Tuesday, 4 September 2012

On my decision matrix for dealing with Australian snakes

Somehow this doesn't seem to have made it into my blog prior to now, but as it is such a good story, I think it is better late than never.

Prior to, during and after my trip to Australia, people asked me what my plan for dealing with Australia's snakes (known for sometimes being very venomous) was. My answer was the following:

If the snake is one that I know is poisonous, I will leave it the hell alone (for obvious reasons).

If the snake is one that I don't know if it is poisonous or not, I will leave it the hell alone as it might be poisonous.

If the snake is one that I know isn't poisonous, I will leave it the hell alone as I don't want to bother the wildlife.

When I described this decision matrix to Rob in Adelaide, his laconic, Aussie reaction was "Spoken like a man who isn't going to be bitten by a snake."

In truth, even after visiting the Adelaide Zoo, all Australian snakes fall into category two for me. Given how venomous some Australia snakes are, my "prejudice" is well-founded.

Nonetheless, it is conceivable that in particular circumstances, one might need to alter it. One example of such a circumstance was told to me in Seattle by Jeannie (mother-in-law of Margo's John). A friend or sister of hers near Brisbane was horrified to realize that her three-year old daughter was dragging a live, four-foot snake (toxicity undetermined) through the house by its tail. In short order, said snake was outside the house, beaten to death.

However, barring such circumstances, this decision matrix also works for the snakes in other countries, except for Ireland and Iceland.


Margo and Chris said...

Did you ever see one when you were there?

Margo and Chris said...

Besides in the zoo, I meant.

Bikemoose said...

I saw no wild snakes, aside from a few dead ones on the road.