Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Dispatches from the Tropics: 5 June 2012

As snakes go, this one wasn’t very big. Oh, it wasn't a tiddler — there was no mistaking it for an earthworm as it crawled along the kitchen windowsill — but neither was it a rainforest giant. No one was going to make a feature film about it. But what it lacked in size, it made up in attitude.


When I spotted this carpet python last night, I grabbed the camera and went outside. Taking photos is always intrusive, especially with a flash, but I gave the snake plenty of room. I didn't want to disturb it too much. All the other carpet pythons I've photographed around the place have been very placid animals. This one wasn't. I don't know whether the snake felt threatened or was just having a bad day, but one moment I was framing a portrait shot and the next I'm looking down the gullet of a pissed off python. Not only the gullet, but also a healthy pink mouth lined with teeth like this.

It was a most effective example of interspecies communication.

_______

P.S. See all that mud on the sill and window? Know where that comes from? Possum paws. Sixteen muddy little possum paws.

11 comments:

biobabbler said...

Wow. You are stalwart!

What time of day was it, and what was the temperature (inside and out)?

There are certainly differences among individuals, and some due to condition (a pregnant (oop, gravid) lizard I handled once was a GIGANTIC SPAZ), but for snakes I've had to relocate, its' DEFINITELY easier when it's early morning, and they're cold. In the late afternoon on a warm day, GOOD LUCK. Attitude aplenty. If possible, we'll just note where the animal is (if it's not in immediate danger, nor people), and try the next morning. =)

Snail said...

It was about 11pm last night and the outside temperature was about 15C. I was surprised that any snakes would be out and about in that temperature. Given the choice, I wouldn't have been!

I watched it head off towards the forest, but was worried later that it might have detoured into the carport. The last thing I wanted was a snake wrapped around the engine. Of course, I forgot about it when I drove into town this afternoon, only remembering when I got back. Couldn't smell any barbecuing python, so I guess it wasn't there.

The possums are all present and correct!

Denis Wilson said...

I figured it was our "sniffing" (albeit with its tongue), for your Possums.
Smart Possums to have relocated themselves.
Nice photo and even nicer Snake (at your place).
Denis

laurak@forestwalkart said...

i was kind of figuring the same thing that Denis mentioned...even though it was a little COLD...well, a LOT cold...for a snake to be out roaming...maybe he sensed the possums scratching at the window and figured he'd find himself a nice cozy spot...nearby...and just wait...

and then here comes the lady with the camera! ha.

Jenny said...

Eek - that brought back memories of when I was bitten by a small (3 metre) Amethystine Python on our verandah a couple of months back.

My fault entirely, when I reached out to fill the bird feeder, I didn't think to check first, and the snake thought my hand was a bird. I don't know who got the biggest fright!

I had an itchy lump on my finger for a couple of weeks, and finally went to the doctor. She dug out a fine piece of fang that had broken off in my finger, and had healed over. I like to imagine that I was part snake for a while...

Gouldiae said...

G'day Bronwen,
Yes, very stoic of you. I recall one episode of Deadly 60, (one of my favourite CHILDREN'S shows), when naturalist Steve Blackshall was handling a spider with something of a reputation and he said he has to read the 'signs' of the individual animal before he can allow it to crawl on him.
Regards,
Gouldiae.
PS: Don't come back to Victoria at present if you don't like overnight temperatures of 15degrees!

Snail said...

Denis, I'm sure the possums had left plenty of their scent around --- you know what they're like!

Snail said...

Laura, I'm glad I foiled the snake's possum-eating plans! But I can see why it might have been peeved.

Snail said...

Jenny, ouch! This was only a smallish snake, but I definitely didn't want to get bitten. I think I would have had a heart attack if there had been another 3 m of snake attached to the head!

Snail said...

Gouldiae, from now on I will only deal with the big ones. They seem much more sanguine.

I'd love 15C! It was down to single figures here last night. Thats not so unusual in the depths of winter, but not right at the start. Brrrr!

Ladybug said...

Yup, this snake had attitude - you can see it in its face. It certainly has an impressive set of teeth!

I agree, it was probably looking for some sort of late night "snack". Glad you were'nt THAT for it...