I'm paranoid about snakes in Australia.
My first year living here, I had several encounters with them. (You can refresh your memory about them here, here, and here.)
So I look out for them when I take Simon out. And we go outside every day, weather permitting. Being that its summer, we're outside quite a bit taking walks under the gum trees, sometimes down to the (dried up) stream.
But I look. Closely. And really, snakes don't like people. They don't WANT to be around people. They're probably there, watching us walk, I'm sure, all the time. But they want to stay out of the way, and that is good for both parties.
Yesterday, even though I was watching for them, immediately after set Simon down to walk on his own, I saw it.
A meter away from me. Camouflaged perfectly in the gum bark strewn across the grass.
A meter-long, jet black tiger snake.
And my child only just out of reach, apparently having just walked past it!
I called him to me (and have never been more grateful for the training Phillip put in to teaching him to come when he's called while we're outside!), grabbed him by his arms, yanked him up, and started to gently run backwards.
Sounds weird, yes. But I'm trying to get my child and myself away from this snake in as non-threatening yet quick a way as possible.
The snake flattened out it's neck almost cobra-style (yes, they do that), glanced at me, and quickly slithered in the opposite direction into some brambles surrounding a nearby tree.
I ran into the house, sat down, shaking, hugging and kissing Simon, crying.