The snake wrangler

Host: Blina Station
Written by Constance Wood

I never knew that snakes drank milk. I had never thought about it. When I was visiting a neighbouring station last year, the cook there told me that milk powder attracts snakes. Incredulous, I followed the python we were looking at, straight to the open bag of powdered calf milk.

This is the first thought that popped in to my head the day I walked out on to my veranda to see a 6ft king brown trapped in by the fly wire. (Our house is elevated and the verandas are enclosed by fly screen).

I was just minding my own business and was coming from our kitchen with a cuppa back to the office. I open the door and “HOLY SUFFERING MOSES” there was a bloody great king brown on my veranda, caught on the inside jumping up and striking at the fly wire. I jumped and squealed, spilt my freshly made tea all over myself and wondered what the hell I was going to do.

I suddenly thought of my dogs. I ran and grabbed them and locked them inside the living area. I run to grab a rake, a broom, anything. It takes me a bit in my panic to locate a plastic broom (what the hell damage would I do with that?) Oh well, it’s all I’ve got. Peeping out at the snake to make sure it was on the veranda still. OMG. The snake has vanished. My blood pressure rises. I am not the most graceful of people at the best of times and I seriously doubted my prowess as a snake wrangling ninja. On a grade to padawan to Jedi master … I was more like JaJa Binks on Valium.

I peep through the glass doors from the safety of my lounge room to my inside garden. Which is really a poor excuse for a garden. A weird vine-weed thing had taken over and I thought “what the hey, it gives it a nice tropical feel”. Now I was regretting that decision to let the vine-weed grow wild as now instead of a tropical haven, it was now a top hide-out haven for nasty lady-killing snakes!

I skull-dragged the dogs into the car to find my snake killing husband, at this point in time he is the Obi-Wan-Kenobi of snake killing. Down to the shed I hoon. Snake killing Jedi master is not in attendance to my dismay, but I find a good substitute in the form of our snake-wrangling boreman.

I run down like a mad woman, I need some help, there is a snake in the Taj and now I can’t find it. Boreman grabs a rake and a shovel and heads in to battle with me. We also have Django, the snake sniffing hound. I release the hound on to the scent. Django is not as brave as I thought he would be and although he did sniff the scent of where the snake had been, he was very very jumpy and upon sniffing the snake, made a very hasty evacuation.

1-1-copyDjango the Cowardly Snake Sniffer. Photo Credit: Kerri Back Photography

We looked all over the place. We were sure (from Django’s trusty nose) that the snake was in the tropical snake haven inside garden. We start hitting and probing the vine with our snake killing sticks. Nothing. Brave boreman is standing on giant pot and stabbing at garden. But alas, our enemy did not surface.

Oh bugger, I thought. Now I have to try and go back to work in this house, knowing that my life is in peril! Suddenly it hits me like a thunderbolt from above. AH HA! I remember the cook’s advice – snakes love milk!

YES! I think. I AM A GENIUS! I rush to the fridge and grab the milk out. I also grab a couple of eggs for good measure. I place one bowl near the suspected snake hideout and another on the front lawn. (I am not sure what my rationale was here…. Perhaps to lure the snake out of the house??) I leave the front door open in case Joe Blake the snake wants to have an alfresco meal.

I keep the dogs in the car (running with air-con) as the snake sniffing dog is also rather partial to eggs and milk and I didn’t want to waste the bait. And I rush down the hill (there is a lot of rushing around going on in this story) as I have now used all of my milk on my fabulous snake traps, I have none left for my crumbed steak (what I lack in snake wrangling skills, I make up for in the kitchen!). On the way down I see my Jedi snake killing husband and two pilots (who I estimated at the time would have better snake wrangling skills than I). I must look a little crazed from all of the excitement as the #1 snake killer looks at me strangely when I tell him excitedly that “there-is-a-king-brown-in-the-house-somewhere-and-I-saw-it-and-I-lost-it-and—I-tried-to-find-it-and-the-dog-tried-to-find-it-and-boreman-was-there-but-not-to-worry-because-I-know-that-snakes-love-milk-and-I-have-set-up-some-snake-traps-to-lure-them-out-and-I-was-even-really-clever-and-put-out-eggs-as-well.”

Thinking they would be really super-duper impressed with my GENIUS idea. You can imagine my disappointment when they laughed at me. “Silly padawan, snakes don’t drink milk!” I scoffed and thought, you will be sorry when my snake traps work.

So I go and replenish my milk supplies from the cookhouse store. I drive back up the hill and as I round the corner to my house I see the two pilots running inside. WHOA I thought, the milk must have lured the snake out and they are going to kill it! I KNEW IT WOULD WORK!

I pull up and get out of the car. Something catches my eye. OH MY GOD. The snake is on the front lawn, they must have seen it and are running to get weapons to fight it! I squeal excitedly. I look at the snake, its head is right in that milk, wow I think to myself. That snake really loves that milk, it must be the extra egg I put in there.

No movement from my houseguests and Jedi knight husband. I get a bit scared now and think “oh lordy what if it gets extra energy from that milk and comes at me!” I quickly run behind the car and call to smy nake warrior husband.

“MATT, THE SNAKE IS ON THE LAWN. THE SNAKE IS DRINKING THE MILK. COME QUICKLY. MY SNAKE TRAP WORKED. I TOLD YOU THEY LIKED MILK!”

No answer.

“MAAAATTTTT. QUICK THE SNAKE IS ON THE LAWN.”

The snake keeps drinking milk.

“Matt?”

The snake is still drinking the milk.

Matt appears rather nonchalantly from the car port. I tell him excitedly about the snake, wondering why he hasn’t got the gun.

He looks at me very strangely again and says “what snake?”

I say to him “THE SNAKE THAT WAS INSIDE AND I SET THE MILK TRAPS FOR AND THE SAME ONE THAT I WAS TELLING YOU ABOUT AND I TOLD YOU THAT THEY LIKED MILK AND NOW IT IS DRINKING THE MILK ON THE FRONT LAWN!”

It was at this moment that my husband lost his composure and started laughing at me and the pilots tumbled out of the store laughing like little girls. I was a bit confused. I look back at the snake.. it is still drinking the milk and I look closer, and his head is submerged.

Then I realised I had been done.

The boys had come up to the house and the snake had emerged from the garden (lured out by my 1st snake trap no doubt) and they had defeated said snake and set him up on my outside snake trap for me to find.

So for the past year or so I have put up with the japes about being a snake wrangler and setting milk traps from our beloved pilots. I am convinced that it worked and I am now A JEDI SNAKE TRACKER.

(Not really, I still call for my snake killing husband like a little kid when I see the flash of scales in my vicinity!)

1-2-copyA Cheeky Chopper Pilot! Photo Credit: Kerri Back Photography.

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