photo of coiled black snake

It started with the inquisitive black one chasing my canoe. I thought it was a water-dragon until it stood, cobra-like, above the water.

I swear, my heart temporarily stopped.

On hikes, they were everywhere; gleaming red-bellied-blacks on the sand; striped tigers in the leaf litter; coppery browns laid out on bitumen.

Silent, beady-eyed, cold-blooded terrorists.

I can’t walk through long grass. Can’t breathe near a river’s edge. Need industrial-strength boots and gaiters.

They’re always there, ready to sink their fangs in a glancing blow.

Perhaps I should move to New Zealand.

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Venita is a Melbourne writer, editor and doctor. She loves Australian landscape, music, food and greyhounds. She has completed her first novel titled 'Lonesome Haul'.

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