Remember my previous post about a Murray Darling Python being offered for sale in my neighborhood?
Well, after going for a run, photographing some delicious dmc chocolate and collecting some books to review, I asked myself the question asked by bloggers everywhere: Why work on my sensible tasks, such as starting assignment number five for my 'Editing, Copywriting and Proofreading for Publishing' course; vacuuming the bunny fur from the rugs, finishing the two 'on spec' chapters for my next book proposal or getting the right kind of chicken feed from the grainstore when I could instead find out the intriguing story behind the sign below?
Naturally, the Lady of the House thought I was not the full can of Fanta when I first rang, introduced myself, said I was a struggling local writer and asked her for more information about the python. She thawed a bit when I explained that I actually quite like snakes (they are not slimy but instead feel like glomesh) and was intrigued to see a sign in the suburbs other than '1989 Ford Laser for Sale. Low Kms, $1000 ono' or 'Garage Sale: raw pine furniture, baby clothes, fitballs, ab-cruncher and cassette tapes'.
It turns out that her son acquired Sinja (rhymes with 'Ninja' or even 'Singe', as in burn) as a mere baby when he also was a young lad. He's married with a child now (the son, not the snake, although nothing surprises me these days) and lives in the Adelaide Hills, a spot that's far too cold for a South Aussie snake used to heat, dry and increasingly desert-like River Murray conditions.
At six to seven feet long, he's fully grown and likely to live for at least another twenty years. Pythons are not poisonous and don't bite - their only unnerving habit is to prefer sleeping with their eyes open. Yes, Lady L admitted, he does prefer 'live' food such as mice or birds, but thankfully can go months without anything due to hibernation mode. He needs a nice warm tank and is currently lurking behind his rock display, preparing to get rid of his latest skin: another activity that tends to make him lose his appetite for a while.
Lady L has had a couple of enquiries about Sinja, but he doesn't come cheap. Also known as Mr Morelia Spirota, he falls into the 'vulnerable' category for endangered Australian Species and, according to the SA government, 'can be useful to some people for helping to control vermin'.
Even though Sinja spends an inordinate amount of time lying about sunning himself, he has a lot of equipment and costs associated with his upkeep. As she told me, "I've raised three children, worked for thirty years and am retired now with a lot of activities on my plate, and really don't want to have responsibility for Sinja as well."
Fair enough. L is an Italian-Australian poet who has been published and has also completed an extensive family history spanning five generations. It turns out that she worked for thirty years at the school that my daughter Sapphire now attends - they missed each other by one month as L retired about two weeks before Sapphire started in reception. "Children love Sinja - he's relaxed, approachable and a bit more exciting than a cat."