Thursday, September 17, 2009

On the Subject of Snakes

Last Weekend we stayed close to home, only venturing up the Yarra Valley to Warburton (again) and a little past there to the Upper Yarra Reservoir.
This photo shows the dam wall and spillway. Due to prolonged drought I believe there has been no water on this spillway for over a decade.Melbourne’s water supply, of which this reservoir forms part, is down to 31 %. Although the Upper Yarra is at about 68% capacity.
As you can see from this photo, of the bridge over the spillway, the bulk of the dam wall is constructed using rock-fill.This surface is fairly unstable and the Melbourne Water Authority has erected signs warning yahoos to keep off.However yahoos and galahs are aptly named and I suspect the aforesaid signs were not doing their job.
Hence (I suspect) these signs.
I really think these signs are a case of; if you can’t get people to be sensible then scare them into complying.

What am I implying?
That there are no snakes living in the rock fill of the walls?

Not a bit of it. In fact knowing more than average about Aussie snakes, I would guarantee there are a good number of snakes taking advantage of the habitat and shelter provided by the rock fill.
There are snakes pretty much everywhere in Oz. Including, sometimes, in the absolute centre of our capital cities.

In fact as I have said before getting bitten by snakes is pretty much a national pastime.
But I also guarantee the danger people face on this rock wall is broken bones and not snakebites. I suspect people would be as likely to come across a snake in their back garden as they would be on this rock wall.

Simple, as much as people hate and fear snakes, snakes fear us a whole lot more. We are big and dangerous to them and they nearly always try to avoid confrontation. So on ground like this the most you are ever likely to see is a snake’s tail disappearing into a crack as it hightails (sorry I just couldn’t resist that pun).

The interesting thing about snake bites in Oz is that well over 80% occur on young males as they either attempt to catch, or more likely kill snakes with inappropriate gear such as sticks.
So the moral of the story is leave them alone and they will leave you alone.

What I suspect has happened here is that a clever chief ranger is trying to protect people from their own stupidity. It could just backfire, as those same yahoos who might think it fun to climb down these rocks are just as likely to think it fun to try and find a snake to kill.

I think my sympathy is with the snakes in that contest.

By the way I am being a good boy, I did a couple of hours on the manuscript last night.


Brian, the old man said...

That's a beautiful valley. I think you're right about the sign and the snakes. Have a great day!

heidenkind said...

That is pretty clever--maybe we should try that at the reservoir where I work!

Al said...

Hi Brian,
It's a great spot. I guess so about the signs, but I suppose there is always the possibility that the guy in chard was just really frightened of snakes.

Hi Tasha,
I think it is clever, maybe it is worth a go!
So you work for a water company?

Lisa said...

Well, if neither of those signs work, then I'd say that proves the whole survival of the fittest deal.

Al said...

Hi Lisa,
Seems about right. Anyone foolish enough to go mucking around beyond the fence could become eligible for a Darwin Award