Sunday, 4 November 2012

It's That Time of Year

The native sandpaper figs are fruiting.

Someone has mowed around the schoolbus stop, a facility built by local residents for their children. Mowing reduces fire hazards and accidental snake encounters.

School bus stop
Last week, in the evening of the same day as my close encounter with a huntsman spider, Jerry discovered what he thought was a small python slithering along the shelves above his computer. Both of us admire pythons though I wouldn't be comfortable with a big one on the loose in the house. When I took a torch to have a closer look at the snake, we realised it wasn't a python. It was a night tiger... and a ready biter. The night tiger didn't like the spot light and retreated behind a small box. As the evening went on, Jerry periodically located the snake which always moved away from the light of the torch, thus he slowly wrangled the snake along the open shelves around the perimeter of the room and toward the kitchen door. Finally reaching the frame of the open door, the snake hesitated. Jerry gave an encouraging vigorous shove with a soft pushbroom. The snake climbed on board the broom bristles. Luckily, it didn't race up the broom handle, but waited until offered escape into a nearby shrub.

We had another unexpected encounter as well. Having finished our shopping day in town, we headed home, then stopped along the way at a little roadside park with a stream running through it. Two ducks were swimming on the small pond. We parked under a gorgeous paperbark gumtree and unpacked a thermos of coffee to fortify us for the drive ahead. Sipping from our cups, we scanned the park and noted a number of other people had similar ideas to us. Suddenly, Jerry exclaimed, “That's an echidna!”

Can you see the claw on the back foot?
In the 25 years I've been living here, I had never encountered an echidna in the wild... or in a little roadside park with people strolling here and there. This solitary echidna busily dug in the ground, maybe 50 feet away from us, totally unconcerned about the presence of people. Jerry grabbed the camera and began taking photos. He got quite close to the echidna... who continued digging for ants, termites or something edible. Sometimes you get lucky.

Did you know that an echidna baby is called a puggle? Have a look at an echidna puggle at Taronga Zoo.

Post by M in JaM
Photos by J in JaM

1 comment:

Diana Troldahl said...

That's one of the most perfect baby names yet. They just LOOK like they are puggles :-}