Just call me “Snake Dundee”, he (might have) said…
I’ve mentioned the drought recently on my blog…
It is continuing and our creek has now dried up completely.
Any decent dry climate person knows that, in periods of drought, animals seek water where they can find it, which is normally close to inhabited dwellings.
Our place is no different and it says something about the extreme nature of this drought that we have seen 3 snakes close to the house in the last 2 weeks. Up until then, we’d only seen 1 snake in the whole 8 years that we have owned the property!
A couple of weeks ago, I was removing rubble from behind the house when a thin 5 foot long snake crawled out from between several pieces of broken brick. I was mortified, immediately thinking I was lucky to be alive (as any decent Australian would!).
During the course of the following week, I asked many of our Italian friends about this snake and was told that they are “biscia”. They all had smiles on their faces when they described the snake (an unusual concept for an Australian!) and told me that these snakes were not dangerous but were “belle” (not quite the word an Australian might use…)
Our chickens don’t like skittering or slithering creatures and they launch into a great noisy cacophony whenever they see them. We’ve had several of these ‘operas’ this week which we’ve been able to attribute to a door mouse, a field mouse and a snake. Despite all of our soothing words, we don’t seem to be able to stop the noise until (presumably) the disturbing creature goes away.
This morning, while I was on a video call with Mum and Dad, Stu burst through the door screaming “Come and help me! There’s a huge snake in the shed!”
So I hung up immediately. It was clearly an emergency…
We both dashed to the shed where Stu started poking in a corner with the pitch fork.
When my eyes adjusted to the relative darkness, I saw a rather thick 6 foot long creature making its way around the walls of the shed. It was another biscia.
“Do something!”, ‘Stu the New Zealander’ cried, keeping an eye on the creature, “You’re the Australian! You’re used to these things!”
“Yes, I’m Australian…and we’re brought up to be scared stiff of them! I can’t go near the thing!”, I cried back.
The snake wouldn’t stay still and kept making its way towards the back wall where Stu kept all of his equipment, tools and hardware. The back wall is lined with boxes, paint tins, cupboards and all sorts of things that promised to make great hiding places for our snake.
Stu launched into action.
It seemed that he was almost horizontal. His feet remained in the centre of the shed while his hands and arms leaned over at an extreme angle to flounder at everything on the back wall, moving each piece just before the snake got to it.
I continued to watch as Stu chased his snake around the shed, trying desperately to scoop the slippery creature onto his pitchfork.
When Stu and the snake headed towards the front of the shed, it was time for me to leave. I ran outside but continued to listen to the activity inside, which I found rather entertaining.
The cacophony was comparable to our chickens.
Stu was yelling and grunting and panting. The pitchfork was clattering and banging.
Suddenly Stu yelled “Get away from the door!” and I leaped back.
Within seconds, a snake flew out though the door and landed on the path where it immediately attempted to return to the shed.
Enter a panting and sweating Stu with his pitchfork again.
There ensued more yelling, grunting, panting, clattering and banging until the snake became airborne again, this time landing on the grass.
Stu pursued the creature once more, this time throwing it down the bank towards the creek.
Finally, we stood together at the top of the bank, Stu huffing and puffing and wiping the sweat from his eyes, me nursing my sore stomach muscles (it’s not easy being bent over in laughter…)