Nature's Place

Snake …

Hiding under a web of tough plant stems, see the eye open, middle left. Well aware I am coming for it, unwilling to run with meal in place. Snakes are such confident creatures, rightly so. Carpet snakes are not known for being aggressive.

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

See the eyes wide open, waiting … she was reluctant to leave the safety of the pillow case so I had to prod her a few times. Carefully, so as not to cause more than a little encouragement, in order to get a shot or two as it emerged. She’s a beauty.

It emerged, I was in place with camera, it didn’t care. And off it went with a purpose, gotta get out of the clear sky above, eagles about, or kookaburras maybe. About 4 feet long and 1.5 inch across the head, still swollen with mouse. A little blurry because we are both moving, it was a lucky shot, and she’s smiling …

The rains started a while back and a few days into it the cat got jittery, hadn’t seen him like it before. It occurred to me the wet would be a time of migration for the native creatures so attributed his apparent anxiety to a passing snake, perhaps – I had seen a small one.

Weeks passed and he was still nervous about going out, either the back or the front deck, and I thought he just needed more time to get over it, whatever it was. But he wasn’t getting over it … he wouldn’t even go out on his own any more. And it was becoming problematic.

Then one day I was watering a pot on the deck and I noticed faint movement where no movement should be, it was a snake, with a belly full of mouse – I presume. It was wide awake and well aware of me nearby but obviously unwilling to take flight.

What to do … Looking inside I saw the primal fear of a body for snake, or any wild animal capable of inflicting damage, so I had to encourage myself, to figure out what to do with it, and do it. I would leave it be, but not with a scaredy cat in the house, it was making him unhappy and cat was here first.

I’ve seen it done on TV so I got a pillow case and put on leather gloves, but the snake was entwined in the stems of a plant by the cactus so I had to cut what looked like would make it easier to extract the snake without entanglement, if I could get a hold on the head end without hurting it, or me.

And so it was … I disturbed missy snake enough to get her to raise her head and gripped her firmly so as not to allow for accidents of bite, snake bite. Snake didn’t come without a struggle, though a minor one really. The digesting mouse would have sedated it too, I think.

I had its head end in one hand and the pillow case in the other while also using it to release its body from entanglement with the stems, it was easy enough, with room for error. It did try and hold on to one stem it could still easily entwine, but I had a will to remove it …

without harming it if possible. And all went well. They are powerful creatures, muscle tone like a tree trunk, unbending unless forced. But it never panicked, snake was calm throughout, more or less.

And so was I, more or less. It was a partnership, of a kind. The contrary kind. Into the car and off to the local bush, Eprapah, and release. Pillow case on the seat next to me seeming alive.

Once there I opened the pillow case and had to prod it out and once out it didn’t hesitate, off it went into the undergrowth, barely a chance for a clear shot.

Throughout she appeared to just take it in her stride, fight response disengaged, in it to the end, naturally.

Bye bye snake …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click on those pictures for a closer look

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20 Responses

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  1. randomblog658787491 said, on 01/05/2018 at 3:25 am

    once i jumped over a red snake in my yard i was scared to death and thought it would bite me i mean snakes are creepy who’s with me

  2. Rachel Creager Ireland said, on 28/04/2018 at 2:18 pm

    I found a snake shed and showed it to my ex-feral cat. She didn’t even get close enough for a good sniff, just ran away fast. I guess cats and snakes have a thing.

  3. Earthenware Ministry said, on 28/04/2018 at 4:52 am

    The patterning is beautiful on this snake. I am so glad that you were able to safely catch it and release it. I hope that your cat is feeling more at ease.

    • Mark said, on 28/04/2018 at 9:30 am

      The cat is doing fine, though he doesn’t easily forget – still jumps over the threshold, where snake may lie hidden – perhaps.

      Thanks Meghan.

  4. standingoutinmyfield said, on 27/04/2018 at 5:17 pm

    Beautiful animal

  5. Zezee said, on 27/04/2018 at 11:04 am

    Umm…wow!
    First of all, great photos as always. It took me a while to notice the eye in the first pic. It blends so well with her scales.
    Secondly, you’re one brave dude to take on a snake. I’d probably sit in the house with the scaredy cat biting my nails and wondering what to do.
    Your note there of snakes being confident creatures made me think back to an essay in Ursula Le Guin’s “No Time to Spare” where she talked about staring down a snake (it held her eye contact for a very long time) while a friend contacted someone to help them get rid of it. I thought it amazing that the snake held her gaze for so long. Made me think it was fearless.

    • Mark said, on 27/04/2018 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks Zee … They are fearless and will attack if provoked. Some don’t even need that.

  6. thebrickbybrick said, on 27/04/2018 at 8:33 am

    Nice one there😊

  7. Becky said, on 27/04/2018 at 7:33 am

    I hope this was in Australia. All triangular-headed snakes in North America are poisonous. Gotta’ love snakes!

  8. Lissa Clayton said, on 27/04/2018 at 5:55 am

    Wow. She’s a beauty. Lucky for cat you found it and removed it. Mum’s cat would get sturky about going outside due to the large goannas that Mum feeds and the odd dingo.

    • Mark said, on 27/04/2018 at 2:25 pm

      I don’t think it was big enough to eat the cat, but surely frighten it. Good to have a place dingos can be found, but goannas can be deadly to people too.

      • Lissa Clayton said, on 27/04/2018 at 2:39 pm

        Cat thought it was dangerous which is enough reason to move it.

        One of Mum’s male goannas chased me, rotten thing. I ran squealing like a girl. The males can be quite aggressive but the females are pretty sedate though physically bigger than the males.

        • Mark said, on 27/04/2018 at 2:53 pm

          What creature wouldn’t fear for their life with an adversary you can have in your jaws but it can still come up behind you.

          I was once warned about goannas, if they are startled and run at you hit the ground since they are likely looking for a tree to climb. Those claws … But hand fed wild ones are unpredictable.

          • Lissa Clayton said, on 27/04/2018 at 6:39 pm

            The male goanna that chased me was purely intent on “protecting” it’s territory and females. It had a reputation for attacking the females too. I was under no illusions that it intended to attack me and the thought of those bacteria ridden teeth sinking into my ankles was enough to make me run.

            The theory of falling to the ground is an interesting one. I have to wonder if it’s based on experience.

            • Mark said, on 27/04/2018 at 7:10 pm

              Falling to the ground would work if the goanna was in fact running for a ‘tree’. Every time I’ve seen a goanna disturbed it climbed a tree, they seek the high ground. I don’t doubt it would be an effective manoeuvre in the right circumstance but it would be split second, instinctive. Not something with time to think.


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