By Conor Byrne and Joel Spry
It’s 2:00am and you feel something like the jaws of a hairclip on your forehead.
You feel it and it’s smooth and long and alive.
It’s not a hairclip.
Emily Hinds was having an early night after celebrating a win in social netball with a glass of wine on Tuesday night.
“I woke up in that slumber feeling like I’ve rolled onto a hair clip on my head and was thinking ‘Why did the kids put a hair clip on my head’?” the 42-year-old mum said.
“Then I thought the clip would have to open and close.
“Then I felt it and it was smooth and long and I said ‘It’s a snake!’
“I said to Jason, ‘I’ve been bitten by a snake!’ And he said, ‘Impossible!'”
Ms Hinds and her husband live in Coolalinga, 22 kilometres south-east of Darwin.
Snakes are common in the rural area — they once had a 1.8-metre carpet python in the attic, and a smaller one in the bedside drawer.
“I felt around tentatively for the light switch, which is on a long cord — like a snake,” Ms Hinds, a talkback gardener on ABC Radio Darwin, said.
“I switched it on and that’s when it got real.
“Its tail was still on my pillow and it was half on the bedhead and cruising up to the louvres.
“It’s in the curtains heading up and I’ve seen the pattern on it. We’ve seen them around before.
“I’m still cool, calm, and collected.
“I didn’t think it had bitten me, and then I felt around and looked in the mirror and there’s two puncture marks and there’s blood.
“I thought, ‘This is cool and this is going to get me some street cred’.“
Vader the kelpie didn’t stir
They retrieved a “snake hook” made from a headless golf driver — possibly a four-wood, according to Ms Hinds — for just such an occasion.
“Jason’s got this golf club and a glove on his hand and he’s in his undies,” she said.
“He caught it and then dropped it on the floor.
“Then he goes to pick it up by the tail and then I yell at him, because you don’t pick a snake up by the tail.
“Then we have this argument about how to pick up a snake and then it starts moving to bite him and then it starts moving toward me.
“Then our kelpie Vader is in the corner and I thought she might help here, but she’s flat out asleep — she slept through the whole thing.
“So Jason picked it up behind the head with his glove on and tossed it out into the bush.“
After an hour so spent searching the room — and wondering whether the serpent was venomous — Ms Hinds, not too much the worse for wear, was able to get back to sleep.
“The bite was a little bit tender and I had a headache,” she said.
“But I wonder, was that anything to do with the glass of wine or the lack of sleep?“
Didn’t you get the message?
The next morning the family was shocked to see a near-identical snake in the home’s breezeway.
“I was thinking ‘is it the same one coming back or is it one of many laid by the mother snake?’,” she said.
The story was a new one on local snake catcher Luke Allen, who said it was unusual behaviour for what was most likely a non-poisonous children’s python, especially at this time of year, the quietest for snakes.
“If it’s chomping on her forehead, wow,” he said.
He said the second snake was unlikely to be the same one involved in the altercation.
“Usually when they’ve an ordeal, they associate it with stress and danger and usually won’t go back to the same place,” he said.