Friday, December 01, 2006

Notechis Scutatus or the Tiger Snake. Now here is a pretty snake. (Unfortunately the photo is not mine, I have taken close up photos of these but they are not in digital format as yet.)
Commonly thought of as an aggressive snake and certainly venemous, they can grow to about 1.8 meters. If you get bitten you may be in a world of shit and possibly terminally fucked.
I used to be involved in teaching outdoor education activities and during a river trip had a memorable close encounter with a Tiger Snake.
Imagine, if you will, a summer river with 6 canadian canoes heading down stream - all filled with excited 13 year olds - who, after ten minutes or so practical experience, are not very good at driving them yet, and a lone kayak with yours truly on board.
The river narrows to about 15 foot wide, there are a few logs that span the river to negotiate, then a sandbar that runs paralel to the flow for about five foot. The river then opens into a large pool about fifty meters across and fairly long. All the banks are heavily vegetated.
At the very moment that the first two of the canoes were passing the last log, adjacent to and ending on the sand bar - out comes about seven foot of Notechis Scutatus - who has been having a bit of a snooze, and decides to go for a swim.
Luckily I was in a position to get in between the Tiger and the kids. The Tiger went into the water and across to the closest bank and got out, whew. Then did a u-turn and came back in.
(They are completely at home in the water and will actively hunt while swimming - sometimes they will float like a stick - with their head up a bit - look out any little bird wanting a perch.)
Anyway, back it came , into the water -there was no way I was letting the fairly calm snake get amongst the novice explorers in the canoes, could you imagine the scene, I could. Absolute fucken bedlam- agitated snake- screams- paddle whacks at the snake - overturned canoes- really pissed off snake amongst the punters. No thanks.
So I positioned myself and shepherded it across the river by paddling beside and slightly to the rear of it. If I had reached out with my right hand I could have easily grasped it around the midsection -(I had about an inch of freeboard in the kayak).
I wish that I had a camera with me. The snake in the image does not do justice to the magnificent creature that I paddled beside for fifty meters. The body would have been at least two inchs thick and about seven foot long, jet black and covered with vivid bright orangy/yellow bands. I did not feel threatened by it and it, I feel, did not feel threatened by me.
The next day I went back and found its nesting space in some rocks and got some close up photos ( 2 foot or so), again there was no sense of threat.
I don't mind snakes, leave them alone and they will do the same with you. Mostly they will disappear as you approach.
Death adders don't run away though- but that is a different story.

8 Comments:

Blogger L>T said...

I've never had a problem with snakes like some people do. I've always thought it comical the way some people freak out over snakes. (Although people with phobias assure me it's not funny at all.) & I hate it when people think they have to kill it for no reason. I grew up around Rattle snakes, Garter snakes & King snakes. I've never seen a snake in the wild that big though. The snake population where I live now has dwindled done to hardly anything. It's a treat to see any snake.

5:58 AM  
Blogger it's the little things said...

You are the fearless one, Rackorf. Just be careful one of those babies doesn't jump up and bite you in the chest. Someone might be shooting video, or something.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard brown snakes will chase you when agitated. Do you know if that's true? Do you even get brown snakes in WA?

1:37 AM  
Blogger Debstar said...

Hi Rackorf.(mighty unfriendly name there) Been visiting your blog for awhile. Great reading, love the photos. I've been inspired to post a few photos of Fraser Islan Qld if you're interested though I don't imagine my blog would hold any interest for you whatsoever. My address is www.debstar50.blogspot.com
My one an only fishing story was on October 5.

5:55 AM  
Blogger rackorf said...

l>t thats sad that your snakes have been wiped out.

little things - i could think of worse places to get bitten!!

anon - we do get brown snakes over here, mostly in the drier interior parts, where the reptile reigns supreme. Like all snakes, they would probably rather retreat than attack if given a chance.

Hi Debstar. I went to Fraser Island a couple of times years ago, nice place. I seem to recall that there is a resident dingo population there.

Re - swimming in ocean post - some guy had half a leg bitten off yesterday while surfing at Esperance!!

1:14 PM  
Blogger L>T said...

come over & check out my Elk pictures. :)

1:15 AM  
Blogger Arcturus said...

If it had been a bunch of American (as opposed to Canadian) 13-year olds, would you have reacted differently...?
:-)

As usual, your stories are incomparable and totally unlike any other blog I read.

As it is, you probably saved at least one of the little ... cunts' ... fucken ... life.

3:36 PM  
Blogger rackorf said...

I made sure the munchkins had the best time they had ever had on any camp.
All ages, colors, nationalities and special needs. About fifty thousand a year.
Imagine me - i've done just about every job you could think of - including the army (which I loved) and know a little bit about the bush - as the sargeant major of 60 or so of the of the troops. (mind you. without my usual fucken eloquence - ever, I might add)
My job was to teach them how to do what I have basically done for as long as I can remember ( fuck around climbing things, jumping over and off things, looking at compasses, the bush and its inhabitants , and MAKE SURE that they had FUN, and where possible make sure they didn't break themselves "I'd suggest that you all do this activity the way that I show you, else you'se will have to make ambo noises -whheee waaaa whee waa- all the way to the hospital" )
I moonlighted as the mild, quiet, bus driver that drove them out to the camp -then turned into the sargeant major when we got there. (bus driving is an excellent way to spot the usual two or three ratbags).
Get their attention real quick, sort out the walleys - push ups if you're late, folded arms, chewing gum or don't have a sunhat. Go for a run if you have too much energy and are disrupting the team, then come back and learn. I made sure that every activity was promoted as the biggest, hardest, most challenging objective that they had ever faced - including an obstacle course that would do an army proud, the tower of terror(abeiling), the jaws of death ( mild but noisy river rapid around a blind corner) the fifty km bike ride, "and its all uphill-hills are good, 'cos you get to pedal hard" (6km half up/half down), and in their minds they were.
At the end of the camp there was a functioning team of confident young folk that had overcome many fears,
and they had learned how to have FUN in trying circumstances.
I had a great time having fun in the bush doing what I like doing and met some fucken characters, kids, teachers and parents. But thats another story...

3:11 AM  

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