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Posts Tagged ‘Snake’

For some of us, it really doesn’t matter how many times we are told that pythons are not dangerous, they always will be. In researching for this post I have seen gigantic pythons, enough to give me nightmares and others which have their mouth dislocated so that they have the whole body of a fairly large wallaby half way down its gullet! It has brought back all the reasons why I decided I would never, ever, be persuaded to have a python as a pet – never, not ever….again!

I had been on a long search, looking for answers and something I knew I could believe in without having to be indoctrinated into something mindlessly. I read voraciously and talked to many people and different groups. It was during this search that I came across some rather unusual and interesting people. It was this which led me to their property at Woodford.

For those who may not know, Woodford is a small country town north of Brisbane, Queensland. It is well known for the Woodford Folk Festival which is held after Christmas each year. Each month I would drive through Woodford, past the Woodford Correctional Centre which looked quite eerie on a foggy winters evening with the lights glowing, and around the back of the mountain to their property.

I was continually told how safe pythons were, and associated with the goddess….. and eventually I located a huge 12 foot glass shop counter, built a ‘hide’ and fixed the ‘cage’ up correctly and installed a nice two foot python.  I would never call it cute or cuddly but there you are, sometimes sanity takes a break as it had done.

A few months later we saw our friends at Woodford after there had been a bad bushfire in the area. We had stayed away because of the fire and hearing that Shirley Strachan, lead singer for Skyhooks had died in a helicopter accident whilst flying over Mount Archer. I was told, with great gusto, that they had a special surprise for me, a python they had rescued from the bushfire, burns healed and needing to recover for a while before being handled too much. I couldn’t see it as it was already tied securely in a pillow case. Hmm.

After reaching home, with a little help (the pillow case was darned heavy) I managed to pour this ENORMOUS snake into its new habitat. OMG!  Once in it immediately took over the hide from the little fellow. It wasn’t long before I found out it was not a happy camper at all. It did not appreciate being ‘rescued’ nor being kept in a large, safe ‘prison’.

Feeding snakes is not nice. Feeding large angry snakes is very unpleasant. At first it lunged violently towards its food (rats) and went back into its corner. However it very quickly decided the rats were not good enough and began to launch itself towards the hand that fed it! Things were getting out of hand rapidly.

The next episode, after being attacked for a week was the cage cleaning.  The snakes had to be removed from the cage so that it was easier to clean it out. Usually this was not a problem. The little fellow had always enjoyed being held whilst this happened, but Snarly Charley had made him a teeny meany and very unruly.  The big fellow had to come out. It was too dangerous to put your hands in whilst he was there…. I had no intention of being dinner!

Calling on help my friend grabbed the python whilst I started to clean the cage. At the sound of a startled grunt I looked up to a scary sight. My friend had a bad arm, one elbow frozen, so had only one really good arm. Needless to say, Snarly Charley had wrapped his strong body around his good arm and he was trying to fend off the lunges from Snarly Charley by trying to hold behind his head with his bad arm. His arm was a strange shade of purple and so was his face. I had to drop everything and start to unwind this strong and very angry reptile from around his arm. We were both puffing and panting and purple in the face by the time he was pushed back into the cage.

“That’s it” I screeched, “No More, It Goes Tomorrow!”

So the next day we gingerly approached the cage. Charley had finally deigned to eat a rat and I hoped he would be a little calmer. I guess it worked because we managed to get him into a pillow case without losing any fingers or being attacked. Onto the back seat and off we went for a drive into the bush.

Finding a nice shady spot amongst the trees and away from any people or houses we carefully tipped Snarly Charley onto the ground. I did say gently too, didn’t I? Breathing a sigh of relief as the last of his body left the pillow case I slowly started to walk back up the trail towards where the car was parked.

Hearing a rustling behind me I looked over my shoulder to see a sight which almost made my blood curdle. Here was Snarly Charley moving faster than I would have believed possible, charging up the track towards me. He did not look happy at being released. He did not look happy at no longer being in a pillow case or a cage. He did not look happy at all. He looked like he was seeing his next meal walking away from him and he was going to do something about that.

With visions of snakes eating animals whole, even if they weren’t as big as I was, I believed he was going to try to have me for his celebratory dinner.  I felt very small at that moment and none too sure about the next five minutes.  I’m not ashamed to say I turned tail and ran. I didn’t stop until I reached the car, grabbing the door handle and almost falling inside.

I didn’t want to check to see if it was still following me, I didn’t even care at that moment where it was. I was leaving and never again would a snake be in my house. Never!

Taking off with unseemly haste I drove away. Fortunately my friend had already reached the car before me…. I’m not saying he was a chicken but he wasn’t taking any chances either.

I never saw Snarly Charley ever again and his friend was sold to a pet store. All snake paraphernalia was removed with a vow to never darken my doors again….. and they haven’t.

That old saying from Peter Pan…. “Never smile at a crocodile, don’t be taken in by his welcome grin”…. well for me that goes for charming pythons as well.

If you’re a snake lover, that’s nice, but if you’re not, that;s ok too.

Cheers Susan x

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image from members.ozemail.com.au

This tale takes place about fifty years ago, a tad before my time. I can assure you it’s a real story and I promised not to use true identities as the star of the story is still with us I’m happy to report.

One hot summers day our young stock man, 30 years of age and very handsome, had been mustering his sheep all day. They had been taken up to the shearing shed to be crutched. Now I thought crutching was just clipping around the nether  regions, but apparently it is used to refer to “topping and tailing” the sheep.  Another term for it is  “wigging” and “crutching”. So, clipped around both head and nether region.

Now I’m trying very hard not to laugh at all this information, for a city slicker the mind was just not able to cope.  Come to think of it there are a few Judges that could do with wigging and a crutching or two might bring them into line, but I digress.

He had helping him his two, very well trained sheep dogs, Major and Darky and was riding his best stock horse, Blossom. After a long and tiring day he was moving the sheep back to the paddock and he was looking forward to a nice cup of tea and a bite to eat.

At that time there was  quite a bit of trouble with brown snakes in the area, nasty bad tempered creatures. Definitely to be avoided.  As they were traveling back he heard an odd sound near the horse’s front hoof and looked down. Blossom had picked up a King Brown snake with her hoof as she walked forward and it had wrapped itself around her leg. He could hear the snake whipping back and forth as she slowly walked along. A very good stock horse.

image from bushbelles.blogspot.com

So our stock man dropped the reins of the horse, which told her to stand and as he dismounted the snake slithered off into the grass. Over his shoulder was his trusty stock whip. He was pretty good with his whip and it was the best method to stop a snake before it could get close to you. Since this one was about six feet long and rather angry at it’s ill treatment he wasn’t about to take any chances with the dogs running around. The farmers lose more dogs to snakes than anything else.

He shrugged his whip off his shoulder and as he walked slowly forward let it trail out behind him.  Searching the grass in front of him he was suddenly startled to hear a slithering behind him! He whipped around to see, not the brown snake but his stock whip slowly trailing over a dry saffron thistle, for all the world sounding like an angry snake slithering after him.

image from http://www.arkive.org   King Brown Snake

Well that was enough for him for one day.

Looking a trifle green and feeling a little sheepish (I couldn’t help but include that) he gathered his reins and set Blossom on her way back to the home paddock after the sheep.

It was a good day. Sheep, all 500 had been wigged and crutched, Major and Darky avoided the snake, as did Blossom and the stock man got to ride home, pride a little the worse for wear but able to tell the tale to his family. (I hear tell he said, “It frightened the sh*t outta me!”)

As a point of interest the Western Brown snake is a shy snake and will avoid human contact. The Eastern or King Brown is very aggressive and will go out of their way to attack anything which moves near it, even more so during mating season.  As such the farmers cannot afford to take chances if they are seen and have to deal with them in the safest way possible for livestock, human and animal.

I swear it’s a true tale as tall as it may sound.

 

Cheers, Susan x

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