We have become accustomed to sharing our summer garden with tiger snakes, they have the perfect home around the pond and they have been very polite lodgers. Last year Michael had reconfigured the ponds and surrounding rocks and plants and, apart from a brief visit to check out the new design, no-one actually moved in. Our latest resident appeared early in the summer, curled up in a favourite spot to capture the morning sun.
The weather has been unseasonal this year, with a very wet and mild November making the process of warming up quite difficult. Tasmanian tiger snakes are darker than their mainland cousins in order to absorb more heat but there is still a need to flatten out and speed up the process.
The rocks hold their warmth, a great place to stretch in the sun
until it gets too hot and then there is a shady grevillea to retreat to.
Being extremely vulnerable while shedding their skin, snakes are usually discreet about it. We were very surprised when we came in from gardening to find she had done so out in the open.
After a while, she changed her morning sunning spot, perhaps realising it warmed up earlier than her usual position.
One morning we found her completely out of her comfort zone and wondered if she had been caught unawares the previous evening as the temperature can drop quickly once the sun starts its descent. She flattened out on the stones for a while
and finally made her way, very slowly, to her usual place under the box hedge.
Her home was actually in the rocks, we would see her go to bed each night around 5.30pm (no, we didn’t read her a bedtime story).
A few of weeks ago, we noticed she was looking dull, she was quite restless and her eyes were cloudy, a sure sign another skin shedding was imminent.
We kept a close eye on her movements and the camera within reach in the hope of witnessing and filming the shedding experience. It wasn’t to be, our last vision of her was in her tired, old skin and we haven’t seen her now for three weeks.
Hopefully, she has taken her shiny new self out to the forest to find a mate. Maybe she will return next year?