21 March 2021
My sister was telling me today about a new pet in her family. Now my sister isn’t a pet person exactly. She coexists with a cat that belongs to her family, and has chooks that clean up scraps, keep weeds down around her fruit trees and provide eggs, but that’s it. Her home is a refuge for wildlife, though. Kangaroos and possums and all sorts of animals wander around her property.
Her new pet is not, of course, one purchased from a pet emporium.
The new pet’s name is Deefer. As in, D for dugite. Which, if you aren’t familiar with the name, is a venomous snake native to Western Australia.
Those of us who live in this state know to be a little wary of snakes. Australia has around 100 venomous snake species and about 170 overall, so it’s safe to say that snake awareness is familiar to all of us.
Our normal reaction on seeing a snake is avoidance. If there’s one crossing your path, you wait for it to move away. If there’s one hanging around your house, you try to relocate it. Or get someone else to relocate it for you.
But we generally don’t accept them into our households, give them a name, and allocate them duties within the family.
But this snake has made its home in my sisters chicken enclosure. The chicken enclosure which was, until recently, suffering from an infestation of mice making themselves at home amongst the chook food.
Mice are apparently quite a delicacy for Deefer.
So my sister has accepted the quite effective presence of Deefer, and takes precautions when collecting eggs, and makes sure her grandchildren are always accompanied by snake-wary adults when collecting eggs too.
There was an old joke going around ages ago (can’t remember who started it), about the biblical story and Noah and his ark, and how he was a real ba***rd, because he could have squashed those two cockroaches and saved us all from the problem.
But the reality is that each species on this earth serves a purpose.
I read somewhere that there are an estimated 8.7 million species on earth –
7.8m animals, 298000 plants, 611000 mushrooms, mild and fungi, 36400 protozoa, 27500 algae or chromists. The article did mention that they didn’t even try to estimate bacteria. If my figures are wrong, please forgive me. I’ll go back and start a recount.
And humans are just one amongst the 8.7 million.
Like knowing that spiders are quite effective in cleaning up flying insects, and other species in the food chain that keep other species in check, everything has a purpose in this world.
The purpose of this one particular human that I know as my sister, is to make room in her world for a very effective rodent removal expert.