. Colours are a mix of grey, brown and white on their back and sides. They have dark colouration on their ears and muzzle with white underbellies. Some present as albino.
Female hedgehogs reach sexual maturity at one year of age and give birth to one litter per year consisting of between two-ten young. Their average life span is approximately two-three years,  but can live up to 10 years. The African pygmy hedgehog has an omnivorous appetite which impacts many insects, snails, lizards and ground-dwelling bird nests (eggs and chicks). In addition, they can carry foot and mouth disease, salmonella, Q-fever and Toxoplasmosis. These diseases negatively affect human health and can cripple the Australian agricultural industry.

Boa Constrictor

Boa constrictors (Boa constrictor) originate from North, Central and South America, including the northern region of Mexico and north-west Argentina. Juvenile boa constrictors are 30-60cm long while adults can grow up to 3-5m, making them one of the world’s largest snakes. Their average weight is 10-15kg, although some can reach 45kg. Colours include combinations of tan, green, red and yellow. These are displayed in patterns of lines, spots, ovals, diamonds and circular shapes (saddles), which are more pronounced towards the tail. 
Boa constrictors have an arrow shaped head with a prominent stripe running dorsally from the nose to the back of the head. They reach sexual maturity at three-four years and can produce between 25-80 live young that are independent upon birth. Female boa constrictors can store sperm for up to 21 months. They have been known to live up to 30-40 years. Boa constrictors live in a range of habitats from rain forest to desert. They spend much of their time in burrows or in hollow logs for protection. Boa constrictors can swim and can also be found around water bodies. They are generally only active at night, and will often reside in peri-urban environments, limiting their distance travelled when food and shelter are readily available. Boa constrictors have established wild populations in Florida (USA) and Cozumel Island in Mexico. They feed on a range of small mammals, birds and their eggs, lizards, amphibians and other larger animals. They have hooked teeth which they use to hold onto their prey while suffocating them. Boa constrictors pose a serious establishment risk to Australian due to similarities in our climate, habitat types, food sources and geographic range.

Veiled Chameleon

Veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) originate from the southwestern coast of Saudi Arabia and western Yemen. Male colour combinations include bright gold, green and blue bands with yellow, orange and black markings. Females will have blue colouration on their chest and are typically light green with mottled white and gold colours. They have a casque on the top of their heads (up to 5cm). Males grow to 61cm and females about 30cm in length. 
Veiled chameleons are an aboreal species and move in a slow rocking manner to mimic leaves blowing. Females become sexually mature at six-eight months and can lay three-five clutches per year consisting of 30-85 eggs. Eggs take six-eight months to hatch. Males can live up to five years and females up to three years. Veiled chameleons have had detrimental impacts on small birds, insects and vegetation in ecosystems where they have established (Hawaii and Florida). The Bomford Risk Assessment model, used to determine the risk that introduced species pose to Australia, classifies this species as a ‘Serious’ threat. They can carry exotic parasite which can impact native animals and human health. Management of Chameleons is difficult as manual search and removal is the only effective method. As they can change body colour to match their surrounding environment, detection can be difficult.

Asian Black-Spined Toad

The Asian black-spined toad (Duttaphrynus melanosticus) originates from China, southern Asia, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Indonesia. They are a medium to large size amphibian with short hind legs. Their colours range from a mix of grey, red and brown tones, with prominent black bony ridge on the upper lip and above the eyes. The underbelly is white, cream or light brown. The body is covered with brown-black spots. The toes have black tips which are a hooked like shape. 
There are two oval parotid glands on either side of the head which secrete poison to killing their predators. This species is ground dwelling. During the day, Asian black-spined toads will hide under shelter such as logs, leaf little and rubbish. They become active at night and can often be found at well-lit areas collecting insects. Asian black-spined toads prefer disturbed land close to forest edges, creek lines and urban environments. They can inhabit temperate-tropical climates. They can produce up to 40,000 eggs in just one clutch. The out-compete native frogs for food and shelter and eat many native species in various life stages. They are not native to Australia and have the ability to carry exotic diseases and parasites which are detrimental to the Australian agricultural industry, human health and the environment.

Green Iguana

Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) originate from central and south America. They are a large lizard (1.5-2m, 9kg), with colours ranging from grey-green, light purple, orange and red with black markings. Larger males will have loose hanging skin from their neck called a dewlap. Adults have spines along the centre of their back and a distinctive patch of scales on either side of their head. Their long-tapered tails have dark coloured rings.
Females reach sexual maturity at four years, and can store sperm for several years. They lay clutches of 20-70 eggs annually in burrows up to one meter deep, during synchronised nesting. Juveniles grow quickly and remain in family groupings through their first year of life. Green iguanas interbreed with other native iguanas and out-compete species for food and shelter. They build burrows which impact coastal structures such as board walks and facilitate erosion. They may be aggressive to humans and other animals if threatened and can bite, scratch and inflict damage with their ridged tail.

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Banksia Sustainability Awards 2016