17 February 2023

Googong woman helps bag a snake - and makes some new friends in the process

| Sally Hopman
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Man and woman with snake bag

Snake-catcher Gavin Smith with Hannah Dennes and the red-bellied black snake he bagged in Googong earlier this week. Photo: Pat Coelho.

Hannah Dennes and her family moved into Wingrave Street, Googong, about six years ago. Although they knew their neighbours well enough to wave to, they weren’t close – until this week.

Turns out, the sight of a red-bellied black snake in your backyard can be a great bonding experience.

The snake was spotted on the roof of Hannah’s neighbours, Troy and Pat Coelho, who live about three houses down. It fell off and slid down the drain – apparently chasing a frog. It made for a sleepless night, with everyone wondering where it had slithered to.

“The next day when I was driving out of the driveway, I saw it across the road,” Hannah said. “I called the snake catcher and from then on, we were on snake watch.”

Black snake

All eyes were on this uninvited guest, a red-bellied black snake, who slithered his way into Wingrave Street, Googong, earlier this week. Photo: Hannah Dennes.

Hannah said Gavin Smith from ACT Snake Removals told her, whatever she did, not to take her eyes off the reptile, so she didn’t, enlisting the help of another neighbour for the task.

“I reckon we watched it for more than an hour,” she said. “It started at one end of the street and then went into the backyard there, then moved to the next house,” she said.

“I knew there was a dog there so I raced in to get the dog out and put him in my place.”

Hannah said the closest she got to the snake was about a metre – and it wasn’t by choice.

“I had to walk past the snake to get the dog out,” she said.

“Then we saw the snake go through to the next neighbour’s garage. I went in and told them to shut the door from the garage to the house.”

Hannah said it was very lucky that almost everyone in the street was home that day, so they could help with the snake watch.

“You get to know people well, and bond with them, when you’re watching for a snake,” she said.

“You don’t really have time to be scared, although I must say I was a little frightened when you know it’s out there but you don’t know where it is.”

Although her neighbours praised Hannah for her quick-thinking, she described Gavin as the man of the hour.

“He really was the hero of the day,” she said. “But you had to laugh. We spent more than an hour watching the snake and he came over and had it in a the bag within a matter of seconds.”

It was then taken off to Googong Dam, away from people and dogs.

READ ALSO How a Goulburn snake-catcher entices his captives

But the whole encounter left residents of Wingrave Street with a new sense of community – and an apology from Pat Coelho, whose roof the snake first moved on to.

“So this snake just jumped off my roof,” he posted on social media. “Sorry to anyone who heard the colourful language coming from my house.

“Shout out to Hannah. Thanks to her eagle eye, the snake handler arrived just in time to catch the snake that fell from my roof, resulting in the entire neighbourhood now knowing my safe word.”

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I make no apologies but I hate the b. things! Mercifully have never seen one on my block but occasionally come across the horrid things in my jogs. No they are not beautiful in any way though almost certainly my comment will be rejected by the politically correct.

Capital Retro1:16 pm 18 Feb 23

That’s fat black. Must be lots of feed at Googong.

I have a very fat Copperhead basking in the sun near my shack in the bush. It barely moves because it is full of tucker and there are no mice in the house. It’s a win-win pact with nature.

A Googong twist on street party !

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