Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Australia Day - Mountain Wildlife style

Since moving here 12 years ago, we have celebrated Australia Day every year with all the enthusiasm of new immigrants proud of their new home! Since we arrived in early January, 1998, yesterday was actually our 13th Australia Day.

We decided to stay local and have a pretty low-key day .... however, that doesn't mean quiet! We managed to see some live music, go to a lookout, drive up a mountain track, followed up with a cafe visit for scones and milkshakes all round, and finally time for a play in a park.

The Blue Mountains - with distant views of the famous 3 Sisters

And in true Mountain Wildlife style - we started and finished with some true-blue aussie wildlife.........

While we were getting into our car to start out, Miss 4 screamed out "Aarrgghhh!! Look - a big giant spider on the car!!!" And boy was she right - a huge huntsman spider had taken residence on the rim of the hatchback. (For those non-locals - a huntsman is a horrible hairy beast, complete with monster eyes and big boots. OK, maybe that last bit is my imagination) I don't normally advocate the destruction of any animals, but anything that comes into my car and threatens my family is fair game in my book. So hubby did a quick-flick-with-a-big-stick, and that was the last we saw of Hunty.

And at the other end of our day, we met another scary local (karma perhaps?) We were in a park in Medlow Bath, when Miss 4 tripped over a tree root and landed too close for comfort in front of a snake. Now apparently, these snakes are supposed to flee at noise and commotion, but this one was more than curious to see what was going on, and slithered on over. Luckily our daughter screamed "SNAKE!!" and hubby (hero again!) grabbed her up and moved away. Less than a minute later, we couldn't see the snake anywhere (not a good feeling) until hubby and Miss 4 came back to the car and snakey decided to make an appearance yet again, right in their path!

A quick detour and we were all out of harms way, but I couldn't resist getting a photo or two.... no, I'm not THAT stupid, I used the max zoom on the camera, I was actually a fair distance away!

It was obviously after some water, there was a tap and bubbler nearby and someone had left a dish of water underneath (for a dog maybe?)

Anyone wanting to ID this slithery creature for me is most welcome - I can only guess at a red-bellied black, even though it was more cream-bellied-grey! they can look like this too.

When we left it was sliding into the grass, happy with it's cool drink, and seemingly unaware of the effect it had on our heartbeats!

It was a good opportunity to have a talk with our kids again about safety and what to do when we see snakes.

Happy Australia Day everyone!


Xena said...

Could be a red belly but I thought they still had a black head. I think it's more like a Brown snake.

Lucy C said...

Brown, definitely.
A Black would have a black body even if it's belly was yellow.
Your daughter was lucky it wasn't in a bad mood!

mountainwildlife said...

OMG !!!!!!!


dixiebelle said...

OMG, scary! So lucky... and welcome to Australia, even if I am 13 years too late!

greenfumb said...

OMG indeed. Scary country this sometimes.

We arrived in 1998 too but a bit later in the year - August I think.

Toria said...

I thought brown as well initially, but went to look for pictures on google to check & now I wonder if it could be a highland copperhead - (image at top of page).

I hate huntsmen! There is one behind a picture in our loungeroom at the moment. At least it was there yesterday & I'm not going close enough to check if it's still there!

Xena said...

I have lived or spent my school holidays in the mountains totally surrounded by bush and I am yet to actually see a snake. My neighbours have warned us of snakes when they have found them in the yard.

mountainwildlife said...

Cheers for the welcome Dixiebelle- and back to you Deb! Didn't know you were from overseas too.

Thanks for that link Toria- great info. I don't know why I didn't think of the copperhead- we have seen a few up at Blackheath on our bushblock (I think they were copperheads, lots of library research a the time!) This one did have the same stripe across the side of its head -I only saw that on the photo later!
You are very brave- I couldn't sleep (or move!) if I knew a huntsman was in my lounge!!!

JJ- I can't believe you haven't seen any snakes, we have seen loads! A few in our street over the years, and always down near Lawson pool every summer (all red-bellied-blacks) and also the copperheads in Blackheath in the bushland.

Maybe the snake is my daughters totem animal LOL! She has had her fair share of encounters in a short time. As long as they stay a reasonable distance we will respect each other.... :-)

greenfumb said...

Yes 3 Poms, one Kiwi (me) in our house.

Better make sure your daughter has a good sturdy pair of wellies if snakes are drawn to her.

Toria said...

We only have occasional snake sitings down here, but I grew up in the Hunter & snakes were everywhere. Huntsmen seem to gravitate to us. I had one inside my car once, had to pull over beside the M4 & shoo it out. My husband had one crawl across the inside of his motorbike helmet visor once. He says he just calmly stopped & removed it, he doesn't have my spider freak out issues!

mountainwildlife said...

Aarrgghhh Toria -Stop it! Nightmares ahead again...LOL ! I've had so many on/in my car I lost count- horrible.

greenfumb, I'm praying for someone to start making transparent gumboots so no crawlies can hide inside - I reckon there's a market right there!

Gill - That British Woman said...

and that is why we moved to Canada rather than Australia. I have a funny story on my blog at the moment about a snake.........

Gill in Canada

Dark Morelia said...

Ahoy, the snake appears to be an Alpine Copperhead aka Highland Copperhead, Austrelaps ramsayi.
They seem to be pretty common in the mountains, though I've yet to encounter one here myself, only further west.