Sunday, March 11, 2018

Caldyanup Diaries #4

I learned something yesterday. A snake slowly slid across the granite, sluggish, like it was too cold. It went over to the concrete steps and hid behind them for a while. I'm thinking I'm not gonna let this one go out of my sight, so watched from the tower for a while, ignoring the visibility sched call until an impatient officer radioed me. 'Tower. Two's all round,' and slammed the receiver down and went back to the window.

The snake emerged from behind the stairs and headed for the tower tower, it's tiny head nosing across the lichen and rust stains. I think it was a dugite but I've haven't seen this colouration before. It was striped like a tiger. It seemed quite gentle and a bit doughy as dugites tend to be.

By the time it was a few feet from the door, I had to work out what to do. They do like to get into the tower, I've heard. If I threw something at it I could panic the snake into the wrong direction and I'd still have to head out there and pick up said item. Aghh! The snake ambled closer. I grabbed the squirty bottle of metholated spirits that we used to clean the map table with, and squirted the stuff on the ground next to the snake.

The snake stopped, motionless except for its forked tongue which flickered in and out, tasting the air. Then it quite deliberately turned around and left the area. So there you go. A verifiable anecdote that flammable liquids deter the serpent. The best thing is that you don't have to get too close to a potentially deadly snake and they survive the encounter as well.

The whole time this little drama played out there was a show on the radio about the first man to catch a live taipan to produce an anti venom. Actually, the man died in the process, but not until after he'd hitched a ride back from the rubbish tip where he'd found the snake gorging on a rat. He was holding the taipan by its neck when the seven foot critter spat out the rat and wrapped itself around his body. And yes, a truck driver actually picked him up and drove him to his mate's house. (Who picks up hitch hikers with deadly snakes wrapped around them?) He was bitten there while trying the get the taipan into a bag. Although this odd hero died, the first recipient of the anti venom, a ten year old boy, survived a taipan bite.

After my dugite left, I went outside and a bee became tangled in my hair and stung me.
I guess that's Sarah 1. Nature 1.


  1. Good tip Sarah - and one that probbaly won't hurt the snake either. I suspect it's the alcohol they don't like. Maybe you need to stay armed with a kid's water pistol filled up with stuff. It might have anaesthetised the bee too!

  2. Sounds like D. H. Lawrence's encounter with the snake at the spring, having a little drink. I have never forgiven Lawrence for throwing a stick at it.

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