Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Year of the snake - Day of the snake

So much to post on, so few days! I would have posted on this the day it occurred - Sunday 10th Feb -  which also happened to be the first day of the Chinese New Year and the first day of the Year of the Snake, but I had already posted by the time this happened.

I would have posted the day after - Monday  11th - but that was Harvest Monday and I had something to show for myself and I would have posted on Tuesday 12th, but that was Zucchini Tuesday. So in case you are not sick of me posting every day, here is my Chinese New Year post - you see we had our very own Snakey Day for the first day of the Year of the Snake.

I first came across the snake - a red-belly black snake - when I was heading for the mint bed to pick some for a pistachio lamb kebab.

A good third of the snake's length was slipping over the top of the mint bed and up onto the pier of the house. I wasn't really expecting to see it there, right where I was about to plunge my hand to pick mint, so I can tell you honestly a let out quite a whelp!

I can only assume that the snake was similarly surprised to see me because it spent the next good while hiding from us under the house. The snake decided it especially liked being under the front stairs - comforting for the snake perhaps but not for us.

Shaken (and stirred) I decided to stay inside while my heart rate returned to normal. Instead the Lad kitted up (long pants, boots, mini gaiters and long stick in case) and went on snake vigil. He basically wanted to make sure we knew where it went and we hoped that it would move away from the house, but it didn't for a very long time.

Instead - twice, it decided that it would try to climb the stairs to the verandah.

Not wanting to hurt the snake, or worse anger it so much that it would strike, but also not wanting to share the verandah with it either, the Lad did some vigorous tapping of the steps with his long stick and deterred it from further ascending, phew!

But when it did head off it took its exit thru my now Wallaby-proof vegetable patch slipping over the rocket and parsnip bed and over the Minnesota Midget rock melon. It was amazing to see how if slipped thru the plastic mesh that looked much smaller than the diameter of the snake.

The snake disappeared into a crevice in a eucalypt close to the house. We hope that isn't its permanent home.

Incidentally, my snake-charming husband is actually born in the Year of the Snake, its true!

Now I am decidedly realistic person and not at all drawn to horoscopes whether Occidental or Oriental, but (oh right, here she goes, she just said she wasn't into these things!), I hope seeing a snake on the first day of the Year of the Snake is auspicious. Perhaps doubly so for the Lad? One can hope, it would be some compensation for the fright.

After promising each other not to leave the verandah without suitable boots and trousers, I kitted up the next morning on a peach picking round and, there it lay, just under the outdoor table and chair setting. A little vigorous shouting at it telling it it wasn't welcome resulted in the snake heading off into the grass metres from the front of the house.

Obviously the snake defence devices that I bought just don't work.

A belated Happy Chinese New Year everyone and may your house be snake proof, unless of course the snake happens to be your loved one!

Gong xi fa cai!


  1. I am sorry, but snakes ... they creep me out. I am not sure I would have handled it as well as you did.

    1. I am not sure I handled it the best way possible, I hid inside remember! It hasn't come back so I suspect it might have been a young one looking for a new territory and when it discovered that it wasn't welcome, it has gone elsewhere.... at least I hope so.

      I actually think snakes are amazing creatures, if not scary sometimes, but I don't really want one setting up house under the stairs or on the verandah.

  2. Wow! It is actually very beautiful (from the safety of the screen)! And don't they move so sinuously-extraordinary! Also a good reminder to be aware they are out there sharing the garden with you. I don't know if shouting does any good, because I don't think they hear. They sense vibration, which I guess sound is, but stomping emphatically might be more effective I've heard.

    1. To be honest, I actually really love snakes ( from a distance). I am like you fascinated by how they move and red bellies have such nice tummies. But I don't want one coming up the front steps - that's too much. I know what you mean about shouting... I stomped too, I think the shouting was for my benefit! It hasn't come back so I guess two days of hassle from us has put it off? Let's hope so.

  3. Having such a snake for a neighbor would make me nervous.

    1. I know what you mean, it is just a reality of living in Australia. We just have to be aware that they are here and that they live with us in the bush. We have all sorts of creatures here - echidnas, wombats, kangaroos and wallabies, snakes and great big lizards...

  4. Wow, city girl! You are throwing yourself in at the deep end! Like most people, I have an innate fear of snakes. But I also have a fascination - they are mesmerising. But they really need to keep their distance so I can admire them from afar. :)

    1. Couldnt agree more with Nina....I wont come close to ANY snake but I find them strangley interesting and like to follow them! That guy looks dangerous! I wonder how many different types you have there and how many are really dangerous! We only have 2 here in my parts of Japan and one is venomous! But they seem to love our house! YEEEEEEKS!!
      Like the pics/blog keep up the good work!

    2. Hi David, we have seen two types here. This red bellied black and the brown snake. Both are venomous, the brown more than the black apparently. There may be other types but we haven't yet seen them. Most Australian snakes are venomous.

  5. Wow. Amazing pictures! He or she is a big snake!



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