Snakes and fluffy things

I really don’t like snakes.  I don’t like snakes to the point that my dislike of snakes verges on pathological terror.  On a scale (pardon the pun) of one to a hundred (where 1 = no fear, and 100 = get me outta here now!!!!), I think my fear of snakes would register up there at one hundred.  Granted, being the proud owner of a genuine snake phobia does make my choice of living on a farm surrounded by snake habitat paradise seem a little…well…dumb.  But anyway…

I understand that snakes are a natural part of the ecosystem, and I get that they serve a very important role and that they were in this environment first…but I just can’t like them.  In my defence, my history with snakes hasn’t given me a lot of reason to find them endearing.  (Before I launch into tales of snake trauma, I have to clarify: I live in Australia.  Of all the world’s deadliest snakes, we’ve got most of them).  And now onto the snake stories…

In his teen years, one of my brothers was bitten on the arm by a snake while attending a youth camp in the bush.  The young campers, desperate and scrambling to find a bandage, removed their socks and tied them together to construct a makeshift snakebite bandage. My very ill brother was rushed to hospital with police escort.  I’m hazy with the details, I wasn’t all that old at the time, but my understanding is he was very unwell and lucky to have survived the encounter.  I can still remember my mum washing all those socks to return to the kids from the camp….

Then, a couple of years ago, a young relative of mine, living in the city at the time, put his hand into the mailbox to check for letters and felt a sharp stab.  A quick check of the mailbox revealed, you guessed it, a snake.  I’d had plans to meet their family for dinner that evening and was alarmed to get a call saying they wouldn’t be able to make it as they were waiting for an ambulance – their son had been bitten by a snake.  As it turned out, the snake was a python and not poisonous.  But I probably lost a few hairs and turned some more grey waiting to hear whether he was ok.  Full credit to his parents who handled the whole thing with spectacularly cool heads.

I’ve also come face to face with a snake in the kitchen of a house where I lived.  I knew then, as I know now, that you’re meant to stay completely still when you see a snake.  I didn’t.  I have no conscious memory of running, but the next thing I knew I was standing at the top of a staircase clinging onto a pole.  Not one of my finest moments 🙂

Annnnnd, back to life on the farm….

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The photo above was taken after my kids pointed out the window and wanted to know what that “weird thing” was on the screen outside.  Yes, it is a ridiculously long snake’s skin.  I like to think it belonged to very long, very harmless python.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  All I can say is I’m thankful I didn’t look out the window when the snake who owned that skin was still there.  I’m sure you would’ve heard the screaming from wherever you live.

To be very serious for a moment, there are times when I really question whether I’m doing the right thing for the kids living here.  For me, the fear of snakes is an ever present one.    That being said, I’ve only seen one snake on the property over the nine months we’ve lived here (a black snake squeezing itself into an impossibly small gap in the chick’s cage last week – all the chicks survived).  That probably equates to about the same number of snakes I’ve seen when living in the city.  I talk to my kids about safety when it comes to snakes – what to do to avoid them (never go into long grass or shrubs, never put your hands or feet where you can’t see them) and what to do if you see one (stay well away if you see a snake in the distance, or, if you are close, stand completely still and yell ‘snake!’).  We talk about leaving snakes alone and never ever trying to touch one with your hand or anything else.  I’m also conscious of passing onto my poor kids my snake phobia.  Who’d be a parent?  The worries are endless…

Anyway, because I have to end on a nicer note, we had a lovely surprise a few days ago…The original guinea fowl that came with the farm have finally had their own keets!  We gave up months ago on any hope that the fourth guinea fowl was ever going to hatch her clutch of eggs and bought our own keets from a breeder.  But looking out the window a few days ago, I saw the mother guinea fowl and three keets helping themselves to our chicken feeder.  Never say never!  A few pics of the new family:

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Mother guinea fowl teaching keet about grain
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Two of the three keets
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The four adults and three keets
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And wandering off into the distance

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Snakes and fluffy things

  1. I hate those reptiles myself. I’m glad the guinea fowl are doing good. Let’s hope that there won’t be anymore snakes! 🙂

    P.S Do you have an instagram account? It would be a great way to connect with many more people, since I know quite a few that would love the chance of having a little red brick farm blog there! 🙂 I hope you consider it!

    PPS. How is your kitten?

    Like

    1. Response from the kids: Amy the kitten is doing fine (except she uses the couch as a scratching post and trips you over by her food bowl 🙂 . She is still the cutest little bundle of mischief!! We have an Instagram account. You can search for us under littleredbrickfarm.

      Like

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