Friday, 4 January 2013

Year of the snake?

I believe we are now in the year of the snake, and I also understand I'm a snaky person in the Chinese calender. Both of these are sufficient to scare the skin off me... this is an area of Eastern Brown snakes in their hundreds, and should we run out of those there are always the taipans. I really, truly, don't want to do anything to attract the scaly monsters. Chinese dragons are fine - they only breathe fire rather than venom, but please spare us the scary snakes.

Well, does this asp look innocent enough? They move like lightning when startled, and are fabled to be able to chase a car or horse at 30 miles per hour. If, as a friend recommended, you decide to drive over one, make sure your windows are wound up if you don't want to risk sharing a car with a very cranky snake! Once I had to drive across a large brown, up near Lake Somerset. It was coiled in the middle of a narrow road with traffic coming in the opposite direction and it was already angry, reared up ready to strike. I carefully drove with the wheels to each side of the animal, only to hear a distinct 'thunk' under the car. I looked back to see an even more infuriated snake, with a bad headache, ready to strike the following vehicle.

Another time I drove through a paddock on my way to visit the local shop at Coominya. I hopped out of the car to see a smallish brown snake emerge from under the car and slither towards the shop - it must have hooked itself up under the car as I drove through the grass. I didn't like to admit to having brought an aggressive hitch-hiker, and just said to the shopkeeper, 'Uh, I see you've got a snake...' Then it was his problem and was suitably despatched!

Over the years I have lost a cat, a dog, and a couple of heifer calves to brown snakes , so I really shiver at the thought of a year of the snake. I am hoping the snake repellers I have put right around the dog paddock keep the scaly monsters away, and think I might ask my neighbour up the road to pay me a call if we have any trouble here - he killed a 6-foot brown a couple of days ago next to his house. I, er, can't - I turn into the best imitation of a rock when face to face with a snake; it's amazing how long you can go without breathing when necessary.

Actually, I think this is the year of the Alien Ants, but that's for another day...

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