Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why's the tree snake on my head?

What's the tree snake doing on my head? I don't know. All rather unusual.

Ride up to lookout knoll as usual this morning. Duck under Weeping Fig and pull up beside the roofed shelter, as usual. Stay on bike, propped on left leg and looking down over the lagoon, as usual.

Feel gentle movement on my back and shoulder. Not usual. Look at right shoulder and see sturdy dark and light blue midsection of Common Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata). Not usual.

'Hello. What are you up to?' I ask. No reply. As usual. Feel more movement across shoulder and back, and up on to wide-brimmed cloth hat. Not usual.

Movement on back stops. Tail of snake dangles before my eyes. Try to ease hat off head and get good look at my guest. More movement on to back and over left shoulder. Not usual.

Turn left and find 1.2m snake coiled about chamfered 4x4 roof post. It seems unsure whether to go on its way or return to me. Most unusual.

Settles on slight loosening of hold on post and drops coiled about 60cm to bench. Uncoils down to ground, accelerates two metres to base of fig and speeds up tree (pictured). As usual.

Didn't want to overdo this story in the telling. The brief encounter gave me a huge lift. But was no more than the most accidental of meetings. Though most unusual.

I've no way of knowing whether the snake joined me from the fig or from the rafters and beams of the shelter. And the couple of magical minutes with the drop-in could scarcely be called quality time. Unimportant. Such moments stay with you forever. Sure beats the usual!

Saw another four tree snakes through the morning. One routed by angry Willie Wagtails (assisted by Yellow Honeyeaters) as it sought to loot their nest, three others sunning. Not one showed any interest in climbing on my head! Definitely as usual.


mick said...

Wow! Enough to give the average person nightmares for a long time! And yes, I know you've said you like them!!

Mosura said...

Hmmmm.... I wonder if Medusa used to cycle around Tyto.

Nice encounter. Not sure how I would have taken it :-)

Gaye said...

hi Tony,

what a beaut story!

That encounter would have scared me into next week, but I do love most accidental meetings - just not of the Joe Blake kind. I had an encounter with a lizard that I thought was a stick yesterday, and that really put a smile on my face.

I am impressed with the number of snake sightings you have. I rarely ever see a snake when out in the bush.


Jenny said...

Amazing and wonderful encounter. I guess you really need to know your snakes not to jump a mile up in the air though! (-:

Tyto Tony said...

Thanks all!

On the question of a more dangerous snake and probable reaction. I'd be even more still - and keep hands away from the hat! But Oz deadlies don't have too many vertical ambitions.

Duncan said...

Looks as if we both had close encounters Tony. While removing a big huntsman spider last night it eluded me and scuttled up the leg of my jeans, inside!

Tyto Tony said...

Clearly, it wanted to stay an insider spider, Duncan.

Gaye: Sorry, didn't really answer your implied question. I see many snakes because by biking I cover a lot of ground and surprise them by the speed of my approach.

Tricia Ryder said...

Just discovered your blog Tyto Tony and am enjoying your posts and pictures. I don't envy you any of your snakes, at such close quarters, though?

The bark is an amazing pattern.

Gouldiae said...

Wow Tony, great story. Yes, I'm sure you'll remember that one for a while.
Like Mosura, I'm not too sure how I would have reacted.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Tricia: Perhaps if you could just hold a snake or two and see their beauty up close...?

That bark! It's driving me batty trying to find its like again. Think it needs super saturation. Coming up down here soon!

Hope you get another blue day or two before Xmas ;-)

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Gouldiae: Well, to mix a usage, and Duncan's spider, I'm sure you'd take it in your stride(s) and not get uptight.

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