I have mentioned about our encounter with Australia’s creepy crawlies on my previous post (read it here). Now I just want to talk about one specific creature:
There are real Australian people who have never seen snakes in their entire lives. They, of course, have heard stories about venomous snakes, or probably seen them in the zoo, but never encountered those deadly creatures in their backyards.
I, on the other hand, have seen three snakes since December 20o9.
I have told you a story about my lovely next door neighbour, Heidi*, who, while warm-welcoming us into the neighbourhood, also came with the news of her husband finding a dugite in the back garden. I have also told you that right after we drove off, another dugite was found lying on the street. That was December 2009: two snake stories, and one snake was spotted by my very eyes. Only a month after we moved to Australia.
A few months later, probably February 2010, our visitors found a dead, already dried, snake at the back of our couch in the living room (see picture on the left). It was tiny, probably only 20 cm long. I was freaked out because a few days before I had about 20 Indonesian ladies and their kids came around for lunch. Imagine if someone found a snake, alive and kicking?
We couldn’t really tell whether it was the infamous, highly venomous, dugite, but from the colour of its skin…. it might be! So in the past 3 months living in Australia, I have seen 2 snakes already. Both were thankfully dead when I saw them.
Fast forward a year later, after a quiet life, I found another one.
You see, I have a new member of the family in the house. His name is Xander, and he is adopted last December. Because he is a baby, his energy is endless, and he likes to chase after me or wants me to chase after him all the time. If I don’t play with him during the day, he will be too hyper at night time and wouldn’t let me have my beauty sleep.
So on that particular day, I was playing with Xander, dangling all the fluffy, fury toys at him, and he ran and hid under the couch. (yes, the same couch where we found a snake last year). Xander then was lying flat under the couch, peeking, thinking I couldn’t see him. So I imitated his body gesture, and lay on the floor. Hands and knees.
Then I saw it.
A strange object on the rug. At first I thought it was a piece of string from Xander’s toy. But it’s rather too… fat… to be a string. And it’s green. Xander’s string is yellow. While my eyes were fixated on that strange object, trying to figure out what it was, Xander sprang from under the couch and started attacking it. Then I saw that whatever it was, it was soft. Its body bounced back softly after Xander patted it. And its position changed. And I see something that looked like a head.
I was still lying on the floor, inches away from the object…. and realised that… It. Was. A. Snake.
I didn’t scream, ladies and gentleman. I didn’t. I was too scared that the snake was alive, so I backed down quietly and slowly. But my cool was out of the window when I saw Xander kept patting the snake, and I started yelling at that poor boy to stop doing it. You see, if it’s a venomous snake, even when it’s dead, it still can be fatal, as its venom can leak out and kill whatever surrounds him.
Xander, on the other hand, was ecstatic to find another object to play with. He kept slapping it from one paw to another, while I was screaming like a crazy lady to stop doing it. He didn’t listen, of course, so after a few seconds I picked him up and got him away from the snake. Which I was pretty sure was dead.
It was indeed dead.
But it looked so fresh, I was sure it wasn’t dead for too long. I mean after watching too many CSI episodes I’m pretty sure a dead body (human or not), would be rigid, and this snake was still soft (and bouncy!). This time the body was green with black head. It was about 30 cm long.
Xander wasn’t too happy I took away his new toy, so after gathering my courage, I managed to put the snake in the container. Not knowing what to do with my newest collection, I called the wildlife department of our local council. The lady who received my call, after listening to my rants for a few minutes, only gave me an advice like this in the most monotonous tone: “put it into a plastic bag and throw it away”.
No investigation so far whether its mother and siblings might be around? That it might be venomous? That it could be a tiger snake? That it might have killed Xander, or me, had it been alive? That’s it??
Xander is alright, by the way. A little bit crazy like usual, but alright. So the snake wasn’t venomous. We think it’s just a grass snake, although we – again – are not quite sure how it got into the house. And we also still think that its mother might be somewhere near, but we’ll deal with it later – or hopefully never.
Now I’m busy training Xander to protect his master if he ever finds a snake. And I think he’s pretty good at it, judging from the photo. Whenever I throw that snaky toy at him, he always bites its neck, kicks it around, makes sure it’s dead, and then carries it back to bed as if it’s a present for me.
Don’t you think it’s sweet?