Okay, we have taken our time getting here, but I was hoping to ease you into it. We covered a lot of Australian bad things on our way and I hope you have seen that some of these things are just little cuties really.
There have been 20 posts so far in the Australia’s Bad Things category, and so far I’m guessing that only fire ants, cockroaches, spiders and possibly cane toads have sent any shivers down any spines. But now the time has arrived to discuss snakes, and if there is one scary bad thing in Australia that most people are scared off, it’s snakes.
The bad news about the snakes.
Australia has snakes, and plenty of them. Some of them can kill you. In the Brisbane region alone we have eight snakes that can do that. The Death Adder, the Small Eyed Snake, Tiger Snake, Coastal Taipan, Spotted Black Snake, Red Bellied Black Snake, the Eastern Brown Snake and the Rough Scaled Snake. But let’s not worry about those yet.
We certainly won’t worry about the Tiger Snake, there has been only one sighting of that species in this area in the last hundred years. You will also be pleased to hear that the Death Adder, Tiger Snake and Coastal Taipan are also as rare as hen’s teeth in these parts.
For now, I imagine you would like to know if any snakes have trespassed on my property. Have I seen a snake intruder? Have I seen any snakes in Australia in the wild? Let me answer those questions.
Back in May of last year, I was speaking to a neighbour whose house backs on to mine. We had a pleasant conversation for 10 minutes or so and just as it finished, she said “oh, by the way, you have a green tree snake in your garden somewhere, I saw it the other day. But it was only a metre long and don’t worry, they’re harmless”.
I’d only been in the country six months and to me a snake was a snake. If I see one, my brain does not try to process between dangerous and harmless it just goes “AAAAARRRGHHH” and tells me to run. But what I have discovered is that if you are going to live here, it’s a good idea to have a greater knowledge of these beautiful creatures.
So, back to my green tree snake. In December of last year, I was mowing the lawn when I came across what I thought, in my ignorance, was a dead snake whose body had been eaten by ants. Here’s what I saw…
Of course, it isn’t a dead snake, it was the shed skin of a snake that was very much alive and actually growing bigger. And it was living in my garden! It was about a metre long, so my guess is that it’s the same green tree snake my neighbour saw seven months earlier. He probably lives here all the time yet I have never seen him.
My friend BeninOz, who has a much bigger garden also has much bigger snakes. He has been aware of a Carpet Python living on his land for some time. He has seen it regularly and leaves it be. He understands the nature of snakes and in no way fears them.
His snake also shed its skin and I thought you would all like to see it.
I’m six foot two by the way.
Have I seen any snakes in the wild since I’ve been here? Just one. It too was a Carpet Python or carpet snake as we call them and he was slowly moving around in the undergrowth over at the Botanical Gardens. Was I scared? No. Ben was with me. In fact, if he hadn’t have pointed out I would never have seen it.
He showed me how timid they are by slowly moving his hand towards its head. The carpet snake, just as slowly, moved away. By the way, carpet snakes are nonvenomous, but they do bite and cause lacerations if they want to. Luckily, they prefer to simply slope off.
So that’s snakes, for now. But I imagine you’d want to know more, a lot more. You will, next week.