Huge SNAKE in my yard!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ticketism, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi guys,

    So, a few nights ago I was wandering around my yard just after dusk, bent down to pick up a really lovely feather one of our girls dropped there, and found myself looking at the big, fat body of a huge carpet python! I traced my torch along it and it was definitely over 2m long, and about the thickness of my wrist. This thing was bigger than I've ever seen in the inner-city suburbs before.

    Unfortunately it was on the move as I tried to arrange having it removed, so now I don't know where it's gone.

    The house behind ours has been empty for quite some time, nearly a year, with a really overgrown and wild back garden, but that day someone was around working on the yard and had lights on that night. I think it's a safe bet that the snake had been living there and was disturbed by the lights and movement.

    All our chickens have been coop-bound since I spotted it, as we're worried for their safety. But they usually free-range everyday so they're not exactly happy about this.

    So a few questions then...

    What do you think my likelihood of luring and trapping it is at this point? How long would it be wise to keep everyone confined to the coop for? How do you deal with snakes in your area? Considering it most likely came from the yard behind, and would have been there while our girls free-range daily this whole time without incident, is day time a safe time for letting them out for a scratch around? And what sort of setups do you have to protect from snakes?

    Our coop is quite large (~3m long, 2ish wide, and I can stand in it), fully covered with wire mesh about 1cm square. Under it is heavy-duty fox and rat proof wire about 1 inch square, which protrudes about 15inches on all sides and is firmly pinned to the ground. There are no gaps. I feel fairly confident that nothing can get them while they're in the coop. But I feel so bad for them not being able to come out and play like they usually do. I'm planning on making a minnow trap style of thing out of chicken wire and seeing if I can lure this big fella out. Would eggs be good bait? I don't want to use rats or anything, and I certainly don't want to accidentally attract more snakes to our yard, haha.

    Thanks in advance for any input.
    Cheers!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Wow! I'd need a garment change after that encounter. Try eggs in the trap - they just might work. I'd also allow only supervised free range until the work next door is completed. Good luck.
     
  3. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha, I actually wasn't even scared of it to start with, just amazed at the size and movement. Then I thought about the chickens and got pretty serious about it. When trying to find it again in the dark, I started feeling a bit freaked, but not too badly. Identifying it as a carpet python helped, because they're not venomous, but one that size would still be incredibly painful to cop a bite from.

    Fresh eggs would work best, right? Ones that still smell the most 'alive' and like a chicken.

    There hasn't been any more work done since then, so I'm guessing the owner got someone in to clean it up ready for sale/rent. If someone moves in there the snake might decide the whole area is too human infested and leave. If they don't, it might just retreat to the quiet yard and stay there... We really won't know unless I personally catch and rehome it. It hasn't bothered our girls yet, but now I feel that I can't let them out at all knowing that it could be around... I'd feel way too guilty and upset if something happened =( Even though the risk is potentially the same as it always has been.

    So you'd let your chickens have supervised, day time free-range time in this situation?
     
  4. Bigwig

    Bigwig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try a drift fence with (large!!!) minnow traps. In case you don't know what a drift fence is...... A drift fence is an wall basically, which can be made out of pretty much anything solid (e.g: boards, concrete, tarp...). When a foraging snake runs into the wall it starts to follow it, and if there are traps set flush along the wall the snake will go into them. Make sure there are no holes in the wall.

    Not sure what bait would be best. Where do you live? You might want to try something that is already on the snakes menu.

    Good Luck!!!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hm, that's a pretty good idea. I already put up a bird-net fence all the way along the back of the yard before we got the chooks, coz the yard is really sloping and the metal fence that had been there just kinda... Slid downwards into the bushes, haha. So the stakes and pins are already there. I could put cardboard or tarp along, attached to the existing wooden stakes and see how it goes. Snakes can usually scale sturdy fences pretty easily, but it may have some trouble with tarp.

    I live in Brisbane - Queensland, Australia. Because it's so warm, humid and green here we often get giant spiders, lots of cane toads, various snakes, etc. A snake that size I'd assume is eating rats, possums, wild birds, bugs, etc... There's always bush turkeys around, along with kookaburras and magpies that all come into our yard much to the chagrin of the chickens xD I've seen the boss Orpingtons fighting them over prize worms and grasshoppers before, haha. So I don't want to use an animal to lure the snake out, or attract more unsavoury types to the area... Would they go for meat? Or do they not respond to already killed things? Though, maybe if I put something in a trap it might attract rats, which would attract snakes, but no guarantee they'll go on the trap and I may just make a bigger problem for myself!

    My partner is also pretty freaked out about a huge snake hanging around, so for her sake as well as the chickens I'm going to try to catch it.

    Any tips on constructing a minnow trap type of thing specifically for snakes? I don't know very much about snakes at all really. I kinda wish I could just find it curled up under the house or something so I could just chuck a cardboard box over it with some bricks on top and call a mate to come take it away for me, haha. It probably would actually be happier in the place I'm thinking of moving it too, I bet it doesn't like all the lights and noise of all the people in the suburbs.

    So how about you, Bigwig - Would you let your chickens have supervised, daylight free-range time with a bog snake potentially around? We have 4 Orpingtons and 2 Sussex, the youngest are about 16-17 weeks old. Equal mix of smart, alert and pragmatic, and ditzy, 'head in the clouds' sweethearts.
     
  6. Bigwig

    Bigwig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't leave my birds out with such a large predator around. You won’t need to use bait if you use a drift fence, if the trap is set flush against the wall the snake will go in anyway. When you build the trap you may want to make it larger than an ordinary snake/minnow trap due to the size of the snake you are dealing with. Make sure the lid on the trap is attached firmly to the cage, pythons are strong and can break out of a poorly made trap.

    Good Luck!
     
  7. duckmanjim

    duckmanjim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you called Animal Control? Those snakes are not indiginous to USA, assuming thats where you are!
     
  8. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope, I'm in Queensland, Australia - The land of giant spiders and snakes xD Hahaha. I did call the council and a few snake removal companies, but it was on the move and I lost sight of it, so there was no way I was paying $150 for someone to come over, look around and leave without it!

    Here you pretty much just call a snake removalist if it's venomous and in your house or somewhere it can't get away, because they're really expensive and don't always even find the buggers once they've slithered into the bushes somewhere. Most people don't even bother about carpet pythons in their yards as they're non-venomous and rarely bother humans. Or they trap and remove them themselves. Sometimes people kill them with shovels, though that's not something I'm willing to do.

    I've made a couple of big traps out of chicken wire, let's see if this big fella feels like eggs for dinner.
     
  9. Bigwig

    Bigwig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Keep us posted!!
     
  10. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So this morning checking the trap - No snake, and the bait has remained untouched. But it rained all night so maybe the snake just wasn't out and about hunting with it being so cold, and potentially the smell wouldn't have been strong enough while the eggs were constantly getting washed over with rain water.

    I've reset and re-baited the trap, fresh eggs and a little straw from the coop to add a bit of extra 'prey' smell. Will keep checking and let you know how it goes.
     

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