FROM THE BUG ARCHIVES:
Long before we were all haunted by those sad images of polar bears starving to death on melting ice floes, The Bug alerted the world to the pending demise, through the scourge of climate change, of one of Australia’s most loved animals – the door snake.
As you can see from this Bug cover story in 2006, the door snake was already in serious peril way back then.
It’s perhaps fitting yet incredibly sad then, that in a week in which Australian cities are choking from bushfire smoke and climate change is on everyone’s sooty lips, world wildlife experts have announced the Australian door snake is finally now extinct, with the last known member of the species dying at Taronga Park Zoo overnight, aged 31.
One of The Bug’s publishers was close to tears today as he remembered his childhood in Brisbane and the love he had for his own pet door snake.
“Mum and dad bought Blockie from a local door snake farm when I was just a five-year- old and he was my best friend, I guess, through all my state and high school years,” he said.
“You’ve got to remember that we lived on a hill in Chermside in an unheated weatherboard home and those terrible south-easterlies would blow through the big gap under our loungeroom door caused by weathered, uncovered floorboards and aging and shrinking timbers.
“With no thought for his own health or comfort, Blockie each night would make his way over to the door and keep us protected and warm as we settled in to watch the likes of Rescue Eight, Sea Hunt and 77 Sunset Strip.
“Understandably door snakes never had very long lives as a result of their selfless exposure to the elements but Blockie never complained,
“In fact, he lasted a lot longer than many door snakes did back then. Blockie was a real trooper.
“I knew a few years back that door snakes were close to extinction when I read a newspaper report that despite there being thousands and thousands of residents in those new Meriton apartments springing up in places such as Green Square and Mascot in inner Sydney, not one door snake was being kept as a pet to keep folk warm.
“I’ll certainly be raising a glass sometime today to say thanks to Blockie and those millions of other door snakes that were a much-loved and integral member of countless Aussie families way back in what, on reflection, was a simpler and kinder age.”