Our neighbour alerted us this morning to a snake in the hedge between our properties so we went out for a look. It turned out to be a Carpet Python (Morelia spilota, also known as the Diamond Python), resting comfortably about shoulder height in the tangle of Brazilian Cherry and Mock Orange.
We have been moving lots of pot-plants recently, planting out many of them and re-potting others, and in the process disturbing a few strange worms … or so I thought.
All of them were typical worm size, perhaps 8 – 12 cm long and shoelace-thick; most were black, but one was a delicate lilac colour; and they were all very active, wriggling for their lives until they could vanish into any tiny crack in the soil. When I handled them, I found them very dry and slippery, which puzzled me. It didn’t intrigue me enough to stop work, however, or I might have trapped them for closer observation and discovered that they weren’t worms at all but snakes.
Four years ago I walked the inland end of the Dalrymple Track (see Wikipedia for its history) with Wildlife Queensland folk, then took a quick look at the coastal end by myself. As I said in a blog post at the time, I always hoped to complete the rest of the walk eventually, and last week I almost made good on that plan, walking from the coastal end to its highest point a couple of hundred metres past the old Stone Bridge.
We know they are there, but we don’t often see them – freshwater crocodiles in Ross River, that is.
Freshies, as many locals call them, are smaller than salties. They are generally shy, attacking only when startled into defending themselves; and when they do, their narrow jaws and relatively small teeth can’t do as much damage as a saltie’s heavy head, although the Australian Museum warns us that they can still cause serious injuries.
They can also be hard to spot, even in plain view.
Environment Centre NT, 2017
This handsomely produced book is the result of an ambitious project undertaken by the Environment Centre of the Northern Territory. It will be a valuable resource for years to come, not only for Territorians but for anyone living in, or visiting, North Queensland and Northern WA.