Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Terra, Aug 23, 2012.
by horrers do you mean borrers or horrors?
Lots Of Horrors , slugs snails earwigs millipedes , raised beds and Aqua beds stop the blue tongue lizards , also large dense strawberry patches at ground level would be great places for snakes to hang out .
that is the sad thing about Aussieland is the poisonous snake problem. we only have one poisonous snake around here and it isn't common (i've never seen one). we do have a very nice fiesty snake that will go after worms and slugs and i'm always happy to see them.
however, if your area is not a problem snake area i would encourage the snake population as much as possible as they help around here with the slugs and bugs in the strawberry patches. we pile rocks and put some flat ones so they have perching/sunning spots. i'm hoping they'll develop a taste for raccoon/chipmunk/etc. they don't get that big, so it's a bit of a joke on that angle.
also, birdbaths (no bird food, just the birdbaths themselves) help a lot in encouraging the birds to be around and to forage as long as they don't get a taste for the berries i don't mind them. even if they do, i still don't begrudge them some berries for what they do with the rest of the bugs in the gardens.
we lose 5-10% of the crop here to birds, chipmunks/ground squirrels, raccoons and various other creatures and only a very little from bugs, but the most damage from bugs comes from the berries that are left too long or those that rest on the ground. with a good layer of mulch down i don't have much in the way of slug problems.
to keep the black beetles down i make sure to harvest regularly including picking up all fruits that have dropped to make sure they get composted (the wormies love 'em) in the worm farm.
years ago when Ma grew strawberries here she complained about how bad the black bugs would get, but since i've been doing it there hasn't been very many at all (i think i've seen about a half dozen in the four years i've been growing them here). as before she wasn't getting any help at all growing/weeding/picking/cleaning and was doing all that work she got fed up with them and dug them all out. once i moved in with her then after a few years i wanted some strawberries. eventually (she must really love me ) she said i could have some. now i'm up to quite a pile of plants (using some as ground cover in the more wild spots in the back) and expanding the number of varieties as it is really nice to have ever bearing plants (three to four crops a season) and to try new types and see how they do in our soil/conditions.
oops, sorry to go on so long there, but i'm quite happy to talk about strawberries as i've been able to grow them here at length to the dentriment and eyes-glazed-over-state of the listener...
Yes I know the feeling strawberries seem to be a easy crop for me , I think sometimes these results come from small micro climates even my sister battles to grow good crops of strawberries and shes a better gardener than I am .
Our common snakes are the most deadly there are so not keen on encouraging them having said that I do have 2 frog habitat areas , we have lost 3 dogs to snakes in the last 5 yrs .
Ive just about given up on the damn dogs and poultry I have been trying to get guinea fowl working for me but the dogs insist on killing them , don't know how two fat lazy mutts can catch them they show no interest in chooks but the guineas cop it . In the past ive had them for years without incident I had sheep dogs then , ive got jack russel x and a Lab now and of course they are bred to be killers .
Terra, that's terrible luck about the dogs. We are in prime brown snake country here and have them on our property. Saw the first one about 10 days ago. However in 10 years have only ever had one snake anywhere near the house and garden that we were aware of despite the fact that we have three ponds around the house with frogs in them. I think what works in our favour is that there is plenty of good habitat and food sources on the rest of the property. We also have very little cover for snakes to move about or hide in around the house vicinity. We have virtually no mice on the place (thanks to the cats and lack of grain stores). Also with 6 cats and 4 dogs and several chooks I think most brown snakes would try to give us a wide berth. I do however take other precautions. With four unruly disobedient fox terrier crosses we keep the dogs confined to the fenced back yard at all times. We take them out for walks but in Spring and Summer strictly on a lead.
We are also picking strawberries every second day now from a three year old patch in a raised bed. Millipedes have been a bit of a problem for the first time ever (they migrated onto our property this year, previously never saw one).
We had a bushfire in 2005 and I fenced most of my remnant scrub patches incredible regeneration , I have two patches of over a Ha less that 200m from the house , the western patch is almost impossible to walk through , so ideal for snakes .
I pushed out a pond in the goat paddock to catch water and also soak feed a patch of phalaris this will hopefully keep the snakes from the eastern scrub patch happy , I should provide a water point in the other patch im sure this would help , they don't like activity and if they don't need water they might stay away .
I think that would be a good idea. We have a 'dam' close to our front patch of scrub about 100m from the house. Snakes can access that without coming out of cover and it is not close to any other activity. Down the back of our place in our other conservation area the neighbours have a yabby dam within 100m so that is a constant source of water in that area. Our three garden ponds are very close to our house and as well as lots of activity the only way to get to them is over exposed ground. We spend a lot of time on the mower and slasher
Here is an interesting efficient scary mode of transport , how about it Ladies , sure beats an electric car doubt you can put a sidecar on it though .
View attachment 2285
i'd need trainging wheels, my last motorcycle trip did me in on alternative transport with wheel numbers less than four. though a wide tracked vehicle would be fine as that does spread the weight out and not compact the soil.
Sorry to read about your dogs Terra. That's heartbreak stuff. Were they all foxies that you lost? I've lived in the bush with my kelpies half my life & never lost one - in spite of the fact there are plenty around everywhere we've lived. However our neighbours here have lost 3 foxies in the past few years to snakes. I think it's a foxie thing (& their foxies are unsupervised.) I have one mini foxie - & only one thank god because she's a full time job. Like mouses' dogs she is confined to the house yard, & even then I keep a sharp eye & ear on her. It's a nightmare - worse than having a toddler around! When she leaves the house yard I carry her pretty much everywhere.
How much do snakes drink? I worry about them here when the creek dries up. Other people have told me they don't drink at all - they get their fluids from prey. Is that correct?
3 of my kelpies have no interest in snakes at all & completely ignore them. One - the one who lives in the house with me - is very interested in everything, including snakes. Funnily enough she knows the difference between venomous & non-venemous snakes. I have no idea how. When there are pythons & tree snakes around, she just watches them. If a venomous snake comes in the yard she barks & growls like she would if a strange person was outside. It's pretty handy for me because if I know there's one hanging around I can keep Tuppence shut inside. I don't worry about them for me - only Tuppence. After many years in the bush I have only ever almost put my hand or foot on a snake a couple of times & I've never been bitten. I reckon if you don't give them a second thought they won't give you one either It seems to be people who freak out about them that see them all the time I do worry about them for Tuppence though - she's so tiny she wouldn't survive long enough to even get to the vet from here. And being a foxie, she'd go looking for them if she got the chance
Speaking of snakes & dogs ... I have a little story ... I'll write it on my Girralong page
I had a brown with his head in the sewer cover during a very dry period a few years back.
Probably trying to get a drink???
When I lived at SpringGrove (half way between Lismore & Casino) we had a pool. An inground pool (don't look at me like that - we were renting - the kids saw the joint & insisted we rent it & I wasn't objecting because there are not many rural properties that let you have 3 feral kids & a pack of dogs so the pool was a small price to pay ... actually that's not true - it almost drove me freaking mad - but it was what it was & I sucked it up.) Anyway in summer during a terrible drought & heatwave the pool would be full of snakes every morning ... my job first thing was to grab the scooper thingy & get them out & plop them over the fence into the paddock. I also learnt by experience not to shove my hand in the skimmer box without having a damn good look first! Anyway I was talking to a snake bloke & saying how badly done by I thought I was to have all these snakes in the pool & he pointed out that the only ones left in the pool in the morning were the little fellers! The longer snakes can get enough ... hmm ... not good with physics ... don't know what it would be called ... but they could get more than half their body out on the tiles & so could get out & go back to the paddock overnight. I was left with the ones not big enough to do that. Yikes! That made the hair on the back of my neck stand up because they weren't real small snakes I was getting out of the pool!
I don't know if they actually drink do they, or do they just look for water to cool off?
I would take a guess and say they drink if they get the chance , however plenty in the desert areas that don't have dog dishes and swimming pools . They could of course just be hunting critters that come to water . We don't have any "Nice Snakes" ours are deadly full stop.
Lost dogs were two foxies and my sisters bullterrier ting that I was baby sitting , foxies cant help it real hunters , I have one now that's a corgi x foxie and shes a real slacker shows no interest in snakes thankfully but guinea fowl that's another subject .
Funniest snake yarn ive heard was at a place near Penong (Remote Sth Aust home of the famous surf beach Cactus ) I went there trimming horses feet and they had an exciting time , a big brown (of course they are always big ) had been spotted in the dunny and disappeared down the Ess Bend it was living in the septic tank of course . Now the world stopped until that was sorted out , still gives me Horrors.
Aww Jeez Louise - I don't worry about snakes, but a big brown snake in the dunny would be no laughing matter! Bloody hell.
That same place where I had the pool - I had the biggest brown snake there I'd ever seen. It was living under the rocks of this stupid fountain thingy they'd built on one end of the pool. I was petrified of it. I rang the snake guys so many times & they'd walk me through the "Snakes are more scared of people than people are of snakes" talk & then the "No. Brown snakes do NOT chase people - & anyone who tells you they've been chased is misguided" talk. And I'd get my head straight for a day or 6, & then I'd catch a glimpse of this mother & wet my pants again. It was a freaking monster. I was glad to leave it behind when we moved
How many people do you know who swear blind they've been chased by a brown snake? Non-drinking, sensible type people I mean ... people not given to exaggeration or excessive imagination? I know a few - about half a dozen. But the snake guys keep telling me it doesn't happen. I dunno what to believe. But I do know I'm scared of big brown snakes, wether they chase you or not
Snakes will drink if water is available. My friend has an in-ground pool and has the odd brown snake come by in summer. My partner photographed a stunning brown snake drinking from our wetland last spring.
Never heard any tales about brown snakes chasing people....however....many years ago when we were having our very first home built in a paddock next to my parents place on the outskirts of town, two of the tradesmen turned up one day to have a conflab about plumbing or whatever and disturbed a tiger snake which chased them all the way down the paddock and they actually vaulted over the fence and ran down the road. True story.
When the creek dries up to small holes here I often see 2 black snakes - one at each of the 2 deeper, longer lasting holes. I never knew if they were drinking, making use of the cool gravel or waiting for prey. I think I posted a photo on here a couple of years ago of a black snake eating an eel. I don't know if he got the eel out of the hole or if the eel was already dead on the bank - although I can't see why it would have been dead as there was still plenty of water in the hole.
So ... as a biologist ... would you say it's true snakes chase humans? In the Northern Rivers it's the brown snakes that get the blame for human chasing.
In all honesty I can't see any real truth that snakes would actually chase people (or any other large mammal for that matter). It makes no evolutionary sense to do so. Having said that there are other species in other countries like Black mambas which can be notoriously aggressive but how much of the wild stories are true and how much is exaggeration I don't know. Tiger snakes can become agitated and stand their ground and get defensive. Brown snakes will always retreat.
But animals don't read the animal behaviour books and there are always exceptions to the rule - just not very often.
The snake expert blokes I've talked to all say that the person must have been standing between the snake & it's hole & misinterpreted the snake going for cover as the snake chasing them. But I've been told stories of snakes chasing people on horses - it happened to my ex & his aunt, & while I wouldn't bank on anything my ex said, his aunt is a senior detective & is not the sort of person I'd think would get scared & hysterical & confused.
I had one incident where I could have thought a snake was chasing me ... I was cutting up thick vines etc at the bottom of a bare dirt hill. It was a hot day, in the middle of the day, blazing sun ... & a black snake came absolutely flying down the hill towards me. I had all the dogs with me, they were running around, making noise, I'd been moving around, making noise ... I dunno what the snakes agenda was but it would have been easy to interpret it as "chasing" me or "charging" me. I don't know why it didn't sense the movement or the noise or the smells or whatever they use to know there's stuff going on. Odd. Maybe it wriggled onto the bare hot dirt, got a fright at how hot it was & was "running" fast towards the bottom to get off it
My land has a large pile of debris (mostly materials from an old house that the former owner partially dismantled). I've been taking it apart bit by bit, saving the good stuff and using the rotten wood as termite food (the chickens love to eat termites) and mulch. So far I've come across many copperheads (no fewer than 14) and a couple of rattle snakes (both pit vipers with fairly potent venom) living in the pile. I usually work on the pile in cool weather when the snakes are sluggish, but in warmer weather I've had copperheads move aggressively forward toward me. I've never seen them actually *chase* anyone, though. I have to confess I killed them, fed the meat to the chickens, and saved their skins to make a hand bag. As I rule, I'm fond of snakes and appreciate the work they do, but I don't want poisonous snakes living so close to my house.
I have a young border collie who is very curious. Because of the large number of snakes living on the land with us, I had rattle snake vaccine administered to the dog and will get a booster when the weather warms up. It won't entirely prevent reaction to snake venom, but is said to slow and reduce the severity of the reaction, allowing more time to get the dog to the vet for anti venom treatment. The rattle snake vaccine is also somewhat effective for copperhead venom.
I walk around in sandals all summer, can't stand to have my feet constrained in shoes. I've almost stepped on snakes several times but have never been bitten except once when I was a kid (10 or 11 years old) and stepped on a water moccasin (also a pit viper -- North America's only poisonous water snake). When it happened, I was in a place my parents had forbidden me to go, so I didnt' tell them what had happened and didn't get any medical treatment. A black knot developed around the bite area, and my leg swelled up, and I felt a little ill. It wasn't too bad. Taking everything into consideration, my experience was less unpleasant than that of a friend of mine who was bitten on the hand by a copperhead and got the full medical treatment (however, the snake that bit me was kinda small and maybe didn't have a full load of venom).
You must have been REALLY scared of your folks not to mention a snake bite!
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