I guess you could say I was with mixed feelings about our rescue. If you remember from my last entry we were headed up to Bangely Track to help a bloke from one of the mining companies who had run off the road when a whipsnake popped up between his legs as he was driving and he chose to run into a tree rather than say hello.
I guess you can see why I had mixed feelings?
Well let me just say I’m not scared of men from mining companies. Some of them can be a bit raw, a bit chauvinistic and a bit blokey but they honestly don’t scare me enough to turn me away from such a rescue. In fact one of the best bits of such a rescue is that I can pretty much name my price because the bean counters at most mining company are too interested in keeping their air conditioned offices cool than they are about checking the bills of their staff thousands of kilometres away. Interestingly enough I have never had a mining company bean counter ring me and question a bill of mine in twenty something years of helping them.
Oh and I’m not scared of snakes either.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not about to go out and make friends with snakes. I’m not bringing them home to save them from the harsh Australian Outback, but I’m not afraid of them either. I’m a firm believer that if you treat snakes with respect they will do the same for you. That respect extends to not getting to close to them if you don’t need to be. Sometimes it’s unavoidable and you’re in their space before you know it, at which time you need to back out slowly and without sudden movements, but not being there in the first place is always preferable.
It’s also for that reason I don’t advocate taking them home and making them pets. They belong in their natural environment and that environment is not in a cage, tank or house. Should any snake be found in such a location, unless it’s in a lab where they are milking it to make anti-venom they should be removed and let back in the wild immediately.
I also wont kill a snake unless it’s a threat to myself or someone else and therefore when the mining man told me that the snake was possibly still in his vehicle I did have mixed feelings. I was glad that he didn’t do the scaredy chicken thing and kill what he didn’t like or understand, but at the same time I was also slightly hesitant given that there was a good chance I’d have to find the snake before I even considered what the vehicle needed.
Almost as if he was reading my mind Matthew spoke at the same time as I was having the above thoughts.
“What are you going to do about the snake?”
“As I told Nick, that’s why I brought you along!”
Matthew had the same opinion of snakes that I did. I don’t know which one of us had seen the most snakes in our life time but he wasn’t the sort to go around and just shoot one because it was where he wanted to be.
“And I humoured you at the time because you are my sister and I didn’t want to embarrass you in front of your boyfriend.” The way he emphasised boyfriend sounded like a thirteen year old afraid to talk to girls. “Now we are alone I thought we could be serious.”
“We could be” I replied. “But where would the fun be in that?”
“You know,” is was a statement leading into something else I could tell! “Sometimes I worry about you!”
“Awe, that’s sweet. I worry about you too.”
I turned off the main highway and onto the sandy track. We were still about an hour from the location I’d been given, which was a GPS location so it would be fairly accurate, but I knew a bit of a short cut that even at the lower speed of the sand would get us closer to where we needed to be in a shorter time. Because the track was a fairly well made track and the sand was very solid since we hadn’t had any rain for a good period of time I didn’t bother airing the tyres down. I would eventually have to do it once we got closer to Bangely Track but I had plenty of time for that.
As we started bumping along the dirt I glanced over to Matthew, who hadn’t spoken for the few seconds it took to make the turning manoeuvre, and finished the conversation we’d been having.
“I don’t really know what we are going to do about the snake. I guess it’s going to be a case of suck it and see. Unless we can see the thing with our eyes we might just have to assume it’s still in there.” I said.
“What sort did you say it was?”
“A whipsnake. In this area and by the description a Narrow-headed whipsnake, but I’m only going by what limited information I was given.”
“So, angry enough to bite us if we get in its way and venomous enough to make us wish we weren’t bitten in the first place.” Matthew’s statement was not one of shock, I think he was just confirming his thoughts verbally.
“Hopefully we don’t anger it or frightening it. I’ve got the snake tongs and hooks in the toolbox if we have to go hunting through the vehicle we can do it from a distance.”
I’m not sure if those words reassured Mathew, they didn’t reassure me a great deal and I said them, but I was thinking positive that what we were going to do was not going to have us looking eye to eye with a venomous whipsnake.
Previous Outback Rescue story here.