Okay, I know it’s coming up to summer and the weather is getting warmer. Flowers are blooming, animals are procreating… and all of that. But summer doesn’t seem all that exciting to me when I wake up at 5:45am, stagger into the kitchen and find a snake snoozing next to the telephone. In the kitchen. IN MY HOUSE!!! So I took a good look at it (from a fairly safe distance) and noticed it wasn’t a python. So my second thought was, being that this is Australia, it’s an elapid (think whip snakes, tiger snakes, brown snakes, sea snakes, etc). Being that these are among the most dangerous snakes in the world, I was a little nervous. So I got on the internet (the snake was snoozing on the phone book) and found the Environmental Protection Agency 24 hour hotline. Called them on my mobile phone (the snake was snoozing next to the land line) and went through all the prompts:
“If you are calling about a pest that needs to be removed, press 1.”
“If the pest is in bushland, press 1. If the pest is around your house, press 2. If the pest is inside your house, press 3.”
“If you have a possum in the house, press 1. If you have a snake in the house, press 2.”
“If you live in Brisbane metropolitan area, press 1. If you live in Beaudesert, press 2. If you live on the Gold Coast, press 3. If you live in Toowoomba, press 4. If you live in Maroochydore, press 5. If you live in Noosa, press 6. If you live in Rockhampton or Bundaberg, press 7. If you live in Mackay, press 8.”
WHAT ABOUT IF YOU LIVE IN TOWNSVILLE??? So I pressed nothing. And eventually got another automated message:
“The business hours of the EPA are from 8:30 to 4:30 Monday to Friday. Please call back during those hours.”
So much for the 24 hour hotline. So I called a friend. Admittedly it was about 6:30 by this time, but this was a life or death emergency. And I knew he was the perfect person because he’s studying sharks; and sharks and snakes are both ancient, dangerous creatures that should not be messed with. Plus, a herpetologist friend is in England at the moment and that’s too far to come back to save my life, I thought. So, I explained my predicament to my shark pal. And he laughed. LAUGHED!! And told me to call the EPA. Cheers!
I then called out to my neigbour and asked if he knew anything about snakes and if so (and if not, help me anyway) could he come over and save my life. So he came over equipped with a huge shovel and a broom ready to do battle. I hid behind one of my quilts (I knew they’d be useful for something one day).
Okay, to cut an already long story slightly shorter, he managed to get it out of the house (by this time it was hiding in a cane basket I had near the phone and the phone book) where it slithered away, no harm done to any being, snake or human. I was a little embarrassed to realise that this killer was about 30cm long and it’s mouth probably wasn’t big enough to get a decent bite in anyway. But it pays to be cautious. At work I got on the internet and looked up elapids. And couldn’t find any that matched the description of this one. I did however notice that a little green tree snake matched the description perfectly, and they are very common around Townsville. And they are completely harmless. Which, thinking back, I would have known if I wasn’t in a panic when I first saw it. I figure it must have entered through the airconditioner, searching for geckoes for dinner last night.
Ah, always a drama round here!!!!