I had this picture send to me by a mate the other day. I think it is very funny but it does play on the stereotype of the dangers of Australia just a wee tad, though the recent spate of shark attacks might suggest it is pretty close to the mark. However, to put it in perspective we have only ever had one, no wait, make that two backpacker killers. And the ‘giant’ spiders they refer to are probably wolf spiders, so called because they eat wolves. Just kidding, we don’t have wolves in Australia, well not officially anyway. 🙂 The surprising number of things here named after wolves might lead you to think otherwise but don’t believe everything you read (or most of what I write :-)). Anyway, wolf spiders are really only about the size of your hand, with a body about 2.5cm long, and they don’t kill you, they can just cause a little thing we call ‘creeping necropsy’ if they bite you. All this means is that the flesh dies back from the wound, and up along the nerve if they happen to have hit one, nothing major. So to put giant spiders on this is really being disingenuous, the ones that will kill you are only tiny.
And our mosquitoes are no more dangerous than any others. In fact, ours only cause Ross River and Barmah Forest Virus and the worst of that is over in eight weeks. And as for the killer koalas and sharks with lasers, clearly nonsense. I also take issue with the giant rats in the north of Western Australia and the jellyfish on the south coast of Western Australia. The rats live further down south and are only a real danger if you ever have to lie down in a state of semi-consciousness, like to sleep for instance. 🙂 And the jellyfish live off the coast of Queensland and are of no danger to swimmers at all…as long as you swim somewhere else.
And, for the sake of completeness, they haven’t mentioned blue-ringed octopus and stonefish either. One could gather from these links that a prudent strategy might be to stay the hell away from the Great Barrrier Reef. I really wouldn’t bother, these things are found all over the place. If you are going to killed by one it may as well be in a beautiful place. 🙂
All this reminds me of a little story I have been meaning to tell. I was out riding my bike the other day and something hit me on the back of the head. It felt like a football or something except that it had attached itself to my helmet and was flapping madly. Turns out that I had ridden through a magpie nesting area and one of the males was attacking me to drive me off. We call it ‘being swooped by a maggie‘ in Australia. And when they hit, they hit hard. People can occasionally lose eyes, because our first instinct is to turn to face an attacker I guess, and I have had my cheek gashed by one recently as well as, on the biking occasion, holes punched into my helmet by their beaks. So even our damn birds are dangerous, a bit more so to 10 – 30 year old males riding bikes apparently (read the article! 🙂 ).
Having said all this though, I will take the many natural dangers that Australia has to offer over the dangers of walking through the wrong parts of Glasgow wearing the wrong coloured tracksuit! 🙂