Close encounters with snakes of the Western Deserts -If it wriggles, it isn't a stick!(fotos & Vid)

Saturday, Aug 01, 2009 at 19:17


Well the desert trip this year produced the usual range of fauna including the ubiquitous camel, dingoes, emu, roos wallabies and more than a few bustards. One of the things that surprised me were the number of snakes that were out and about, particularly in the early stages of the trip through the eastern stretches of the Gibson Desert. We saw four snakes in the one day including several large Woma and a Very angry King Brown. Now he was a very different kettle of fish to the Woma and deserving of respect and a VERY wide berth!

One of the funniest episodes in snake whispering involved an Exploroz member taking care of his early morning ablutions. I’ve clipped the story from my travel journal and printed here for your amusement together with some photos of the reptiles we encountered this year (Sorry Michael).

7th June, 2009

There was great excitement about the camp this morning as just before departure, Michael J went for a stroll into a small gully running south from our plateau campsite for a last minute leak. While standing quietly relieving himself he glanced to his right and realised he was urinating on a 7 foot snake that was not exactly happy about the warm bath.Well Michael reckoned it stopped him in mid stream and all appendages automatically retracted into his body as he leapt backwards and headed the short few metres back to the campsite hollering and shouting. The culprit turned out to be a fine specimen of a black headed python. They are very similar in colour and shape to the Woma, in fact close relations but for the black head. This particular fellow was in prime condition at more than 2 metres long and as thick as a coke can in the middle. He was fairly non-plussed about the early morning sprinkle and provided some great photo and video opportunities. Still being cold he was a bit sluggish but could move well enough when he wanted to. That was the fourth snake in two days. More than I’ve seen in the past 4 years of outback travel. Michael’s rude shock certainly adds new meaning to the old Australian euphemism of “Syphoning the python”!

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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