Through some stories we may learn a little more about the history of our area.
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My mother is staying over at present, enjoying the summer weather here as opposed to battling the elements of a Northern Hemisphere winter in her homeland of Spain. Spain is a wonderful country with few poisonous indigenous species. Which is just as well because, naturally, she’s not keen on spiders and snakes - because some of them can kill you.
And for my own part, being brought up mostly in England, where there are no poisonous spiders and only one semivenomous snake, I too am not a fan of such life forms. I am therefore ill-prepared to deal with some of the wilder wildlife which exists on this fabulous island.
So can you imagine my joy at being called to our bathroom by my dear mother on the first Sunday before work this year, where we both witnessed a medium-sized snake lurking around the toilet? It must have got in underneath the laundry door and was happily slithering around hunting for something ... hopefully not prime Pommie flesh!
Now I’m sure I am not alone in this scenario … after all, you have to learn to live with nature in this country, right? And in the big picture I guess the snake has as much right to be on our plot as I do. But one thing was certain, we weren’t going to cohabit with it in the bathroom and it had to be ejected ASAP!
I had been wearing shorts as it was humid evening, but decided it would be prudent to tackle this wee beastie in thick jeans, boots, garden gloves and a coat. I almost put on my crash helmet but decided this was overkill. With my new attire donned I managed to corner the reptile and using a broom and some recently imbibed Dutch courage, trapped it just underneath its head with the brush.
I did my upmost not to harm the snake, but fearful it would turn on me when released, I ran outside whilst suffering a battering around the face from is tale in transit, and quickly ‘launched’ it into the garden. Its departure was a bit like that famous scene from ET the Extra Terrestrial, where the boy and the bike are framed riding across a full moon. In this Sunday night scenario it was a hissing snake flying across the Hinterland’s full moon, uncoiling in all its glory before landing in some long grass about 15 metres away.
Photo left - A red bellied black snake and a stevens banded snake.
Pics courtesy of Australia Zoo & Koala.net
But my actions – which caused me to need to administer myself a further drink purely for medicinal purposes - whilst effective, may not have been the best route according to the experts. So we turned to our friends at Beerwah’s award-winning Australia Zoo for some expert advice.
“Do not try to catch or approach a snake yourself, that’s how people get bitten,” advises Richard Jackson, Assistant Curator at Australia Zoo and head of its Reptile Department. “Stay well clear of the snake and call a snake catcher.
“If you call Australia Zoo we can refer you to a recommended snake catcher closest to your location and if we have staff available, we can sometimes come out and remove the snake ourselves. “Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will also be able to refer you to a list of snake catchers.”
According to Richard, the venomous snakes in significance to people that are found around the Hinterland are the Red Bellied Black Snake, Small Eyed Snake, Stephen’s Banded Snake and the Rough Scaled Snake.
“If you suspect you have a venomous snake around, we may be able to identify it if you have found a shedded skin. Or if you can get a digital photo of it from a safe distance without getting yourself into danger then just bring it down to Australia Zoo or e-mail the picture through to firstname.lastname@example.org,” he added. “Snakes are more active in the warm weather and in the Hinterland may still be about at night during the summer.”
Should the worst happen and you get bitten, Australia Zoo recommends the pressureimmobilisation method of first aid, where a tight bandage is wrapped around the bite area and the victim is immobilised.
This stops the venom from spreading quicker, although an ambulance should be called immediately via 000. For the details of the First Aid see Australian Venom Research Unit website http://www.avru.org
Australia Zoo can be reached on 5436 2000 and the QPWS 24-hour hotline for all enquiries is 1300 130 372. - Enjoy the rest of the summer!
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