Greg Bray, columnist for the Gladstone Observer. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer
Greg Bray, columnist for the Gladstone Observer. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer Brenda Strong GLA170212GREG

OPINION: Believe me mate, I'm on 'hiss' side

HE WAS trying to reason with me. "Look Greg, the snake is actually more frightened than you are," said the bloke running the snake catching course. I stared at the hissing serpent in front of me and thought, "No, it isn't!"

Apparently one of the tasks in my day job is to catch and relocate any snakes that appear in the grounds of my workplace. When I was told this I wished, once again, that I'd made some better career choices.

Up 'til now I've happily relocated any snakes I've met to Snake Heaven, a grassy, warm place with plenty of lazy mice to eat and not a shovel in sight.

Nowadays it's illegal to kill snakes, which is why I've had to learn how to catch them (humanely) and relocate them. To where I haven't worked out yet, but Snake Heaven is no longer an option. But during the course I became uncomfortably aware that many of the snakes I'd relocated were actually harmless. So I did what Mr Snake Catcher asked and tried to see things from the snakes' low point of view.

Basically, snakes have only one expression and one very pointed way of communicating, eg: The "Don't get up, I'm just passing through" bite. The "Hey, that's a shiny spade you're holding" bite. "Do you have any more delicious rats hanging around your shed mate?" bite. And finally, the "I'm sick of getting stepped on, so cop this young Harry!" bite. Bite. Bite!

I eventually calmed down enough to grab the snake with my tongs, then slipped it into a special bag.

Everyone was quite relieved, especially the snake.

Folks, we naturally assume that every snake is a death-dealing, anger-filled psychopath, but they aren't.

I've certainly changed my tune after spending some time in the snakes' shoes ... well, you know what I mean.

Greg Bray blogs at www.gregbraywriter.wordpress.com.



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