Garden invader

fence-1My vegie garden has been so variously girded and further girded that I felt it was a fortress.

It has fine aviary wire netting dug in at the base – against small mammals like bush rats; a moat of gravel against the kikuyu; is swathed to head height in floppy chicken wire for horses (originally) and for possums; and has an added aviary wire overlay to varying heights from about 700mm to 1metre – for the snakes.

I had been at ease in there for weeks as I weeded and planted for Spring, as I could see that no critters were lurking in there. After having been away during the wild dust storms lately, the spring growth in there was looking sad and dirty. I went to hose it.

As I touched the garden gate I saw my red-bellied black snake stretched out comfortably on the earth of my vegie garden, threaded amongst the self-sown rocket seedlings in front of my garlic.

How had it got in — and could it get out? It surely could not have got through the aviary wire??!! (which you can’t see here but is on the outside of these layers of netting.)
blacksnake-1As I watched it slither in and out of my once harmless young vegie rows, erratically rearing up to poke at the netting, I indulged in a longish bout of teary despair. Fearing it was trapped, I phoned a snake-wise friend who said my aviary wire was nowhere near high enough and yes, the snake could have climbed up the netting until it reached the larger holes. I hadn’t imagined it would make such an effort — why would it bother??

I was advised to open the gate and watch until it went out. But when I returned I couldn’t see it; nor could I on each half-hourly check that afternoon. It must have got out.

Next day I saw it on the grass elsewhere in the yard — but I am still unable to go into the garden until I can afford to add a new higher layer of fine netting.

But how to be sure the invader is outside the fortress when I do?

11 thoughts on “Garden invader”

  1. Hi Jennie, thanks for the mental image of the accommodating blue-bellied snake in the aviary, and for the correction from your husband. Mind you, I do enough blinking of us both in such circumstances!
    And I keep my gumboots up on the table on the verandah – just in case. Hope to see you Tuesday.

    And Sandi – a brown is another matter altogether! I think I’d have to raise a loan and buy a snake trap if I had a resident brown snake. One skedaddled across the lawn last week but didn’t stop. Take care!

  2. Eewwww! That’s a bit close for comfort Sharyn! There’s just so many places to hide in a vege patch!

    Love seeing more photos of your place on the mountain! I laughed at your grape and wisteria triffids!

    My eyes are are muscled up as well; spotted a brown (probably the same one the neighbour had seen recently) on our front verandah and then it got into my enclosed studio verandah! There are some holes in the fly screen (due to altercations between the outside dog and the inside cats!) It got out again…thankfully. I’ve made sure the kids are aware and always put their boots on when going outside. Rosie (12yo) had been out there shortly beforehand talking to the chooks!

    They’re certainly not my favourite animal but at least I don’t turn to jelly anymore!

    Good Luck with keeping it and them out of the vege patch!

  3. Sharyn…. since my last comment regarding your Red-bellied Black Snake, my husband (who is a vet) has corrected me stating that the snake would not blink at you from under a lettuce leaf (he may wag his tail!!) as snakes do not have eyelids. They sleep with their eyes open!
    Jenny Finnie

  4. Dear Sharyn,
    I like the photo of your red-bellied friend, but sharing your vegie patch with him could be a bit daunting when he blinks at you from under a lettuce leaf.
    Of course, as we know, snakes have a vital role to play in the wellbeing of our eco-system and it seems that your vegie patch is just the best place for his favourite food source of lizards and frogs.
    We have a blue-bellied black snake that spends quite a bit of time in our aviary (not harming the birds) devouring mice that live on the fallen bird seed. We have a mutual agreement – he slithers under the leaf litter while I attend to the birds. I check my wellies carefully before putting them on in case he has beaten me to them.
    We hope to meet you at Scone Library on Tuesday next, together with a group of friends from Merriwa.
    Regards – Jenny Finnie

  5. Thanks Trevor! Not sure if you’re joking again, but I am trying to share with the wildlife here, even venomous ones, and not react as I did when still in the farmer’s mode in which I grew up. Long ago sold the gun.
    The more I see this snake the more I am actually learning not to panic; I now know it has no interest in attacking me. And my eye muscles are getting a lot of exercise!

  6. Never fear, Denis, I don’t leave the verandah without stepping into my gum boots! Summer or winter.
    I find them very comfortable and easy to slip on and off and I can walk for a long period in them. They are as natural for me to don as my hat!

  7. Hi Sharyn
    Could you invest in a pair of “Wellies”?
    Not very comfortable, but pretty good protection against a Black Snake.
    Something to think about, anyway.

  8. I’d say it was hunting for food DWG, as it pokes about everywhere else for the same reason, but it does seem an unwarranted lot of trouble in this case. I have now bought the extra aviary wire and am attaching it very closely to the existing layers. The gate might be harder to snakeproof.

  9. Pray tell!!!! Why in the world would a snake go into a vegetable garden? That snake would have to go if I lived on that mountain!!!!
    I am truly sorry that you are being burdened with such a thing!!
    Can’t let down a minute in this world…always something!!
    Do take care!

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