Python Hunters Australia
LEARNING TASK EPISODE
Cane Toad Madness
Upper Primary, Junior Secondary, Senior Secondary
Choose one of Australia’s python species and do some Internet research to help compile a fact file about it. Include the following, and accompany your fact file with a sketch of the python:
• the species of python you chose
• its maximum length
• what it looks like (colours and patterns)
• where it lives
• what it eats
• when it hunts
• how it kills its prey
• when it mates
• what makes this python different from other pythons
Answer the following questions about cane toads:
• why were they introduced to Australia?
• where did they come from?
• when did they first arrive?
• what do they eat?
Write about 50 words to describe how to rehabilitate a python or other snake that has been hurt in an accident, and include a sentence to explain why snakes are an important part of the Australian environment.
Australia’s turtle population is declining rapidly. Design a poster that includes the following:
• a picture of a turtle
• five threats to turtles
• five things that could be done to help save turtles from extinction
Pythons and turtles are both members of the Reptilia class. Name two characteristics that confirm this classification, then draw two columns – one for pythons and one for turtles – and compare these two animals by finding out the following facts about them:
• maximum length
• maximum weight
• preferred habitat
• life cycle
• two major threats
Download a map of Australia from:
Save the map to your files, or print it and paste it into your workbook. Use the Internet to find answers and your map to complete the following:
• shade the area where sugar cane is grown
• mark and name the place where cane toads were first released in Australia, and include the date of this first release
• mark the westernmost point the toads have reached so far
• using a different colour from the first task, shade the areas that cane toads now occupy
• note the latitudes and longitudes of the cane toad’s distribution in Australia.
Write about 100 words to describe how cane toads are able to kill most snakes. In your description, include the name of the one snake that is able to eat cane toads.
In two paragraphs of about 50 words each, describe what has happened to Australia’s turtle population and what you think should be done to help protect these endangered animals from extinction.
Write an essay of 250 words that summarises the ecologically disastrous history of cane toads in Australia and what lessons can be learned from this mistake. Illustrate your essay with a timeline and current cane toad distribution map.
Write a letter to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities in which you outline the threats facing Australia’s turtle population, and make realistic, achievable suggestions for addressing this environmental tragedy. Make sure you check your facts and include comparative population numbers. Your letter must be written in the appropriate style and format.