It is in my house that you are living”¦

python story


















By Neena Badhwar

Our house backs on to Elouera National bush. The dining room overlooks on to the top of the trees. So we live with the Parakeets, Rosellas, Kookaburras, and at times an occasional Kangaroo or a wallaby may be spotted in the backyard. Bush turkeys also join the brigade at times eating away all that we may be growing. Not that much grows in the clayey soil yet possums eye the few accidental strawberries that appear or some tomatoes. As I watch the fruits go from green to red, the possum do too. Before I can get to them Possums have had a great organic meal out of them leaving some half eaten fruit for me to look at, it is pretty disappointing with all the care and water that I had showered on the plants.
Well one hot summer day, I went shopping and came back all hot and sweaty carrying bags full of food items. So went to the pantry to put stuff on the shelves. As I opened the pantry door from the back there was noise of something falling. Without giving much attention I kept on filling the shelf but then something fell again. I could not help but look at the back of the door. Soon as I pushed it open”¦. to the shock of my life I saw a snake, a big one, a python with its tongue sticking out as it came lashing at me. Its body was all curled up in the shelf and all the cans around it were falling. My blood completely dried !
I ran out into the kitchen and went straight to the phone to call my husband who was in some important meeting. So he did not pick up the phone. But when he heard his phone ring thrice from home, he took it and I said there’s a snake in our pantry.
He was in the meeting so even he could not think straight how to help. So I called my son Kush who also did not know how to go about and save me as he worked in St Leonards at SBS. But then he called little later and told me that he had called the WIRES guy ”“ people who come and help rescue wildlife and work for Wildlife society.
The guy rang to say that he will be there after 4pm. And it was 1.30 when I had found it in my pantry. I was still in jitters when the guy suggested that I close the pantry door. I said no what if the snake slithers away somewhere in the house. I could never live with the thought that a python is around. What if one day while working in the office it came and circled my legs and bit me. All sorts of fears ran through my thoughts.
I kept a watch on it as it tried to find its way out of the place as I discovered it was equally scared of me. Trying to hide here and there, even tried to climb out from the half open window which had been left open by mistake. But the wall on that side was two and a half storey high. The poor guy thought best not to slip out because if it did it may fall from a height and break all its bones, it must have thought.
Most of these pythons sleep for six months in winter lying in total tupor and when they wake up as summer approaches they can be extremely hungry. They look for any small wildlife around in the bush. So our dear friend had climbed a tree to eat a baby bird which had just left the nest followed by its worried mother. The baby chick was all the time crying for mum’s attention as the bird went around looking for food and water for her chick which had yet to learn to fly. So the hungry Mr Python was after it when the bird mum had screamed and scared it away. The branch it was on was a soft one and bent over when the python tried to go further on it. And plonk it fell on our roof tiles which were burning hot with the hot summer sun. Poor snake quickly slithered down and had found shelter inside our pantry through this half open window.
I kept an eye on it as it was equally shy of me and it went on the top shelf right under the rafters near the ceiling and curled up to take rest. It thought that it was out of my sight but I could spot it from down there. I prayed for it as I had become less terrified as time passed.
The wildlife guy came not at 4pm but at 6pm when he just got up in the pantry on a stool I gave and held the python by the month and brought it down. In the meantime my son turned up and the guy asked us to hold the beautiful snake which he said was a diamond python. Good 1.9 metres long, shiny green yellow patterns on his back as he wrapped himself around the wildlife guy’s hand. He patted him nicely while talking to him at the same time. After taking few pictures we said fine take it to the guy. He just simply looked up and asked, “Ok tell me where at the back should I leave it?” We said, “Aren’t you taking it away?” His answer was, “Come on you are living in his house, not him in yours, why should he have to go from here?”
So we said fine. We took him to the back and said well leave him here. As he released the python into the bush, it must be seen to be believed. I have not seen ever a snake fly as it just jumped into the air and there he disappeared in the bush, nowhere to be seen!
We named him Shiva as he quietly lived in our backyard and we with him. He showed himself always once in the summer as it went looking for food. Otherwise it minded its own business and we ours”¦

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