Home > Environment, Science & Technology > I have HAD IT with these m-f SNAKES in this m-f CITY!!!

I have HAD IT with these m-f SNAKES in this m-f CITY!!!

January 20, 2007

A record drought in Australia has driven snakes in search of water:

Many venomous reptiles are moving into residential and business areas in search of moisture. Last week a 16-year-old boy in Sydney died from a bite by an Eastern Brown, one of the world’s deadliest snakes.

Many parts of Australia have been hard-hit by the drought, described as the worst for more than 100 years. Experts have warned that an army of snakes is on the move, looking for water. Driven by extreme thirst they have been discovered in gardens, bedrooms and even Australian shopping centres.

Hospitals have reported a rising number of snakebites. Toxicologists have said there have been 60 serious cases since September.
- BBC News: Australians face snake invasion

Most of the websites I checked said that the risk from snakebites in Australia is overstated – Oz has “7 of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world, if you are a mouse”.  (I liked this one: “Alcohol is involved in a significant number of snake bites”)  But the same article says; “Largely due to their behaviour, Australia’s poisonous snakes are actually some of the least dangerous in the world.”  Unless, I suppose, something like a drought changed their behavior.

The only venomous snakes I’ve encountered were rattlesnakes and one time a copperhead.  Neither are particularly dangerous if you keep your eyes open and don’t bother them.  And neither is likely to kill you even if you do get bitten.

I’d much rather encounter a rattler than an irritated pit bull.  Rattlers can only strike half their length, so take two steps back and you’re fine.  They won’t chase you because you’re too big to eat.  Dogs, on the other hand, are territorial pack animals, often give chase, and can run 25mph.

One rattler I encountered in Washington state was snoozing.  I was climbing a cliff at Vantage on the Columbia river.  As I raised my head above the edge of a plateau, I found myself face-to-face with a rattler, coiled up under a sagebrush.

Ah – I’ll just be going, then.  I lowered back down and inched along the ledge, climbing up again several feet away.  I’ll admit my heart beat a bit faster but i couldn’t afford to get very agitated as gravity was a far bigger hazard in that situation than the snake would be.  If the snake ever noticed me, it gave no sign.

(Title: with apologies to Samuel L. Jackson in Snakes On A Plane)

  1. January 21, 2007 at 22:32 | #1

    I’d much rather encounter a rattler than an irritated pit bull.

    How I second that motion! Reminds me of something that happened to me. It was this summer in Ireland, and I was riding my bike down a country road in County Armagh. Suddenly, out of nowhere comes this pit bull running and he stops right in front me, not budging. I let out a “Helloooo?” since there was a house near me, but no one was around. I slowly got off the bike and walked away very slowly the way I came. I came back the next day and sure enough was the pit bull, though this time it didn’t bother me. I guess they just don’t like strangers…

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