It was in September 2019, a beautiful warm day, the early spring’s cold temperature pushed away by the golden sunshine. I was walking in one of my favourite places – Becketts Park in Templestowe, like so many times before. I have walked hours in this spacious area – being totally immersed in the flora and fauna does me wonders.
That afternoon, I had an unexpected encounter with an extremely venomous lowlands copperhead snake. It was 40cm ahead of me. I stopped when I saw it. It was travelling quite fast towards the water. Once it moved away to the taller grass, it turned its head towards me. I guess it might have been trying to work out whether the upright creature might be a source of food. I was hoping it wouldn’t think I was its prey and jump and attack me. Graham was walking behind me. He saw me stop and noticed the snake, quickly pulling me back towards him. By then, the snake decided I wasn’t on its menu, continued on its merry way and disappeared from us. Everything happened so fast, I didn’t have time to take out my iPhone to take some shots but the scene is in my head so clearly even many months later.
The snake was about 1.5 meters in length, about 60mm thick, with a rich, deep copper colour on the back and a lighter colour on the belly.
The lowland copperhead is generally 1 to 1.5 meters long. Its colour varies a great deal, from a coppery mid-brown to yellowish, reddish, grey or black.
Australian venomous snakes are almost deaf and blind. If provoked, the lowland copperhead is dangerous; its venom contains postsynaptic neurotoxins which can kill an adult human if correct first aid is not applied promptly.
It is found in south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania, and prefers areas of low vegetation near the water where it hunts for frogs, lizards and snakes including smaller snakes of its own species.
I had another snake encounter about 4 years prior. I was walking with Caitlin during our annual holiday, again near the water, when a thin snake passed me. That was the first time I had this kind of encounter. Well, I think I won’t be walking near long grassland near water for a while.