I’m not a huge fan of snakes. They don’t scare me quite the way that spiders do, but I think that there is a certain stigma that has been built up around them. Particular in Australia where we have 20 of the top 25 deadliest snakes in the world. I think we all grow up with a healthy respect for them.
To be honest, I haven’t had much experience with snakes. Despite living in very rural areas for most of my life, I have been fortunate to have not seen all that many of them in the past. That kinda changed today.
I was down by the creek that runs through our backyard, pointing my camera (rather unsuccessfully) at dragonflies as they flew up and down above the water. I looked down at the grass neath my feet… at what looked, for a split second, like the black garden hose that distributes recycled water from our septic system. Then it hit me. That was no garden hose… it was a snake. A red-bellied black snake to be exact. I had never seen one before, and I had assumed that they were quite deadly.
His head was out of sight at first, but I could clearly see his red underbelly. Within moments he slithered into the longer grass on the banks of the creek, and I moved cautiously away, to go back to hunting dragonflies. Then the weirdest thing happened. The grass was moving. And it was moving ever closer to me. With no sign of the snake, I thought at first that it must be just a beetle of some kind, or perhaps one of the many tiny lizards that inhabit the yard. When suddenly, from out of the recently mowed lawn.. up it popped.
But that was not the end of my snakey day. Later this afternoon, I went out shooting waterfalls in the Springbrook National Park, when I came upon the single largest carpet snake I have ever seen. Being one of the few non venomous snake varieties in Australia, I am not too perturbed by them, but I did learn recently that despite not being poisonous, they are more than capable of rearing up and will attack if provoked.
But even though they have their scary side, and most certainly deserve our respect and caution… there is still something fascinating and beautiful about them. I will admit that I prefer to see them in the National Park than in my own backyard. But then again, the distance from my yard to the park is a matter of mere metres, and I guess they don’t really recognise the difference.
As for the Red-bellied Black, I have since learned that they are not as deadly as I had first assumed. Whilst it’s true that there have been several deaths from their bites, they are not usual fatal. Even so, I am not planning on getting too close to them again.