Marcia wanted to leave for the bank early this morning. Roddie turned up on time for a change so I tossed him the keys of the Jeep and told him to check the fluids etc, while I made him a cup of tea.
Finally, Marcia was satisfied with her hair, her outfit and the contents of her handbag so the pair of them left in a cloud of dust.
Great, I thought, feed Alex, watch the news, check emails. I like my morning routine.
I was sat behind the laptop when Alex started shouting, ‘Daddy! Daddy! A snake! Come and see!’
If it’s not a snake, it’s a monkey, or a big bird, or an interesting pebble, he always has something new and exciting to show me.
‘OK, Son,' I called out not really paying attention, 'bring it in here’
So he did.
‘Is it poisonous, Alex?’
‘I don’t know’ he admitted, ‘is it?’
I am going to have to stop snake wrangling in front of him. At least until he can tell the difference.
Had that been a Mamba, despite his Superman shorts and T-shirt, he'd be dead by now.
Had that been a Mamba, despite his Superman shorts and T-shirt, he'd be dead by now.
Years ago, in a children's magazine, i read that you could tell if a snake were poisonous by his eyes. Round eyes meant one thing, eyes more like slits meant the other. I've forgotten which was which, and i never found out if it were really true.ReplyDelete
So, how do you know if a snake is poisonous?
When it bites me.Delete
By the way Megan, if you see a snake during your bush perambulations, I defy anyone to spend the time examining its eyes, or the shape of its head before running away!Delete
I also thought about that, Tom. Usually, when i see a snake, i find myself a little hypnotized watching it move, and i don't notice its eyes. Fortunately, there are no native poison snakes where i live, and to my knowledge none of my neighbours have boas or pythons that could be particularly worrisome.Delete
At my last locale, though, a neighbour got bitten by a large, black snake. Snake wasn't poisonous, but the bite still hurt and got infected, so it wasn't a walk in the park, either.
I thought the only place that didn't have poisonous snakes was Ireland?Delete
Where do you live then? No! Don't tell me, Marcia will want to move there!
NZ has no snakes either. I think they all left that colder country and came to Australia - they foretold what the NZers were going to do to the sheep and did not want to have a Baaa of it.Delete
Nige, NZ has no snakes? Are you forgetting our old boss?Delete
How do you know if a snake is poisonous? Always carry your "Observer" book of snakes about your person so that when you spot one you can check out her (not his) particular characteristics. "Oh it's the rare Angolan Adder ( Bitis heraldica)....Damn! I knew I shouldn't have let the sucker bite me!"ReplyDelete
It is Bitis Arientans here when it comes to vipers.
The ones that really scare me are the Mambas. They can knock a buffalo down and they won't just strike once. They'll rear chest high and machine gun you.
It's like the time I rang our local National Parks to ask about a snake that had the kids bailed up sitting on top of the outdoor furniture. Was is an Eastern Brown? They asked if it had pink spots on its underbelly!!! It seems we have so many here that look brownish the only way to tell for sure is the size and number of scales around the sexual organs !!! Yeah right !!ReplyDelete
PS. Officially we're notallowed to kill snakes here. They're native wildlife and therefore protected. ( so are crocodiles !!!)Delete
The golden rule should be to observe them from a distance and leave them well alone. The trouble for me is when they come into the house. Marcia throws a fit and, since I really do not want to kill them, I am left with no choice but to catch them and Alex is usually a witness.Delete
The only exceptions I make are to creatures that genuinely pose a threat to my boy so if I recognise the snake as poisonous or having a long Brown ten foot long reptilian body with four legs and jaws lined with teeth, I kill it.
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Right; you're in the company of the founding member of the 'Kill all Snakes Society' here. Thank goodness we only have grass snakes around us, otherwise I'd be living in Ireland. How the hell did Alex catch that thing? I'll send him an application form for the KASS.ReplyDelete
He did what I do when I am after a snake, grabbed it by the tail and held it at arm's length. The trick is then being able to grab it behind the head so it can't bite you. The most common type of snake here is the African House Snake (a few of which I introduced into the house to successfully deal with the rodent problem)and so long as you handle them gently, do not bite.Delete
This was only the third python I have seen. The most common dangerous snake I have seen (and killed) here is the Viper.
Even I feel a quickening of the heart and a tightening of the sphincter when I go for a snake because although I can easily identify a Viper and go into kill mode, I am aware that there are venomous snakes that look remarkably similar to large house snakes.
Since we are currently at loggerheads I shan't say a word.ReplyDelete
Only: Don't neglect to read Alex Rudyard Kipling. Or at least let him watch "Jungle Book" (the Disney version). He'll learn all about the necessities of life. Also Ted Hughes "How the Whale became and other stories". Best on audio tape, read by the author, Ted Hughes having (had) such a wonderful speaking voice.
You and me are at loggerheads? Since when?Delete
Oh, possibly you are referring to your recent post in which you pointed out to your readers, publicly humiliating I, that me have a weak grasp of grammar since me frequently misuses ‘me’ and ‘I’.
Believe I, Ursula, me took it in good humour and only challenged you to quote, verbatim, some examples of my heinous crime. Me think it would take more than a lifetime to master the intricacies of the English language so we are all still learning, especially I, so me was being genuine when me asked you to guide I with some examples because me really wants to learn. It was YP who pointed out to I that me had misspelt ‘Involuntary’ on my blog strapline. Me took no offence then and me take no offence now. Since me started blogging, me have learnt much about correct English and Grammar, it’s like me am back at school again and it doesn’t cost I anything.
You wrote in your post that if me wanted lessons in grammar, to look no further. So me posted a comment on your blog asking you to help I.
Me also have real problems with commas. Me misplace them all the time according to another commentator on my blog. This confused I as me know exactly where the comma key is on my keyboard. Me appreciate any help, advice and guidance you can give I.
By the way, me like Rudyard Kipling too. He was always considered the Soldier's poet and, at my father's funeral, me recited from memory, Tommy Atkins.Delete
Give it a rest, will you.Delete
What do you want me to do for my sins? Face an angry hippo?
When facing angry lion, stand still.Delete
When facing angry Hippo, bend over...
Better to read him Hilaire Belloc's 'Cautionary Tales'. Always keep ahold of Nurse, for fear of finding something worse (as in being eaten by a Lion).Delete
So fucking cool. I did that once too as a kid. It was a king brown curled up in my sand bucket. Got the photo.ReplyDelete
Oh, post the photo, pleeeeze!Delete
King Browns, aren't they a trifle dangerous?
ok ... so my Dad's got the photo. I will ask him and post it.Delete
When my son was 4, one of our neighbors worked for Fish & Game. He taught all the kids how to identify and handle our local snakes - many of which are rattlesnakes. I caught all kinds of criticism once when, on a walk with relatives, we saw a snake and I called my 4 year old to come handle the situation.ReplyDelete
In a previous marriage, I had a stepdaughter. I organised a birthday party for her and her school friends, we were living in Cape Town at the time, and engaged the South African equivalent of the late Steve Irwin to bring hog loads of snakes, other reptiles, spiders, scorpions etc. even a Kestrel which would fly to the children's hands. The highlight was when he uncoiled a twenty foot python, lined all the kids up side by side so they could have a group photo of them cradling the snake in their arms.Delete
The parents went fucking ape when they found out!
Some parents can be so jealous of their kids having fun.Delete
I love it when my kids are having fun. Means I can let them get on with it and quietly continue scoofing my whisky. Did I say that!Delete