Begawan Foundation has a nest box on a high pole at the Breeding and Release Centre whose purpose is to be a comfortable place for the wild birds that the Begawan Foundation once released to keep coming and going to our facility. They are very productive and we even place CCTV cameras in nest boxes to ensure their safety. Unfortunately, the same thing keeps happening. Our wild Bali Starling chicks were eaten by snakes on 30 April, 24 August, 26 and 29 November 2020, and most recently on 9 January 2021. In December last year, the nest box was moved from near the tree to the top of a tall pole, but the effort also didn’t work.

We received advice from our social media friends that we need to invite Ron Lilley. We got in touch with him, and luckily, he agreed to visit our Breeding and Release Centre. Ron Lilley himself is known as a snake specialist with a well-known Facebook page, Ron Lilley’s Bali Snake Patrol Page.

Ron Lilley is originally from England and now lives in Bali. He has worked with a number of conservation NGOs. He has a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology and has always been interested in reptiles. He is also a reptile photographer. From his many experiences with conservation and reptiles, he offers snake rescue and snake-proofing advice.

The snake at our Breeding and Release Centre is the boiga cynodon. It is mildly venomous, but not harmful to humans or large pets. It is active at night and moves slowly. It would entered the bird’s nest box through an adjacent tree branch that touched the nest box. It has large eyes, a thin neck, and is long in length (up to 2.5m or more), has reddish-brown stripes, and a yellow ring around its tail. This slow moving tree snake eats bird eggs and chicks.

We are now working on the baffles (shaped like lampshades) positioned 75-100 cm above the ground, so that the snakes cannot climb from below. We also paint the posts and grease them, minimize any protruding nuts or bolts, and clean them regularly to make them extra slippery.

Hopefully there will be no more snakes that would eat the eggs or chicks at the Breeding and Release Centre. Thank you, Ron Lilley! (Nitya Swastika)

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