I made sure she was ok--then grabbed my camera---something I did/still do alot with snakes--it helps me to identify them later--anyway, I opened the deck door and yep--it was still there on the deck railing--so I took some photos. It was a large 4-6 foot snake, lightish brown in colour with a creamier coloured face--I had never seen this variety of snake before--and knew I couldn't do anything about it at the moment, except keep it out of the house.
I proceeded to get ready for work, got the girls in the car, and took them to school. I thought about it during the day, and hoped that when I picked the girls up that afternoon and brought them home--the snake would be gone. But, nope he wasn't!
He was a large snake--almost 6 feet--about 2 metres in length, and had moved to the metal side fence next to the deck--he had his face down the opening in the gate lock. The gate lock was similar to a pool fence lock, magnetic, and when slammed it stayed closed. At the moment the gate door was open facing out from the deck, with the hinged end close to the deck, where from the floor of the deck, I could grab the gate door.
Knowing now that I had to do something, I quietly crawled on my hands and knees to the gate door--at face level with the snake. I moved as quickly as I could before the snake could smell or sense me, and grabbed the gate door, and with as much force as I could muster in that position slammed that gate against the snake's head. It dropped and disappeared immediately--that worried me a bit--but I had learned that damage to a snake's skin--a cut for example usually will end in a snake's death due to infection.
I then went into a state of hyperventilation--I had been almost at face point with that snake--why would I do that? I shakily walked into the loungeroom, and asked the girls to get me a bag -(meaning a brown paper bag) to breathe into as I couldn't get my breath. Bron handed me a plastic bag--which made me laugh, and still not breathing right, I gasped out:
"Quickly! Get me some brandy! That will help." I could barely breathe! Lauren quickly brought me a small port glass of brandy - I took one sip and spit it back into the glass, remembering I don't like brandy--but it worked--I was over my delayed panic. The snake was gone.
A few weeks later, Ram Chandra came to one of our local shopping centres with a display of snakes, so I took to him the photos I had taken of our deck snake. He confirmed from the photos that it had been a mature taipan- a highly poisonous snake. I told him what I had done, thinking I had acted so bravely, and this snake "guru" told me that I had been a very stupid woman, and very lucky--one bite on my face from that snake and I would be dead. He humbled my bravery straight away!
Note: this is an excerpt from the ABC's Radio AM, dated 31 July, 1999, about an interview with Ram Chandra--an amazing man!
"And he really knew. He was twice bitten by a taipan, and by other snakes reportedly more than a dozen times. Born Edward Ramsany in New South Wales to Indian parents, he took the name Ram Chandra when he joined the sideshow as a snake handler. He came to prominence with his work on the taipan. He discovered the taipan was different from the brown snake. He also proved the highly venomous snake was responsible for deaths throughout Queensland, when previously it was thought to be confined to the Cape York area. But most significantly, he's acknowledged as one of the driving forces behind the development of the taipan antivenene. It saved his own life and dozens of other people's since. For his efforts, Ram Chandra received the British Empire Medal and the Order of Australia. But in later life he became partially paralysed from the waist down from the cumulative effects of snake bites, and had to give away snake handling."