Friday, 19 May 2017

Snakes alive!

The Sepia Saturday prompt this week features a fairly big snake curled up in the lap of a lady wearing what looks like a snakeskin patterned leotard and fishnet stockings. Funnily enough I have no family photographs of anyone in fishnets, although our elder daughter did jazz ballet for some years and may perhaps have occasionally worn a pair as part of her various performance costumes. I did uncover a few photos of people with snakes however, which I've included below.

This first photo shows our younger son and daughter at the Australian Reptile Park, an attraction just north of Sydney, to which my mother was fond taking family and visitors for an interesting outing. You can safely visit the park here and explore what exciting attractions they have to offer. Despite the name of the park, they also have other Australian animals, some of which are a lot more cute and cuddly. 

Our son who was about 6 in this photo from 1991 doesn't seem particularly worried about or even interested in the snake around his neck, but his four year old sister is giving it a close look. Of course this would have to be a non-poisonous species such as a python of some kind, so there would be no real danger to the children. 
They keep highly venomous snakes like the Eastern Brown Snake there too but I'm sure they are not available for the public to handle. They are milked for their venom, as are spiders like the Funnelweb, and the venom is then sent to a laboratory where life-saving anti venom is produced.

Here are our older son and a school friend on a class excursion later the same year, looking happy and unconcerned about the large python adorning their necks. 

This third photograph is from 1996 and shows my late sister-in-law Penny. My mother's caption reads "Penny is brave".  She was indeed brave, not so much for holding what was perhaps a corn snake, again harmless, but because around ten years later she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she fought courageously for four years before succumbing in 2011. You can read an earlier blog I wrote in her memory here. RIP dear Penny.

Our daughter pictured in the first photo above now lives on a country property where snakes are a not uncommon sight. According to the Reptile Park web site, the deadly Eastern Brown isn't aggressive but when we encountered one in the long grass off the beaten track one summer day it practically chased me down the paddock! I certainly hope they keep a close eye on our young granddaughter who has just started toddling about.

The Australian Blue Tongue lizard is a far more friendly reptile that can at first sight be mistaken for a snake because its little legs are initially rather inconspicuous. 12 years ago we lived in the leafy Sydney suburb of Turramurra and had several blue tongues as long-term residents in our garden. In the first photo one is peering into our garden shed. You would get a shock if you were getting something out of the shed and came across one of these fellows, but they are harmless, and good to have in the garden because they eat snails. Unfortunately I didn't find any photos I've taken capturing their bright blue tongues.

Here's our younger daughter again, circa 2001, holding a baby blue tongue that we rescued from the cat, who was the main danger to their survival, although I doubt he was a match for them when fully grown and generally they lived in harmony. Being cold-blooded like all reptiles, blue tongues like to bask in the sun to warm up. They can shed their tails if necessary and regrow them.

I'd like to think that this photo taken the following year might show that baby grown up. 

Now slither over to Sepia Saturday #368 for more encounters that may or may not involve snakes or other scaly-skinned creatures, but beware of anything lurking in the undergrowth!


Barbara Rogers said...

Look at all those brave family members, and all your photos of them with reptiles. Wow, I'm very impressed. Sorry to hear there are poisonous ones around loved ones also. We've got a couple of kinds in our woods around here too.

Jo Featherston said...

You have to put it into perspective of course. Only 35 deaths from snake bites in Australia since 2000 compared to 1000s from car accidents. Also many were caused by people, mainly males, attempting to pick them up. Still, those statistics wouldn't matter much if it was you or a family member that was affected.

Wendy said...

Nope, don't like lizards either! You have a very brave family to have been able to capture that many photos of people and snakes.

ScotSue said...

I am just glad I live in a country that rarely sees snakes. - even though I would like the warmer, sunnier weather!

Little Nell said...

We don’t have snakes here but lizards and geckos are common and often come into the house. They are more scared of us than we are of them.

Mike Brubaker said...

Compared to large dangerous mammals like lions and bears, or even horses and cattle, smaller less risky reptiles provoke an interesting overreaction in many people. Australia's unusual flora and fauna must give its human population a better appreciation of wildlife.

Jo Featherston said...

Yes, I would definitely be worried about bears if I went walking in the woods in the US. In Australia we only have dingoes and you would be very unlikely to get attacked by them.