Enough with the snakes already

  • Posted on: 22 March 2022
  • By: MrWurster

I think it would be fair to say I've had enough of snakes this summer and autumn.

The deal-breaker was the tiger snake that self-destructed with Bertie in a mutual fight to the death.

Two weeks before that happened the dogs were sniffing around the hot water service, which is by our back door. Suddenly it was action stations, and I heard a rasping, threatening "Haargh!" sort of noise. Last time I heard that it was a beautiful Blue Tongue Lizard that Bertie had rustled up. I stepped in to intervene, and could just see a bit of torso and some bands of color wedged in the corner between the dirt and the brick wall. I went to move an obstacle, and the lizard moved. Its torso rippled through the gap…and kept going. My brain re-calibrated. I wasn't looking at a Blue Tongue, I was looking at a Tiger Snake.

From there it was a few minutes of madness, with me chasing off the dogs while trying to flush it out from under the hot water service. In retrospect I think it went under and through and was long gone while I was fluffing around trying to flood the cavity with water.

Then a few days after that I saw it disappear into our wood pile. Very unsettling.

And then an Eastern Brown literally outside the back door. I can see why they like that spot, it collects the morning sun, but I don't want them there. We're a shoes-off house, so when you step outside initially its in socks. Socks and snakes.....

Alongside our big shed I have rows and rows of pot-plants. Mostly trees, they get a bit of morning sun then are shaded in the afternoon. Works pretty well. Even so, they still dry out and need watering. So I was doing that, and as I leaned over to pull some seedling weeds out of a pot, there was a flash of movement by the shed wall. Ho hum. Yet another Tiger Snake. This one went under the shed wall. Into the haystack.

But yesterday capped it off.

Our inspiration for taking on Bertie was another Jack Russell, named Eric. Eric's actually Bertie's' brother, but older, from another litter. Eric is a happy-go-lucky chap, always cheerful, always energetic…and a stone-cold chook murderer. He had a terrible farm accident and lost a leg, miraculously survived and recovered, and hops around full of beans. Eric's buddy is Cleo, another Jack Russell. She's serious and loyal and, within the bounds of normal JR behavior, relatively obedient. It looks like they will be coming for a visit while their owners take a long break. I'm thrilled about it.

Anyway, they all called in yesterday, and we were standing round yacking when I noticed Cleo doing something I had seen two weeks ago….lunging abruptly, in short, jerky thrusts, at something in the vegie garden. As I started to say something it all went off….she was lunging at quite a big Eastern Brown snake, that was facing up to her, head off the ground in a strike position.

She was called off and came back, going the long way round to avoid the snake, and grabbed and held tight, (while being checked for punctures….). The snake ducked into cover…the thornless blackberry jungle that grows along the fence. Very dense and twisted, no finding it in that. Unless we sent the dogs in, I guess…..!

So we went inside, finished the conversation and waved them off. With Covid we just don't get drop-in visitors anymore, so it’s a breath of fresh air when we do!

Last few jobs for the day. We make an expedition of feeding the geese…get in the buggy and drive, make the dog run a bit and burn off some surplus energy.

Since Bertie's departure the Kelpie is quieter, sits at my feet. I've been busy with some IT work and am at my desk all day. So Fry doesn't get as much exercise as he used to.

In the goose paddock I spotted a turtle stuck at the fence. All summer they try and get into the goose paddock. This time of year when they sniff coming rain they try and migrate out....and get blocked by the fence. So I move them, carry them down to the river and let them go. We did that, then headed back up the laneway to the house…and ran past another big Tiger Snake. My Kelpie has the right strategy…he ran around in a big circle and jumped into the buggy. And stayed there.

With cold weather coming, and finally some rain after a few dry weeks, the snakes are going into overdrive before hibernation, it seems.

Bring on the cold weather!