Hi all things have been a bit strained here over the past few days.
I’ve been visited, nay… a 2-meter Tiger snake has set up home in… and around my home.
It began a few weeks ago; I went to give the chooks some greenery and saw a large tiger snake in their yard. It was behind a sheet of tin leant up against one wall in a small nesting area I had for the chooks. I looked in at the chooks, and they seemed extremely happy because they hadn’t had access to that yard in a while. I was about to walk away when something caught my eye.
I looked just behind where the chooks were lying down and saw the head of a snake looking at me and I swear it seemed to be saying, “Help me!”
I went in and ushered the chooks off to bed before said snake could setup home in their pen. I thought it may have wandered into the cage and could get out. A onetime thing. I went out a couple of times and saw it was in the end cage and looked like it was trying to get out. It was getting on dusk the last time I saw it, and it never left the cage, although I couldn’t see it anymore.
I’ve had interactions with many Tigers and Copperheads over the years, with a copperhead almost giving me a kiss on the cheek as I let the chooks out one morning. It had found its way into the pen and was sitting on an old chair in there I use for a railing for the chooks to walk up and down on.
I’d stepped into the pen, leaned my head in and the copperhead leaned over to my face to see what I was I suppose…
For the next two days the snake was nowhere to be seen, and I thought it was all over. Around noon on the second day, I found two large rats dead next to the chooks seed bin inside their house.
Now at first, like any proud mother, I was impressed and thought, ‘Good onya girls. Taking out two rats, I wouldn’t want to mess with you.’
I’d watched the girls chase down field mice before, catch them, toss them into the air, then swallow them whole. But as I raked the Rats out of the house, I noticed each had two fang marks in them.
**We went to town and when we got home, I was walking to the back door of another little house we have on the property and just as I was reaching for the door handle, something caught my eye. halfway up the wall was a small Tiger snake. I knew they could climb, but this was the first time I had seen it. It was freaky to say the least.**
When I went back to lock the girls away that afternoon, everything was fine. I have my knee-high gum boots on and thick pants in case I meet Joe Blake, but he… or she… was nowhere to be seen. The next morning, I let the chooks out after a quick scan of the yard and all was as it should be.
When I went out for the noon greenery, I noticed something odd as I neared their house, then my heart leapt into my throat as I stood perfectly still, while looking around for the snake who’d just finished shedding its skin in the wire lining the stoop that leads into their yard.
It was early. I didn’t want to lock the girls away because it was also hot. I couldn’t see anything and I don’t live in a residential area, so calling a snake handler for an outside snake is only something I do when I see it’s set up home.
Around 3pm I went and checked to see if the snake was in the yard and there it was, sun bathing in the chooks outdoor area. I watched it for a while because if it left, I wanted to see where it went because snakes are territorial and will most times stick to the same areas. But this one moved back into the chooks run.
I went and called a snake handler and told them what had been happening and they sent someone out. When the snake handler arrived, he pulled apart the end cage, but the snake was nowhere to be seen.
The guy I spoke to on the phone told me that the snake would have killed the two rats and left them to eat later. When a snake sheds its skin, it is quite vulnerable. I knew where the rats were and although I hadn’t seen the snake for a day or two, I did notice the rats were gone, so I was very aware the snake was still somewhere in the yard.
On the second day without seeing the snake, I was walking back into my house, when I opened the front gate, only to have the snake, flip up into the air and slither away from where I was in the raised, front garden bed. I felt around in my pocket for my keys to the house and once I was sure it was far enough away, I got inside.
I saw it in the chook pen every second day for a while, but it’s been almost a week and I thought it had moved on until yesterday.
I sat at my computer, opened two manuscripts, with the intention of working through 3 chapters of the final edit for book one of Josephine Marlin and The Alternatives, part one, and the second chapter of part 2.
Everything was quiet, I’d just started writing, then I heard an odd noise in the roof. I get birds, and rats nesting in my roof, we get Possums on the roof, but not in it, so I’m used to hearing noises in the roof. I’d never heard this noise before. I stopped writing and listened.
It only took me a few minutes to realise what it was. It was the 2-meter snake slithering around in the roof chasing rats… would you like to know how I know?
Apart from looking out the front door in time to see a large rat make it to the wire gate, look over its shoulder back at the hole and cry ‘Tomlin,’ then slip under the gate.
I heard the ceiling groan a little under the weight of the snake, then I heard the squeal of a rat.
The snake moved to one corner and lay quiet… digesting…. for a little while. Then it spent a few hours trying to get out the same hole it had slithered through, but it was now carrying around a bulge in its belly.
I thought about calling a snake handler, but they can’t get into our roof cavity, there’s not much to stand on, and by the time someone got out to us, it would have been gone, anyway. I was just hoping the snake got out and didn’t fall through the sheet of thick cardboard that covers our manhole in the bathroom.
So after a hot day, it had begun to build up a nice breeze outside, so we opened the front door, slipped a handmade snake up against the bottom of the fly wire and let the breeze in. The snake had been quiet for a very long time, so I thought it had gotten out earlier. As I walked away from the front door, I turned back to see both cats sitting at the door, as a dog would. They were watching something.
I turned the front light on and there was Joe Blake. I think he’d climbed out of the roof and had been digesting the rest of Tomlin on the front verandah for a few hours. There he (I prefer he, because it’s likely she would be nesting somewhere near my front door in the near future… if not already.) was, all 2 meters of him, lain out along the ground, sticking its head under the gate for a little while before slithering out, and just as the last of his tail left, Tomlin’s mate, Andorio (a big rat) climbed under the gate, looked through the wire, then ran back up into the roof.
So I think it’s safe to say, I didn’t get any writing done yesterday. The noise didn’t start until around 11 am, it’s 11 am now….