The chook pen seems to be a favourite spot for diamond pythons. We’ve had a second visitor; a two metre snake which took up residence in the chickens’ nesting box. Must say it does look very comfortable in there, that’s probably why the hens go broody so often.
Our local snake catcher, Tristan, who volunteers with Ark Wildlife, suggested that the snake probably wasn’t after eggs or even one of the tasty hens, merely seeking somewhere safe and comfortable. We have 6 contented chooks now; at the beginning of the year there were 10 but foxes snatched four and they vanished with hardly a feather to show that there had been a struggle. Poor cockerels, first Charlie and recently Leggy and the other two hens. Now we are more vigilant about keeping them in the confines of the garden for their afternoon stroll and peck.
This snake was rather elusive the first time I rang for help. When Tristan called back an hour later, I checked the henhouse and the snake had gone. It made several appearances but only for short periods over the next week. Then today, with a nesting box looking like it would become a permanent home for the reptile, Tristan arrived at dusk with assistant Skye and after some initial resistance, the snake was popped into a travelling box to find another home on our 63 hectares.
Tristan remarked how healthy the python was, with his/her glistening diamond marked skin. “He’s probably been busy catching rats for you.” Hopefully he has though I notice some of my green tomatoes are half eaten and I’m sure I can see tiny teethmarks.
The previous diamond python visitor to the chook house bit Kate, who also lives in the Heritage House. I would have jumped out of my skin (good job I’m not a snake then) but she took it in her stride. Kate was just putting in her hand to open the outer door and the snake must have felt compromised as he was hanging about in close proximity. No harm done, just a few puncture marks. It’s been said that the meaning of the name Narara is uncertain but is believed to be an aboriginal word for “black snake”.
Life has now returned to normal in the chook house, though we miss Leggy waking us up every morning and his antics as he bossed his hens around all day. The hens are sorting out their pecking order. I think they are taking it in turns being assertive.