OK. Wait a minute though. Big breaths. Perhaps . . . just-perhaps-and-ever-so-slightly-possibly . . . leaving town might be somewhat of an over-reaction . . . maybe . . .
. . . but this week the girls and I had our very first encounter with a snake. And I didn’t like it. At all.
I know what you are going to say. I live in Australia, so I should be used to seeing snakes and spiders and all manner of creepie-crawlies on a daily basis. Right? Well—yes—to a point (and you may remember from an earlier post my views on the Australian spider population)—but snakes? Nope. Nuh huh. No. Up until now I have never had a close-up real-life encounter with a snake, and quite honestly, I am absolutely, positively and most definitely sure I could have continued on and lived my life quite happily without the experience.
We all know that snakes are around, especially those of us living in country areas. We are warned about them almost on a daily basis, and told to be on the lookout for them, especially in the summer months. In spite of this I found myself totally unprepared.
We were on our way home from our afternoon walk. We’d been on a lovely wander along the sea wall, had cut through the bushy track and walked through the park (where there is so much leaf litter and long grass that you honestly wouldn’t be able to see a 100 snakes having a birthday party unless they stood up and waved to you) and were coming back along the busy footpath into our street.
I was actually looking further down the road as I had just spotted Lenny patrolling his front yard. (Lenny is a lovely big Boxer boy (hence ‘Lenny’—as in ‘Sugar Ray’) but he and Maudie like to give each other grief every time we go past his house so I was rallying myself for the confrontation.) Suddenly there was a commotion at my feet and the girls all at once ran directly in front of me, tangling my legs in their leads and causing me to stumble and look down. And there it was. Clear as day. It slithered right between all of our legs. I am surprised you didn’t hear me from where you were.
Terriers are renowned for chasing down and killing snakes but interestingly (and thank you God) on their very first exposure to one my girls’ first reaction was to run away from it, dragging me with them (they are such good girls). Just as well really, as I was pretty much rooted to the spot. Happily, the snake seemed equally keen to escape and sped away from us across the road and into the park.
(The girls were immediately informed that we are never going to set foot into that park again. In fact, they might be lucky to even get another walk outside this summer.)
The snake was, I am reliably informed by a very nice man who came over to see what all the fuss was about, a young Eastern Brown Snake. Lovely. One of the most venomous snakes in the country. Not that that counts for much in my mind. Any snake in Australia that is non-venomous (so few and far between as to be not worth mentioning) is still more than likely to scare you to death anyway.
That wasn’t quite the end of it of course. By the time I got us all home I had convinced myself that any one of the dogs could have been bitten during all the kerfuffle without me realizing it. I googled all the symptoms for snake bite in dogs (don’t ever do that by the way—it will give you nightmares) and then proceeded to completely freak the dogs out by following them obsessively around the house and garden for the next couple of hours—just to make sure they weren’t vomiting or fitting or collapsing or swelling up or . . . Poor Mabel began to give me a haunted, stalked kind of look over her shoulder every time she got up to go outside for a pee . . .
At the end of the day though it was all good. No-one had been bitten and I only lost of a couple of years off my life through fright. The snake also got away unscathed and is now free to spend the rest of its life growing to anaconda-size proportions in our local park ready to scare the life out of other unsuspecting walkers and their dogs.
Mmmmmm . . . rethinking again . . . the possibility of leaving town is still on the table . . .