Hi, my name is Alys Jackson and I'm an author and poet

based in Adelaide, South Australia.

My work has been published in books, magazines,

anthologies and online.



There are snakes in my garden. Quick, come and see.

Eyes that are lidless are looking at me.

Silently slithering. Slip-sliding free.

They’re carnivorous, of course, and I make no apology,

they’re in perfect tune with reptilian ecology.

With flexible jaws, their prey can be vast.

And a striking snake is surprisingly fast.

Deer? No sweat – for an anaconda,

and even a jaguar’s not beyond her.

She’s able to unhinge her jaw, you see.

An impossible feat for you or me.

Their ears are internal, not farcical flaps,

collecting dust and filling with wax.

And with three thousand species,

they’re common-old beasties.

You’ll find them in deserts, forests and trees,

deep down in lakes or skimming the seas.

I love them all from fang to tail,

each sparkling spot, each armoured scale.

But I have to admit it IS disconcerting

to wake up and find a small snake inserting

itself in a hole in my skirting.

Even I object to that!

Would you like to learn more about fear? Download the activity sheet below and have a go. If you’re a member of Children’s University, this activity is worth 30 minutes in your Passport to Learning.

38 thoughts on “Snakes

  1. Hi Alys,
    I’m from Adelaide and one of your biggest Fans!
    I love the books you write because they are so interesting and the pictures are amazing too!

    • Hi Aysan, thank you for your lovely comments! I’m so pleased to hear that you enjoy my books. I love the pictures, too. 😊😊 I’m so sorry that my reply is late. I’ve been travelling interstate and only just returned to Adelaide. Alys

  2. Dear Alys,

    I like this poem and the effort in to it. I am not really in to snakes and I rate it 4/5 out of 5.

    Good Job


    • Thanks Ranulaka. Not everyone likes snakes and I understand why! They can be quite scary. Fortunately, I like snakes and am very interested in their biology and ecology. That is why I wrote this poem. It was lots of fun doing the research and discovering more about these fascinating creatures! 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍

  3. Hi Alys
    I am not a snake lover but after reading your poem I had a question for you
    What do snakes do in the winter?

    • Good question, Buddhima! Cold-blooded animals like snakes and frogs need to spend the winter inactive, or dormant, because they have no way to keep warm. They don’t actually hibernate, rather they become less active during cold weather. It is called ‘brumation’. Brumation is an extreme slowing down of their metabolism. Snakes are awake, but just very lethargic so you don’t see them moving around as much as other times of the year. Alys 🐍🐍🐍🐍

  4. Hi Alys

    I liked the way you described the snake.I have seen snakes but they give me a fright especially the black ones.🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍

    • Thanks Dinidu. I think it’s very sensible to be cautious around snakes. They are beautiful but can be deadly!!! Alys

  5. Hi Alys,

    I liked the describing words.Have you seen a snake😭🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍

    • Yes, I have Imeth!!! I saw a brown snake in our garden at the start of this year. We called the snake catcher to come and safely carry it away. 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍😊 Alys

  6. Hey alys you described that snake 🐍 really well and it was really ssssssssscary .Did you have a lot of research ? I think 🤔 you needed to !!!🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍

    • Yes, I did loads of research, Yehanya. Actually I love learning about new things, especially animals so I enjoy reading about them. I hope it wasn’t too ssssssssscary!?? 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍😵😵

  7. Hi Alys,

    The snake in this poem was well described which was good but I am terrified of snakes. Just the thought of them makes me squeamish. I hate the thought of them creeping into your house. You may not even notice them because of their sly ways. However, I feel that I have gained more knowledge of snakes after reading this poem.


    • Oh dear, Chomilka, it’s not nice being afraid of something. For me it is flying which makes going on holidays both wonderful and terrifying 😠😵✈. I’m glad you learned something from this poem and always try to remember that snakes are far more afraid of you!! 😊 Alys

  8. hi Alys
    good work on describing snakes .i like snakes do you ?
    my favourite snakes are the death adder and the red bellied black snake. what is your favourite snake?
    i don`t think snakes are scary. i think they are fascinating .

    • Thanks Yuneth. I love snakes although I do understand why some people are frightened of them. It’s lovely to know that you like them, too. I think my favourite is the green tree snake. I like the way they curl up in the branches!! 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍😃 Alys

  9. Hi Alys,

    You described snakes really well!!

    It was great to read and you could picture a snake very clearly in your mind.

    • I think I found it easy to write this poem because I like snakes so much. I hope that you like them, too, or that you learned something new?! Bye, Gina. 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍😊 Alys

  10. Dear Alys
    That poem made understand snakes a little better. How did you learn information on snakes for this poem. The last time I came in contact with a snake was when people for a wild life rescue showed some animals that are endangered or were found injured. One of the animals was a snake called smilely because the snake has a patten and the pattern was smiles.

    • Wow, I had no idea that snakes could have a pattern that looks like a smile!! Some snakes do have such unusual and beautiful patterns, though. I did a lot of research using books (from home and the library) and from the internet. I then tried to choose the most interesting information and THEN I had to work out the rhymes… It was lots of fun but it took ages. Alys 🐍🐍🐍🐍😆 PS: great comments, Thinara!

  11. Dear Alys jackson,
    this poem reminded me of the time when me and my cousin saw a black snake. it all started when me and my cousin were playing chasey. after awhile I ran into the grass then I hear a hissing noise. i looked down and saw he black snake slithering through the grass. I couldn’t believe my eyes. even my cousin saw it. we ran for are lives!!! It ends up the snake was a baby but ti was long a scary.

    kind regards Tirath.

    • Wow, Tirath, fancy seeing a snake when you were playing a game! That must have been quite a shock. No wonder you ran. I have seen many snakes in the wild, but usually when I was watching out for wildlife on bush walks. Somehow it’s not so scary if you are looking for animals. Plus, I actually quite like snakes 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍 Alys

  12. Hi Alys,
    I like this poem because it made me learn more about snakes. It’s really scary to imagine a snake entering your place. I hope that didn’t happen in real and if that is true story then what did you do after ?

    • Luckily NOT a true story, Ishrit. Last year we had a snake in our back garden and we had to call the snake catcher. He was very gentle with the snake and let it go somewhere far away. It’s nice to know that you learned something from the poem. I learned from writing it! Alys 🐍🐍🐍

    • Yes, Sanuli, I do like snakes, although I’m careful not to get too close. I like cacti too which are VERY prickly. Maybe I just like spiky things? Alys🐍🐍🐍

  13. Hi Alys
    I like this poem and I like it because you can learn new things and you
    put a lot of interesting facts in it. I got 3 questions. did you have to do
    a lot of research to write this poem?
    what gave you the idea of writing this poem in the first place?
    Do you really like snakes?

    • Hi Tiaana, yes, I love snakes. Maybe because I was born in the year of the snake, according to the Chinese – Apparently, people born in the year of the snake are intelligent and wise. They are good at communication but say little. Hmmmm, not sure about ‘wise’. Anyway, that’s why I wrote this poem. Oh, and I did loads and loads of research!! Alys 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍 🙂

  14. Scary to have a snake in the house, that’s a lot of snakes variety. I didn’t know that their ear is inside. It would be cool to see a snake disconnect it’s has and eats a whole animal

    • Yes, snakes are pretty amazing animals, Brian. I didn’t realise that they don’t hear in the way we do. They ‘hear’ or rather feel vibrations which is why teachers sometimes tell students to stamp their feet as they walk through the woods. Alys 🙂

  15. I got goose bumps when reading your poem having a snake in the house, no thanks.
    I didnt know that there was so many speices of snakes, it was great to hear you explain their habitat.

    • Poor you. I’m sorry the poem gave you goose bumps, Xavier! We had a brown snake in our garden this summer. Our neighbours called the snake catcher to safely move it to another place. Luckily none in the house 🙂 Alys

  16. Hi Alys,
    I liked this poem even though I don’t like snakes. I have learnt lots of facts about snakes from this poem. Once we had a baby snake in our house and we caught that snake. I certainly learned a lot. This poem actually told facts that I didn’t know.


    • Thank you Japleen. It’s good to know that you learned something new and WOW – you had a snake in your house?? We had a snake in our garden this summer, and our neighbours called a snake catcher to take it somewhere where it could live in peace. 🙂 Alys

    • I’m not sure the exact number, Vinuk, but I have read that there are over 3,400…That’s a lot! Alys 🙂

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