Friday, March 4, 2011

The intruder!

King Brown Snake (Pseudechis australis)About 3 weeks ago, I was driving down our 1/2 kilometre driveway, when about half way down, I suddenly slowed my car, and almost stopped as I gave way to a large, thin blackish brown snake who had apparently been sunning himself on the track. It was about 6 feet long, and tried to quickly slither away into the bush on the other side of the driveway, to get out of my way. I stopped at the time, as I did not know what kind of snake it was, or if it was poisonous, and saw no reason to run over it and kill it while it was in its own environment.   I thought it might have been a tree snake, or possibly a king brown, but just wasn't sure.

Then about a week later, I was just about to walk down the back tiled stairway leading from our central hallway to the family room downstairs, when sitting on the bottom step I spotted a very similar looking snake laying on the bottom step.  The shock of seeing it in the house and so close to me, made me slip on the tiles and I screamed out -"Snake! Help!  Snake!"  As the hall doorway was shut I wasn't sure if Chris would hear me, but he did come running, and while he didn't see it as it had already been frightened by my screaming, I continured to follow it to watch it as it slithered on down to the family room.  Chris ran for a spade or something to attack it with.  By the time I made it downstairs, I could already see it slithering behind the desk and the filing cabinet, and then it disappeared.  When Chris arrived, we couldn't find it anywhere.  As snakes sense with their hearing and vibrations we tried to remain calm and just chose good positions to sit on opposite sides of the room, to see if it would eventually appear as they do sometimes.  But after about 1/2 hour there still was no sign of the snake, and as much as we moved things, we just could not find a trace of it. 

Needless to say, this appearance of what could possibly have been a King Brown snake, made us both very cautious when walking around the house, and we tried to find any possible nook or cranny where it may have slid in from outside, and filled the crack with filler to seal the area. 

A few days later, I was walking down the same tiled stairs into the family room early one morning, ready to sit at my computer and write, when suddenly I saw on the very bottom step, what looked like a thin electrical cord which didn't seem to be normal. I had never noticed it before.  Then it moved.  It was another snake--it quickly slid down the stairs to the floor and crawled into a packet of photocopy paper which was laying opened on the floor next to the printer.  I quickly grabbed a spade from outside, came back to the folder of paper, and moved it.  The snake slithered out - it was a light brown, and resembled either an immature brown snake or a young taipan.  Either way, it wasn't going to live.  It was in my territory now.  I hit it with a spade, and it died quickly.  It was only young, and not quite a foot long yet - but if it had been poisonous, it would have carried enough venom in its system to have done a lot of poisonous damage to me if I had been bitten. 

I will respect all wildlife if they stay out there, in the wild.  But this is my home, and once they enter they take their chances.  We have experienced too many poisonous snakes here over the years to be flippant about them.. We take each snake seriously.  I often photograph them first, if I can reach my camera in time...but when in close proximity, our theory is a good snake is a dead snake.  (I know that the wildlife people out there are now screaming out), but too many intrusions by King Browns and Taipans over the years has taken its toll on us.

I will admit though, that we had one snake which intruded about a month or two ago, and it was obvious it was a young python - we caught it and put it in a garbage bag, and Chris walked it halfway down our front track and set it loose.  Not all snakes are poisonous.

Well, the reason I am telling you this is that about 5 days ago, I was driving down our track when suddenly in front of me was the same, or similar to it, dark coloured snake that I had seen originally.  I stopped and sent it a mental message.  I agreed to always respect its right to life, if it stayed in its environment.  But warned it that if it were to ever enter our home again, it would not be leaving alive.

Lets hope the message got through!!

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