Green tree snakes are the most dangerous … here’s why!
IN RECENT WEEKS while in the garden setting out the sprinkler I noticed a bright yellow stick obscurely standing upright — it was about two foot high and six feet in front of me. That’s a bit odd I thought to myself. Then it started swaying from side-to-side … that’s when I realised it was a snake.
Searching images on the computer identified it as the green tree snake, with the vibrant yellow-belly as photographed above by David Clode at the Cairns Aquarium, North Queensland.
The accompanying blurb stated that this particular snake is …
usually green but may also be black, blue or yellow. Pale blue flecks can often be seen between the body scales. SOURCE
To be honest I didn’t look that closely for the blue flecks when I saw it again last week. So it seems to have taken up residence in our tropical garden.
If you have some ‘good news’ personal stories to tell, and ways of helping wildlife (that does not involve large gatherings of people!) — we would love to hear from you and publish your anecdotal reports and observations.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: While I was at the computer identifying our ‘guest’ I came across the yarn below … hope our story ends differently!
— Sue Van Homrigh
GREEN TREE SNAKES (Dendrolaphis punctulata) can be dangerous. Yes, tree snakes or grass snakes, not brown snakes or taipans. Here’s why: A couple in Townsville had a lot of potted plants.
During a recent cold winter (for Townsville that is!), a wife was bringing some of the valued tender ones indoors to protect them from the cold night. It turned out that a little green tree snake was hidden in one of the plants. When it had warmed up, it slithered out and the wife saw it go under the lounge — she let out a very loud scream.
The husband (who was taking a shower) ran out into the living room naked to see what the problem was and she told him there was a snake under the lounge.
He got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for it. About that time the family dog came and cold-nosed him on the behind. He thought the snake had bitten him, so he screamed and fell over on the floor.
His wife thought he had had a heart attack, so she covered him up, told him to lie still and called an ambulance. The paramedics rushed in, would not listen to his protests, loaded him on their stretcher, and started carrying him out.
About that time, the snake came out from under the lounge and the paramedic saw it and dropped his end of the stretcher. That’s when the man broke his leg and why he is still in hospital.
The wife still had the problem of the snake in the house, so she called on a neighbour who volunteered to capture the snake. He armed himself with a rolled-up newspaper and began poking under the lounge. Soon he decided it was gone and told the woman, who sat down on the lounge in relief. But while relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions, where she felt the snake wriggling around.
She screamed and fainted, the snake rushed back under the lounge. The neighbour, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to use CPR to revive her.
The neighbour’s wife, who had just returned from shopping at Woolies, saw her husband’s mouth on the woman’s mouth and slammed her husband on the back of the head with a bag of canned goods, knocking him out and cutting his scalp to a point where it needed stitches.
The noise woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her neighbour lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so she assumed that the snake had bitten him. She went to the kitchen and got a small bottle of whiskey and began pouring it down the man’s throat.
By now, the police had arrived.
They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest them all, when the women tried to explain how it all happened over a little garden snake!
The police called an ambulance, which took away the neighbour and his sobbing wife.
Now, the little snake again crawled out from under the lounge and one of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it. He missed the snake and hit the leg of the end table. The table fell over, the lamp on it shattered and, as the bulb broke, it started a fire in the curtains.
The other policeman tried to beat out the flames, and fell through the window into the yard on top of the family dog who, startled, jumped out and raced into the street, where an oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smashed into the parked police car.
Meanwhile, neighbours saw the burning curtains and called in the fire brigade. The firemen had started raising the fire ladder when they were halfway down the street. The rising ladder tore out the overhead wires, put out the power, and disconnected the power in a ten-square city block area (but they did get the house fire out).
Time passed! The snake was caught and both men were discharged from the hospital; the house was repaired; the dog came home; the police acquired a new car and all was right with their world.
A while later they were watching TV and the weatherman announced a cold snap for that night. The wife asked her husband if he thought they should bring in their plants for the night.
And that’s when he shot her.