It’s not often you hear about someone who spends a sleepless night worrying about the wellbeing of a snake.
After liberating a baby diamond python from her Nabiac backyard, 16-year-old Courtney Tollis spent much of last Sunday night wondering if the creature would survive to the next morning.
Courtney was gardening with her dad Mark when she discovered the sleepy snake.
“We hardly saw it, it was so well camouflaged with leaves and bark,” Courtney said.
“It was scared and hardly moved; it took a long time to wake up.”
However, as soon as Courtney placed the little creature into her warm hands it came to life.
“It was awesome to see.”
A quick call to wildlife rescue group, FAWNA (For Australian Wildlife Needing Aid), gave Courtney the information needed to ensure the little snake survived.
“FAWNA was very helpful and within 15 minutes their snake expert had rung us.”
Known for their ability to escape from almost any situation, Courtney was advised to place the snake securely into a pillowcase before placing it into a small box to keep it warm.
Courtney loosely placed a woollen blanket over to top to ensure it didn’t get cold.
Measuring about 30-40cm in length, and close to 12 months old, the snake was identified as a diamond python from its bright yellow and cream markings.
“It was probably born late last year.”
Laying up to 20 eggs, the babies usually hatch in early summer.
“But, a lot don’t survive and are usually killed by cats, dogs, foxes and birds while trying to find food,” she said.
“We could have put it back in the garden, but I saw a butcher bird.”
While carpet snakes aren’t a rare sighting in the Tollis family’s backyard – one has taken up permanent residency in their chook house – this was Courtney’s first encounter with a baby.
Studying distance education through Camden Haven, the Year 10 student has a passion for all creatures.
Every Friday she attends TAFE for animal studies classes.
“I would like to be a FAWNA volunteer, but we have a dog and cat.”