Thursday, 3 April 2014

A few words from Nick: A tale about a tail-less snake!

I was walking BlackGate Road today, enjoying finding good opal and not having to dig for it.

Black Gate Road was constructed from crushed mine waste and contains considerable colour.

I saw a car coming up the road and a pair of locals I knew stopped and asked how I was doing. I showed them the piece I had just picked up which was dazzling with colour in the sun. They were suitably impressed. We talked about the sort of opal found and how it came to be there.

They then mentioned they had a snake on their verandah. I expressed happiness for them but it seemed they weren't happy.  They voiced their concern and asked if I could remove the snake. I then realised they had come up just to get me and they confirmed they went to the shack first - and Rebecca told them where I was.

I went with them to their house and caught the snake in a white feed bag. The couple are residents of Yowah but are not at all good with snakes. The lady was nowhere to be seen for the snake-catching and when I called the man for a bag he wouldn’t come to the door. Instead, he tossed the bag through the window.

I'm glad I didn’t need any help or worse, some first aid. I would have had to take the snake out before any help was forthcoming!

As I observed the snake, I noted it was the same one that I had previously shoo-ed off the back road. He/she is identifiable due to missing the end of it's tail.

It was a hot day and the snake needed to be released quickly. I took him/her up Blackgate Road to release near where I had found the good opal earlier that morning. I took Rebecca and Erin with me as good photos are essential and Erin likes the release bit.

The snake was not being very cooperative for a good photo. As I was about 30 metres away from Rebecca and Erin, I herded him a bit closer to them. I looked up to see Erin and Rebecca running back to the car and trying to climb in the closest door. Erin got in the front seat first and Rebecca was arguing that was her seat and Erin needed to get out “NOW!!”

I went over and got the camera and took the close-up photos myself. As you can see the snake was very well behaved.

I identified him as a Western Brown snake although I didn’t get him upset to see inside his mouth. They have black inside their mouths (Nuchalis).

I have seen a few of these snakes now and they seem quite similar in appearance. Out here they have colouring like the Mulga snake but he has a slightly different shaped head and behaves a bit differently when approached.

Opal and a snake on Blackgate Road. Overall a very good day.

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