I’ve seen Kill Bill enough times to know that a bite from the wrong kind of snake means instant death. And if Indiana Jones is afraid of them, so am I. That’s why Australia, which otherwise seems like a perfect place to live, frightens the hell out of me. From what I understand, there are roughly 80 bajillion snakes in the country and they’re all extremely deadly. “No, that’s not even close to true,” say smart people. Fine, but that doesn’t make me any less terrified of the ones they do have. Especially after coming across a recent story that is a literal nightmare of mine. A Sydney couple came home from grocery shopping to find a venomous snake in their lettuce.
The Guardian reported (in a story we first heard about at Boing Boing) on an Australian couple’s truly terrible shopping trip. They returned home with groceries from a local Aldi to find a nearly 7.8-inch juvenile pale-headed snake inside their bag of lettuce. The rare snake (Hoplocephalus bitorquatus) is not the kind of bonus “snack” you ever want to find. You never want your groceries to bite back.
While it’s unknown how it got in there, the snake was quietly hiding between two pieces of lettuce. The couple’s journey home apparently woke it up. When they went to put their food away, the snake emerged, flicking it’s tongue. That’s how the pair knew it was a snake and not a giant worm. (Which would have been gross but still infinitely better.)
It’s not great to startle a pale-headed snake. Australian Museum explains its danger to humans:
“The Pale-headed Snake is a shy but nervous species, and easily agitated if cornered. When disturbed they quickly assume a threat position by holding the head and neck in a tight S-shaped loop, flattening the head and facing the intruder, sometimes with the mouth slightly open. If the intruder comes within reach the snake will strike without hesitation, delivering multiple bites in quick succession. Although there have been no recorded fatalities from this snake, an envenomation can produce some unpleasant symptoms, including severe headache, blurred vision, localized pain, and abnormal bleeding. Medical attention is advised for anyone receiving a bite from this species.”
Local authorities managed to identify the species thanks to pictures. They also warned the couple of the dangers it posed, and no harm came to no human or snake alike. Now here comes the worst part: after an expert took the snake away, the couple ate the lettuce. Seriously. They still ate the lettuce.
Nope. Noooooope. Forget being afraid by all the snakes in Australia. I’m just as terrified by the people there who aren’t. If I visited I’d walk around the country looking like this the whole time.