Our first encounterd our first snake when Mickey, our Giant Schnauzer, started to give out a very unusual bark from a wooded area of the house garden. I was around the other side of the house at the time and thought nothing of it for a short while then realised it was a VERY different bark and ran quickly to see what was wrong.
I found him about 2 metres (6 feet) away from a solid metal fence
staring intently at the dead leaves on the ground. A couple of times he
gave a quick jerk as if something had happened but I could see nothing
at all. I only heard a slight rustle in the leaves and thought it might
be a small bird. Then I saw it, a large Tiger Snake was hugging
the fence line, travelling relatively fast towards the end of the fence
which lead into the paddock. I swear to you that at one point the snake
stopped moving, looked straight at me, opened its mouth really wide, so
wide that I could see every small detail easily – still can today when I
think about it, then kept on moving. I didn’t know anything at all
about snakes but it looked really angry I thought.
I started to scream out for family members as I had no idea if Mickey had been bitten at that stage. The first to hear me was our darling old Boxer Sally, she came bounding and bouncing around the corner, stuffed toy in her mouth all ready to play. I yelled at her to ‘get back’, she promptly dropped the toy and then ran straight over to where Mickey and I were staring and to this day I do think she actually ran straight over the top of the unsuspecting snake. This meant that I wasn’t sure if both had been bitten - our first snake was turning into one major drama at this stage.
The family arrived and we took the dogs inside, they were showing signs of slight stress but that was just as much me screaming at them as anything else. We phoned the Vet and were told to take them straight in, that was a 20 minute drive. When we arrived at the Vet’s they listened to our story, gave the dogs a very brief check and as they were still alert standing erect etc they told us to sit with the dogs under a tree outside, keep them quiet and every 30 minutes get them up for a short walk (approx 5 metres - 20 feet). The idea was to see if they were starting to wobble or stagger which would have been a sign the venom was starting to work.
We did that for 2 hours, sitting under the tree imagining the worst, just keeping them quiet and celebrating every short walk they took. After the 2 hours the Vet told us to go home and keep up the same procedure for the next 6 hours, apparently the venom can start to work some hours after the initial bite. We had no idea our first snake encounter would take about 10 hours to concude.
they made it, no bites, no injury just a very stressful day and night
for us. We learned that Mickey knew instinctively they were dangerous,
knew to keep well away and also knew to let out that unusual warning
bark that we now take a LOT of notice of. We also learned that Sally was
blissfully unaware of anything being out of the usual, just got a bit
‘put out’ at me not wanting to play with her.
We then started to mention the experience to local people and found out the area is well known for Tiger Snakes, Copperhead Snakes and Brown Snakes. All of these are in the worlds top 10 most venemous, they are real killers. We had to learn ways to deal with this most unexpected and unwelcome problem, we hope the information we provide about our first snake is of use for you if you encounter the same problems.