Sunday, November 23, 2014

Just A Quiet Night In Front Of The TV

The other night I was sitting watching TV. By myself. With no one trying to talk to me over the most crucial part of the program. And no one passing judgement on the programs that I prefer to watch. Just me and Toby snuggling on the couch - until he got too hot and also left me.

I was relaxed and all was right with the world until I heard loud shrieks. Coming from the patio. From the bird cage.

Luckily I had the presence of mind to pause my show as I went out to investigate. Little did I know that what I found was going to take a good half hour chunk of viewing time and I was sure to miss something important in thirty minutes.

Our patio light isn't working so when I went out I really couldn't see any reason that the lorikeet should be carrying on but my night vision isn't as good as my dogs'. There's a structure in the dog's eye which helps with that called the tapetum lucidum. And yes, you should be impressed that I can still remember that 34 years after graduating.

My dogs could see that there was good reason for the bird to be shrieking and it was their reaction that made me take a second look. There was something on the cage and I was pretty sure it was a snake.

So I yelled snake. As you do. A couple of times. With the right amount of panic in my voice so I'd maybe attract the attention of the two adult males in the house. And then I went to grab my phone so I'd at least be able to see what I was up against.

#2 son, Josh showed up with Serena just as I was throwing some light on this dilemma. And it really was a dilemma - the snake was half in the cage and wrapped around the bird. So the question was - how do we manage to extricate the bird from the grasp of the snake without getting bitten?

Josh's instincts kicked in. He grabbed the snake's tail - perfectly safe to do because it was just a carpet snake (non-venomous) and its head was trapped in the cage. The snake sensed the threat and dropped the bird to the base of the cage. The base of the cage is detachable so I decided that I'd detach it but it took me a couple of flustered minutes to remember how that was done.

Once I got the base off the cage I went to grab the bird but the poor thing was in such a state of panic that it saw my hand as a threat and flew up the cage back towards the snake. Luckily a few shakes and whacks of the cage got it back down so I could pick it up without having snake fangs sink into my hand.

I grabbed the poor still-screeching lorikeet and rushed it inside the house. It tried to bite me so I dropped it (instinct is a powerful thing - both his and mine) and as soon as it hit the floor it was in Toby's mouth. But luckily Toby, being a retriever, has a soft mouth and he's been trained to drop things when I tell him to so the bird survived its second near miss of the night.

Meanwhile Josh was still on the patio holding the snake's tail while trying to work out what to do with it.

In the end he decided to take it over to the school next door and let it loose there. Why the school? Because it's surrounded by a lot of bushland and I'm pretty sure that's where it came from in the first place. School kids = food scraps = rats and mice = snakes. 

The snake was pretty happy when Josh finally let go of his tail. Happy enough to slither off without his evening meal. And Josh was pretty happy to wash his hands. Because apparently snakes smell like rotting stuff. And I was happy to go back to my TV program and finish it off. And I can't remember what I was watching after all that so it obviously wasn't that important after all.

The bird comes inside to sleep every night now. But I'm not entirely sure that the snakes won't just follow him. I'm pretty sure if they are determined enough they'll find a way. Shudder!!!


  1. Oh, I HATE snakes... like I can't even look at pictures of them so you're all very brave. I'm pretty sure I'd have to move if I had one anywhere near my property (advantage of living in an apartment complex!).

    That poor bird - how traumatic for it! I wouldn't have even expected it would be fodder for carpet snakes. (Plus I think I assumed carpet snakes just ate vegetation etc...)

  2. And that is why I don't live down under...

  3. The school I teach at is in bushland and there've been a few snakes in classrooms over the years. That poor bird must have needed a valium by the end of the night. Toby is such a good boy for letting it drop. Good Toby! Hilarious story. I wish my life was as exciting :)

  4. Ugh. Ugh. I could barely read this. And the school? I'm glad it wasn't my school.

  5. Completely agree with Deborah ... I don't like snakes. I would see snakes along the running path through the forest but not in my garden (NIMBY)

    thanks for your support, Char. I don't know why I am not able to plan a race at the moment. since the beginning of this Autumn I've got weight and lost some motivation. Anyway I am still running three times a week.

  6. A lucky escape for the bird indeed! Toby is certainly a gentleman to let it go so quickly. All's well that ends well they say.

  7. Oh my gosh! See…you Aussies are so much braver than we are. Grabbing a snake by its tail, even if it's non-venomous, is crazy! And that poor bird. Thankfully alls well that ends well. Especially the TV part! ; )

  8. Um yeah I had to scroll down quickly past you know what. I'm having a panic attack just thinking about this.

  9. I'm glad your bird survived!!
    I'm one of those weird people who find snakes fascinating so I'm glad that the snake also survived!!!

  10. Oh my gosh I would have screamed so hard you could have heard it in Australia. I hate snakes even though they are not common here. And that poor bird! Good idea to let it sleep inside now.

    And as for the TV shows: I so know what you mean. I love The Walking Dead (yes call me insane, the hub does for sure) and he hates it but I watch it when he's not around. But if he comes in during the show he starts commenting what a terrible show it is and why I watch it. SHUT UP, there's a reason I watch why he's not around :) Let me enjoy what I like.

  11. I would have died. I can't even comment you have freaked me out!! God bless Josh and Toby!!
    My neighbour came knocking on my door years ago and said be careful as they had had a baby brown snake in their outside toilet. I did not go in the back yard for a week!!
    Our school is surrounded by bush and the class next to my son's had an echidna in it!!


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