Snakes alive!!

February 2019. With the extremely hot weather we have been experiencing lately, its no surprise that snakes are now on the move, and warnings of this are being issued by the local radio stations.

During one of mycleans at the holiday “Farm House”, I found this snake skin that was left on the kitchen counter by a guest. It was amazing to look at, and probably the skin from a carpet snake (python)!

Snake skin (probably of a carpet snake found by a guest.

Towards the end of February Steve saw a half a metre long red-bellied black snake (venomous) in the back garden. He had walked around the corner of the house and there it was, within a few metres of Gracie, who LUCKILY was fast asleep! Steve stopped in his tracks, and the snake hastily disappeared around the back of the shed, and escaped down the side of the garden, unseen by Gracie. Gracie continued sleeping, totally oblivious that a snake had been so close to her! And just as well, too, or she would have dived right in to attack and kill it! Her instincts are amazingly strong. Even if you show her a snake skin, she knows exactly what it is and before you can blink, she snatches it out of your hand and “kills” it! This is all very well if it is just an old sloughed off skin, but who knows how she will fare if she tackles a real live snake! She is now ten years old, and her reflexes are starting to slow down. I’m hoping that I will never know the answer to that question!

Gracie “killing” a snake skin!

While out walking the dogs the other night just on sunset (and later than usual) I got such a fright as there was a carpet snake (python) stretched out across someones driveway, watching us warily as we walked past. LUCKILY Gracie did not see the python or we would have had a lunatic dog on our hands! We continued on our walk home, watching the path in front of us to make sure we didn’t have any more surprises! I have a feeling that we will be doing our daily walk a lot earlier from now on!

Not long after sighting that python, we arrived home from shopping one day to hear the birds making a lot of noise near the chicken pen. Their warning calls were loud and anxious, so we went outside and carefully approached, only to find a carpet snake slithering down our Tamarillo tree. It tried to hide from us in the corner of a garden bed, but Steve gently nudged it with a long pole, and it slithered away…..into one of our drainage pipes! Needless to say, we left it there for the rest of the day, and during the night it slithered off, leaving behind its calling card – a large smooth white poop! (sorry, I forgot to take a photo of it!).

Beautiful pattern of the carpet snake
Carpet snake retreating to the safety of a drain pipe.
Spot the snake! Thin tail-end of the carpet snake as it slid away into the drain pipe.

Then last week, I was pottering around in the back yard, re-potting some of my young plants, when I heard a rustle behind a pot that was only 30 cm from me. I glanced down and caught a glimpse of an olive green tail and yellow belly of a snake disappearing into the nearby hibiscus bush! We decided that it had to be a harmless tree snake, but I am still wary when I move plants around in that garden bed!

This second week of March 2019 has been very hot again, so I have been very alert when I am outside, but thankfully I have not spotted any more snakes. Gracie is still safe, as she likes to sleep inside the house when its hot, which suits us fine at the moment as she is still more than a little interested in the bantam hens.

Funnily, I have had a couple of times during the past months when I have felt nervous and thought there was snake nearby. When I worked for Keith Walker at Nursery Corner, near North Riding, Randburg, I would get those feelings too, and say to him that we would see a snake that day……and we always did!! Hopefully with autumn approaching the snakes will go into hibernation soon and life can go back to normal again without me having these nervous feelings!