Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Brown Snakes and Children!

On the weekend I began digging post holes to fence off a new paddock for better management.  We have improved one paddock beyond my highest expectations by setting the chooks on it, then resting it.  We have two goats that I hope to milk next year but unfortunately weren't organised before I acquired them.  Now we are madly fencing so that we can have enough paddocks for regular rotation.
Our aim is to have a minimum of six small paddocks so that we can rotate the animals every two weeks.  This would make it a ten week rest for each paddock.

We will divide this paddock into two small paddocks

I took a couple of photos of my post holes as I went.  Little did I know that we were going to find baby brown snakes in this hole.  We did see a brown snake in this paddock last summer but we hoped it was just moving through.


One of my post holes
                                                        I never dreamt what was under this dirt!

Hubby was with me and knew what they were.  It confirmed my worst fears...................   The very fast snake-looking worm that I found last Autumn was also a brown snake!   Now I am petrified!  That one was at the edge of the grassed area in the YARD where the children play daily.  I have googled and apparently they lay 10 to 30 eggs!  And where is Mum??!!!  As a busy family and organic gardeners, our place is often overgrown with many hidey holes in our yard.

I have no photos of the baby snakes because we couldn't get the children out of the paddock fast enough when we found them.  Snakes have just as much right to exist as we do, and our bush block is perfect for them, but how do I keep my children safe?  We lost our little dog in March because she came across a brown snake.  She died a terrible death on the way to the vets.


Here lies Molly.  We had many tears on this day!

Any advice gratefully received! 

14 comments:

Tania @ Out Back said...

Hmmm snakes can be a problem with small children around. I guess you will have to watch them carefully, and teach them the dangers...Long trousers and boots at all times when out in long grass etc.

We have had quite a few snakes here, including a couple of baby ones. We just ignore them as we presume they are probably just passing through, but yours seem to have set up house...

I think you will need to keep the grass down, and have things as clear as possible because snakes dont like to be exposed. We have a large woodpile and suspect there would be snakes in there.

I really dont know the best advice for your problem, but please be careful...

Busy mum of 3 said...

We have lots of brown snakes in and around our house, (and once a red belly black) and I hate it! I have 3 children who are drilled in what to do if they see a snake, so much so that when my daughter was about 3 years old she came across a brown snake curled up asleep on the back step (on the 12th step I might add, I didn't know snakes could climb stairs until then) she reacted exactly how we had told her to. STOP. STEP AWAY WALKING BACKWARDS (So you can always see the snake) AND CALL OUT SNAKE TO MUM AND DAD. The kids are also drilled never to cry wolf about this, and too their credit they never have. Unfortunately it's an Aussie fact of life! But I think I prefer it to bears and lions and tigers!

purplepear said...

We also have snakes here but mainly red belly blacks, but the ocassional brown. We had one in the house yard last year, caught it but it got away. I don't know what advice to give I'm sure you do all the right things like keeping the grass short around the house, keeping boots on but I've had them in the garden and nearly put my hand on one.I have a friend whose 4yr old stopped his mum from walking on one so as 'busy mum' says you need to train the children. Good luck

Linda said...

Thanks Tania, you're right - we do need to keep the grass down, but no Kate, we don't do all the right things! We have a very wild, 'permie' type garden. Because we don't have a lot of gardening time, I put it into planting rather than tidying up. Looks like we have a heap of work ahead of us now! It's time to get organised for the fire season anyway so a tidy will kill two birds with one stone!

Busy Mum, I had no idea about snakes climbing either. That is SCARY! You have done a great job with teaching your children. Fancy a three year old reacting calmly! Well done!

bushturkeyman said...

Hi, I have an idea that might be of help, in India people keep Peacocks around the house to keep Cobra's under control. We have a wild life reserve in the middle of our city, that also uses Peacocks (quiet a number of them) wandering around the park. I asked one of the attendants if it was for the same reason as the Indian's, as they are not native here, and was told it was as they had a problem with blacks and Brown snakes basking in the picnic areas, since acquiring the peacocks they rarely see any snakes in the open areas.

Linda said...

Hi Bushturkeyman, Nice to hear from you! Do you know, I haven't heard that one before but I'm more than willing to try it out. I have a bit of a thing for poultry. I have been known to go to poultry auctions for chooks, and come home with ducks, chooks, roosters and more. I will have to start looking around for a peacock or two! Is the city you mentioned in Australia or elsewhere?

bushturkeyman said...

Hi Linda, Yes Its Newcastle, and the reserve is Blackbutt reserve in the center of the city. Its in a residential area so no where else really for the wildlife to find a place. The first I heard of the peacocks was on an ABC documentary or maybe it was SBS, anyway it was a doco on the peacocks and their value in India, since then I have mentioned this to a few Indian friends that have also confirmed their use for snakes along with the worker at the reserve. My in laws own a property in Gloucester NSW and have had some of the same issues with snakes, I have tried to convince them to take up the Peacock option but unfortunately they are not as keen on the idea of Peacocks as I am. Hope it works out for you, be very interested if you share the same results.

bushturkeyman said...

Hi Linda I just came across a few articles in regards to Peacocks and snakes. If you search for Peacocks and snake control there is a load of articles on it. Below is two links to some info including one that mentions Guinea Foul as a controller of snakes. Hope this helps.

http://www.essortment.com/information-peacocks-22062.html

http://www.peacocksaustralia.com/guineafowl.html

Linda said...

Hi again Bushturkeyman, thank you so much for this information. I had a look at both these sites and was delighted. We already own guinea fowl! We got them last year, so I won't know for a couple of years if the numbers of snakes are reduced. They stay very close to the house so may be the perfect protection for young children. We are in discussion about the peacocks because they fly up to the roof and we need an unsoiled roof because it supplies our drinking water.

Linda said...

Just an update for anyone that is interested but we had a redbelly black snake 30 metres from our house yesterday. It was a baby about 30 centimetres long and was about 3 metres from the guinea fowl! It's not looking like the guinea fowl are likely to protect us!!!

Stitchin' time said...

Linda, in my experience, on our 200 acres, redbelly blacks and blacks are very territorial. They will co exist together but will chase browns and tigers (which are more deadly and easier angered) out of their territory, if they don't kill them. Redbellies seem to avoid human company whenever possible so the slow walking backwards works well with them as they are more likely to want to avoid you than you want to avoid them. If your fowls are housed correctly you shouldn't lose any of them, or the eggs, to your scaley neighbour. Redbellies don't like sharp noises either so a couple of loud handclaps or cracking a whip once will make them disappear but only do this if you are in danger. Shouting confuses them and that's when you get bitten.
Hope some of this helps.
Cheers,
Robyn

farmer_liz said...

We have seen a few snakes around our place too and our policy in summer is short grass and nothing lying on the ground for snakes to hide under. We don't have any gardens around the house yard - no mulch or low bushes. It would be nice to have one of those big busy gardens, but its just not safe for create all those snake hiding places (not to mention the fire risk). We also wear long trousers, boots and gloves when doing anything outside the house yard, just in case. We had several feral peacocks hanging around our place when we first moved in. They are beautiful, but we soon got sick of the early morning screeching/squaaking wake-up calls! They also fly on the roof and poo everywhere. I was very pleased when a neighbour "relocated" them. Its a shame your guineafowl aren't more helpful, they're so cute! Anyway, my main advice is to sort out your house yard so you can keep the grass down at least around the house, then the snakes have nowhere to hide. Unfortunately this means weekly whipper snipping and mowing at our house all through summer. Glad I found your blog, should be interesting to see what else you get up to!

Anonymous said...

I was bitten today by one of those small brown snakes while i was pulling out the grass. Looks like a small worm/geko. Im not dead yet. So its not deadly. Just googeling what snake it could be when i found this page

Linda said...

Gee that's scary though! I'm glad you're feeling okay. Be aware there are probably more there because the snake would have laid several in the one spot. Are you in Victoria?