Of course I didn’t leave Matthew to go snake hunting all by himself, that would have been cruel. Actually it could have been worse than that, could you imagine if word got out that I let the lacky do the dangerous work, I’d have never heard the end of it! Although if bosses in this world were allowed to gag lackies for the sake of it…sorry I digress. I also must stop referring to Matthew as my lacky, I know he’s more than that, he’s a good worker and a good brother, but because he’s both I do have to keep him on his toes a little bit.
So we got the snake out and headed home!
That was a bit anti-climactic wasn’t it?
Only kidding, I wouldn’t just leave it like that.
As I think I mentioned I always carried snake tongs in the Beast, they weren’t something I was trained to use, they weren’t even something I liked to use but they were there. The reason I had them was because they seemed like a better choice than picking up the snakes by hand and cuddling them until they were out of danger.
Quite a few years ago I was actually shown how to use the snake tongs by one of the Western Australian wildlife rangers who stopped by Halls and asked me what I did if I was preforming a rescue and a snake reared it’s head. Actually he didn’t just stop by and ask me that question, he was in town on business and asked while we were having a chat over a few beers. Yes that sounds better.
Apparently “be nice to it” was not the answer the ranger expected and he decided to show me a few tips and methods to limit the chances of me being attacked. It was good advice that I would always remember and be thankful for. It was also advice that saw me purchase a kit of tools that the ranger recommended would keep snakes at distance while removing them from where I didn’t want them. Obviously it wasn’t a fool proof thing and there was some danger involved but it was better than a shotgun.
The first thing we did was open all the doors of Alex’s vehicle, I realise that if the snake hadn’t escaped in the hour since Alex parked it just opening the doors wasn’t going to encourage it to make a break for freedom but it did give us more room.
As you’ve probably heard snakes are cold blooded, that means they like the sun to warm up or the shade to cool down and depending on the species of snake as to how much of either they like. Up in the north west of the country we don’t get hundreds of different species but we do get quite a lot of the ones that do call here home. Unlike in the southern states, especially over in the east, where snakes come out mostly in summer to bathe in the sun and keep warm, many of our snakes actually get out of the sun because they are too warm. Hiding in a car might have been the ideal spot for such a snake, it would still be warm but not searing hot like the Western Australian sun can be.
Without doing it purely as an aide to what we needed Alex helped us a lot by actually having a relatively clean and tidy car. It was something many on road salesmen and workers did not manage to do. Actually women are the same too, it’s not a sex thing, in fact some women treat their vehicles worse than men when it comes to cleanliness. Anyway Alex’s car was relatively clean with nothing strewn on the floor and pretty much everything in it’s place.
So the first thing we did after we couldn’t see the snake from a distance in the open places was gently probe under the front seats with the snake tongs. We weren’t trying to provoke it but we did hope that if it was under the seats it would at least poke its head out to avoid the tongs. Unfortunately that didn’t work and after several moments of moving the tongs about under the seat and not getting any response we moved on to the back seat.
The back seat in most vehicles these days doesn’t have a huge amount of space underneath it and just like the front seat Alex really hadn’t slobbed the car up so there was nothing in the way as we searched for the snake. Of course there was every chance it had crawled up into and among the springs of the seat and therefore not disturbed by our probing but I wasn’t thinking about that. I was still thinking about the obvious and easy choices hoping that before we used up all those options the snake would slither out and head off of its own accord.
From the floor under the seats we moved to the next easy and obvious place, the boot of the vehicle. Yes the boot, I’m sure we’ve been through this before and some people just don’t understand a trunk is the big dangling thing on an elephant not a place in your car where you put your luggage or shopping. Again Alex was a tidy driver and he only had a few bags and boxes in the back.
The bags were easy to remove with the tongs, they weren’t overly heavy and the handles were easily hooked from what I hoped was a safe distance. It was as I lifted the second bag, a smallish sports bag no doubt full of clothes and personal stuff, that Matthew saw the tail of the whipsnake slither behind one of the two wooden boxes.
“There it is.” he said.
Previous Outback Rescue story here.