Living where we do I have a snake story or two....actually once started more than a few but most of our snakes are of the non~venomous variety. We've a big carpet snake living in our roof. Every so often he bumps our t.v antenna & all we get on screen is snow. There's a green tree snake that slithers across the kitchen on occasion & the unknown snake that Theo chased round the house one night with the butcher's knife & a very over excited cat. We've found them curled up in discarded clothing & the skins draped down our walls. They adorn the road where it's warmest & curl around the lip of the compost bin. Our cats chase disappearing tails & the snakes chased the hens' new laid eggs.
Snakes don't particularly bother me. Leeches freak me out more but just the same we have most of the world's most poisonous snakes in this country & as I can't tell the difference between most of them my children learnt to be cautious. Joss came in one afternoon rather agitated because there was a snake where they wanted to camp & would I come look. I looked, I saw & declared the snake harmless so Joss picked it up to deposit it elsewhere ~ at which point I freaked. Prominently displayed was a very red belly & only 2 Australian snakes have red bellies ~ both of them poisonous!!! That snake was air born & flying into the bush in double quick time.
Eventually I managed to train my children to leave snakes alone, to avoid agitating them & not to freak as most snakes aren't aggressive unless threatened but before we got to that happy state of affairs we had some interesting moments.
My twins were notorious for collecting & hiding forbidden items. Dearest, who lost every tape measure he ever owned while building the house, eventually found them at the bottom of his brick pallets, his son's treasure trove rusting away in happy oblivion. The boys'd been posting them surreptitiously for months. They were so notorious that spotting Dino slinking round I hastily made enquiries.
"What've you got there, Dino?"
I dragged out his hands but all I found was an old coke tin. Rubbish certainly but harmless enough.
"Go put it in the bin," I instructed. He trotted off but knowing my small sons weren't particularly obedient I followed him only to find him secreting the tin out of sight ~ not a good omen!
I was suspicious but from experience more than a little cautious.
"What's in it, Dino?"
"My new pet," Dino confessed. " I watched it crawl all the way in before I picked it up." Alarm bells rang. What sort of pet is small enough to fit inside a coke tin? Somehow I didn't think my young son was collecting lizards, which were a dime a dozen round our place. In a burst of confidence, Dino continued. " Can I keep it mum? It won't eat much."
"That depends, " I hedged. "What exactly is it?"
What it was, it turned out, was small & black & legless ~ with a red belly! A small~eyed snake. I can handle most things, even snakes, but I didn't think my small son was up for a venomous snake as a pet. I took the tin a long, long way away & discarded it, snake & all. Some things just aren't meant to be & I was never destined to be the mother of the next Steve Irwin!