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That time I went all Steve Irwin and wrangled a snake!

This blog comes with a very important caveat – don’t try this one at home kids!

And on reflection, the title should probably be ‘those times we…’ as snake wrangling has been attempted here on more than one occasion.

But anyway…

One of the trickier aspects of living literally in the Australian bush is that you need to share the space with a bunch of Australian native animals.

Including snakes.

Fortunately, the snakes around here seem to be more scared of us, and generally steer well clear of any interaction – especially the red belly black snakes.

However, we’ve unfortunately found this is not the case when we hit the hot and dry peak of Summer, and the teenage brown snakes decide to play up.

Like most teenagers, they get a bit lazy, and decide it’s much easier to visit our shouse (shed house) for a drink of water and a quick feed of Brown Antechinus (our resident mice).

And unfortunately, this also seems to happen at the most inconvenient times.

Like when you’re trying to leave the house for Christmas Day lunch with the family in Sydney and find a brown snake in front of the kitchen’s fireplace (hence that snake earning the name Santa).

Or as you’re being told to evacuate because there’s a bushfire nearby but a cheeky brown snake has decided your bedroom is the perfect place to escape the surrounding chaos.

The later event meant the local snake removalist was not able to get to our place to undertake Operation Brown Snake extraction. While we were eventually allowed to return to our home – and the snake – they couldn’t get through to us because of the surrounding bushfires.

Now I know some people at this point would be suggesting we try some more (ahem) permanent snake removal techniques. However:

  1. Snakes are protected species in NSW and it’s illegal to kill them.
  2. We don’t kill stuff (not to mention most people who get bitten by snakes are usually trying to kill the snake!).   

Which is how we found ourselves dressed head to toe in thick fabrics, wearing gumboots and welding gloves in 42-degree heat, ready to carefully remove the snake using over the phone instructions from the snake wrangler!

I could make up some exciting, Indian Jones-esque story of our wrangling adventures (side note: Mr Tree Changer did not appreciate me trying to lighten the mood by playing the Temple of Doom soundtrack as our adventure got underway).

The reality is our wrangling involved:

  • Using long handled brooms to slowly and carefully move objects around and out of the bedroom to locate our now shy snake.
  • Precision placing our open, heavy duty plastic collection box & lid in front of the finally located snake.    
  • Waiting patiently for what seemed like an eternity for the snake to decide to enter the box.
  • Flipping the box up and snapping on the lid quickly (while trying not to scream!).

Two tense hours and a back of the ute ride later, the brown had a new home 3kms away at the very far end of our place, and we’d each lost five kilos thanks to our clothes sauna.

Tree changer lessons learned?   

  • I am really not cut out to be the next Steve Irwin.
  • Always call in the expert when you can.
  • Seriously, don’t try this one at home kids!



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