Like many first-time visitors to Australia, we had certain expectations of what we’d find here. Of course one of the things we’ve heard is that Oz has more poisonous critters than just about anywhere else. So stepping on a large snake might cause sudden death… from a heart attack, if nothing else.

Even though we’ve heard that ” Everything in Australia wants to kill you,” we’re hardly the type to worry about that sort of thing. We’re not about to let hyperbole stop us from experiencing one the most fantastic places in the world.

That said, having been up close and personal with Tasmanian Devils, and running into the biggest spider we’ve ever seen, we know that Australia does indeed have some scary animals.

But I don’t have the same primordial fear of devils & spiders that I do of snakes. Combine that fear with the knowledge that Australia does indeed have a lot of venomous ones, and toss in a major dose of surprise, and you’re looking at the potential for a serious coronary.

I’ve come across lots of snakes in my life, and I’ve learned that the shock level and subsequent response are directly related to the proximity and the size of the snake. Big snake + very close = heart attack. If I see it before getting too close, and it’s not too big (or rattling), I have a good chance of staying calm and not freaking out.

But actually stepping on one… and I mean stepping directly down on the center of the snake with the center of my foot, looking down to see why the ground feels so soft, and seeing three feet of snake to my right, and the other three feet of snake to my left? That was cause for a Cirque-du-Soleil-caliber back-flip.

Accompanied by the shriek of a little girl. At least that what I heard in my head.

It’s not like I haven’t had close calls before. We were RVing outside Phoenix in March one year, and the rattlers were apparently out early. It was dark out, and I was using a black light to look for scorpions (don’t ask) in the palm tree in front of our site.

I heard a buzzing sound on the ground next to my foot, and couldn’t figure out what it was. I swung my black light down into the darkness to reveal a baby rattlesnake, about 2 feet long, about 2 feet from my foot, coiled and ready to strike my ankle. Cirque-du-Soleil-caliber back-flip.

So I was lucky to have been spared a snake bite both times. Watch the video for the whole sordid story, along with some shaky footage of this most recent encounter, and confirmation of the fact that I had stepped on a Carpet Python!

We also had our first dingo sighting, and a greeting from a pair of kookaburra birds. Oh… did I mention that the lighthouse and coastline are beautiful? ;)

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