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Monday, April 30, 2012

Morbid Fascination

I’m still harping on about the snakes here. Call it morbid fascination.
Maybe it is because a friend piqued my curiosity with the following photos. Apparently, it is very rare to get photos like these, but my friend managed to witness not one but TWO such occasions! Great that she managed to capture it on film. At a guess, these snakes would have been about 4m long.


They show two different types of snakes, on 2 different occasions, engaged in either the mating dance or fighting….I gather, both involve a lot of snakey-type swaying and wriggling around, with not a lot of helpful reptilian commentary. However, I am told, it was beautiful to watch. I dunno. It makes me squeamish just looking at these pics.
The said friend, also tells of her dismay in finding a 6m python in her home last year. She had been wondering where her cat had disappeared to, and had walked into her house to discover a large python curled up in her son’s toybox. The python must have followed the ‘possibility of a tasty morsel’ in through the cat door…. When ‘dinner’ decided not to cooperate, the python made himself comfy, and didn’t want to be moved, thank you.
The local Snake Man’s call out fee was exorbitant, and so my friend decided to take action into her own hands. Wielding a cobweb broom (the longest implement she could find!), she prodded the snake to try and encourage it into moving out of the box. Apparently, if snakes could look mildly amused, this one did.
After much fruitless prodding (and comforted by the knowledge that pythons are not venomous though they can inflict a nasty bite), my friend decided that the snake needed a bit more forceful persuasion to move out. She bravely lifted the coils out of the box (they are apparently very heavy!), at which the snake decided that it really wasn’t going to be left in peace here. It slowly made its way out the dining room, through the kitchen, and out the open door.
The cat was discovered hiding at the neighbours’ place, and needed quite some coaxing to come home…..it now has a distinct phobia of anything that looks vaguely long and dangly, like computer cables, wires, etc….

But the story doesn’t end there. Our friend (who really doesn’t live out in the boondocks!) has just discovered The Most Enormous Snake living in the rafters over her back door. She told us that she was most perturbed to come home the other day to discover a huge snake dangling its head over her doorway, curiously watching her….given that the size of the head is about the size of a small sandwich plate, she is guessing that the body will be definitely larger than the 6m version that came through her home last year! UGH‼‼
Exactly how big this snake is, nobody has been able to ascertain yet. Its body has remained curled up in the rafters and nobody has been brave enough to venture up to have a look! Interestingly enough, the visible part of the snake is so large and solid, that the cats have been fooled into thinking that it really isn’t ‘long and dangly’, and seem to be quite unafraid of its presence above them. Perhaps they will remain safe-ish whilst winter is here, and the snake is conserving its energy. However, I’m betting that the snake is watching from above with more than just a passing interest in the cats….call it morbid fascination.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Best Job

Here's a great video that celebrates motherhood and reminds us that the Olympic Games are fast approaching this summer in London! I'm thinking of your uber-talented boys, Southern Ange, and can picture them - and you - in some amazing future events!
See if this brings a tear to your eye... Here's to all the mums who stand behind the great achievers!
(Thanks to the inspiration of designmom.com, where I never fail to find something interesting!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Just Another Day

By 9:20 this morning I was well into my administration day at school.
  • check on grade three classes, who start swimming lessons this morning: did everyone bring proper outerwear? It's raining hard, and they're walking to the pool, which is about 25 minutes away.
  • one class has only one parent coming to help supervise!
  • ponder a parent note, which tells me of a child who cried over some lower marks on his report card... did he really think he'd get a good mark on math when he never practiced his multiplication tables???
  • watch children race down the hall when the bell rings, and attempt to control their speed
  • answer the ringing phone in the office
  • discuss the time of an upcoming meeting
  • take delivery of a new school banner
  • wipe up vomit in the office
  • move a pile of boxes that was delivered yesterday
It feels good to get so much accomplished in such a short time!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Never lie in the path of an oncoming train…

Monitor lizard in camouflage

I love walking in the bush and being out in nature. But one of my biggest fears when hiking through the Australian bush, is treading unexpectedly on something, or walking through something, or coming across something that is likely to misinterpret my intentions and take umbrage at my bush gait.

I know the experts all say that if you come across a snake, it will be more scared of you, than you are of it. But with due respect, how did the experts ever manage to quantify that in a scientific fashion?! I’m willing to concede, that both the snake and I might be EQUALLY freaked out with each other, though if I were to be totally honest, I would have to confess that actually, I KNOW I would probably be more freaked than the snake. I use the same model of scientific reasoning as the experts.

And whilst I can sort of understand that the bush is THEIR territory, it seems to me that it’s a bit like swimmers who are supposedly trespassing in shark territory by swimming in the ocean. But if a swimmer is swimming for enjoyment close to a beach and there are vast tracts of ocean left to shark around; or if a hiker is taking a trail with miles of bush beyond, then I hold it is sheer pigheadedness for any self respecting snake to lie around looking like a bit of foliage, waiting to give some poor hiker a good scare. I acknowledge, that it isn’t pleasant to have something many kilograms heavier than you, stomping on you or unexpectedly crashing through your home. But believe me, if I KNEW that something like a snake was under those leaves, I wouldn’t be going anywhere near it! My advice is - don’t lie on the path playing chicken, if you wanna remain a snake!

The thought of 8 of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world making their home in the Queensland, is not comforting. And so it was with a certain amount of trepidation, that I sent the lads out for a 5hr hike in the bush the other day. Rather than a flippant “See you later”, I thought I should impart some realism, and wished them a cheery “Do come back!”. Along the way, they had dealings with bloodsucking leeches (unfortunately, one of the leeches tried to suck the blood out of K’s shoe…not a wise choice. I believe it may have had an ‘aha’ moment before losing its grip….); some fascinating lace monitor lizards (which look like a cross between an ant eater and a dinosaur); a peregrine falcon and other interesting birdlife; AND a Red Bellied Black snake.

A highly venomous snake, the Red Bellied Black is often mistaken for the Small Eyed snake (which is equally as nasty, so don’t stress about making an accurate, on the spot identification. The way to tell, is that the RBB has a tan snout. However, you may wish to check this out on your photos after you get home.).It is highly recommended by the aforementioned experts, that one doesn’t make these snakes feel threatened. I am presuming that this includes not standing on them. And here is a case in point. 4 of the lads walked straight over the RBB snake on the path WITHOUT EVEN SEEING it…..the 5th person spotted it before he trod on it…which was fortunate for both snake and human, I suspect.

Thankfully, I leave you with a happy ending. The humans live. And so does the snake (at least when this went to print).

Red Bellied Black snake with full tummy

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