Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I think my country is trying to kill me...

Okay, now I'm really starting to get a complex.

I've always known that Australia was a dangerous place to live.  This place just seems to be jam packed with beasties that want nothing more than to cut a bitch.  We've got crocodiles, sharks, dingoes ... and don't even get me started on koalas ... any of which would cheerfully end you as soon as look at you.  And possums!  Those little buggers are vicious, don't let their furry little faces fool you.

We've got eight of the ten most poisonous snakes in the world.  Eight out of ten!  And the spiders!  Seriously, just the idea of being bitten by a funnel web is enough to scare the bejezus out of me.

And don't even get me started on our oceans.  We've got box jellyfish which can kill you from the pain of their sting alone, blue ringed octopus which is only the size of a golf ball but is the most poisonous sea creature in the world, the stone fish which looks like a freaking stone so you don't even notice it until you've already stood on it and then bam, too late, and of course the old classic, the shark.

It's kind of a miracle that any of us make it into adulthood!

Sorry, I know I'm ranting.  It's just that my next door neighbour told me today that he saw a brown snake in our shared front yard.

The second most poisonous land snake in the world ... in my front yard ... where I walk every day to get to my car.

Welp, I guess I'm never leaving the house again.

I'm probably overreacting.  It's entirely possible it was a less poisonous snake and my neighbour was just mistaken, and even if he wasn't the snake apparently went into the next door's yard as he watched so maybe it was just "passing through".  Still, I guess I'll have to make sure I'm a little more careful from now on.

Good thing I spend practically no time outside.

I suppose I should be used to it by now, this is Australia after all.  Living here, you kind of learn to just accept the sheer dangerousness of everything around you as a given.  You kind of just accept that from time to time you'll be sharing your yard (if you're lucky) or your house (if you're unlucky) with something that can kill you.

I remember reading a great article written by Douglas Adams where he describes Australia and it's many dangers (and talks about how nice we are ... aw shucks, Doug, t'wern't nothin').  He goes on and on about the deadliness of our animals, the importance of checking inside one's shoes for trespassers, and the usefulness of a big stick.  The whole thing pretty much sums us up as a nation.

Go have a read of it, it's well worth the giggle.

As for the snake ... if he does come back I expect the possums will take care of him.  Like I said, those buggers are terrifying!

79 comments:

  1. I think you'll soon be able to add "hit man" (sent by the Australian Department of Tourism) to the list of dangerous things trying to kill you. Watch your 6. ;)

    S

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    1. LOL! Oops, you're right of course. I should probably have finished up with some sort of disclaimer about how Australia is really full of fluffy, cuddly little animals that all just want to hug and lick you to death.

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  2. I'm surprised the Australian Tourist Board hasn't snapped you up!

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  3. We have poisonous gas in our house, but it's of the human variety, so there's no getting away from it.

    Your country sounds awesome. Danger makes people more interesting, right?

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    1. LOL! Every day's an adventure, that's for sure. I remember going on holidays once and when we got to the house it was full of Redback Spiders. We had to go around finding and killing each and every one before any of us felt comfortable staying there.

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    2. You stayed there?!?!?! Oh, hell to the no. I would have turned around and went screaming into the night. Wait. No I wouldn't. I'd be petrified of the other 7 animals that could kill me. We have opposums all over our yard all summer, and while they are hideous creatures, they are nothing compared to baby-eating dingoes. Can't say I've heard of anything eating babies here in the American mid-west.
      Looks like I'm going to have to wait until I am really old and ready to die before I visit Australia. Then I won't be scared to sleep.
      Stay safe!

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    3. What can I say, we REALLY wanted our beach holiday, and the only other option was to pack up again and go home. It wasn't too bad though, we practically smoked the place out with bug spray, then armed ourselves with thongs to take care of the rest.

      Oh, and thongs, for you Americans out there, are flip flops. NOT g-strings!

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  4. Hello Kellie:
    We have always thought that one needed to be a fearless,courageous, brave, intrepid pioneer to go to Australia.......hence we never have!

    Who needs thrillers when the everyday life is just as chilling. We are full of admiration for you and do suggest that the big stick is carried at all times....even when asleep!!!

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    1. Well, I suppose there's a reason that they originally only sent convicts here. It's beautiful, but stupidly dangerous.

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  5. and I understand kangaroos have a nasty kick and painful punch! I think you need several sizes of big sticks!

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    1. They do, especially if you put a pair of boxing gloves and those funny shorts on them!

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    1. I was pretty thrown. We've had them in the yard before, but it's been a couple of years. Of course, there could be a whole boatload of them out there and I guess I wouldn't know about it until I saw one. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

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  7. That's horrific. We just have black widows around here, which aren't much fun either. The other day one was on the wall and it was following my wife. Like, she stepped to the left, and it moved to the left. She moved to the right, it moved to the right. It was following her. I think it wanted to assassinate her. Thankfully, I assassinated it with a flip flop. War is hell.

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    1. That's scary! We might have dangerous beasties, but to my knowledge none of them have ever stalked me ... although I wouldn't put it past the possums.

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  8. Sorry about snakes, they scare the shit out of me.
    On lighter note, ask Australian government to reform their immigration policy. Try to get some Asians as your neighbours where snake cuisine is highly celebrated? Problem solved.
    No Indians, they worship snake, they could build a temple near your house and welcome more snakes.

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    1. LOL! I'm not sure if our snakes care much about being worshipped, they're more of the "Sssssss, lets eat some more mice, ssssss, I think I'll slither around and scare that person over there minding her own business" types.

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  9. Damn it... I've always dreamed of visiting your land. Now I will have to do so in a hazmat suit wrapped in bubble wrap.

    Be safe out there!

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. You'll be fine, just remember to bring a big stick :D

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  10. Yuck, I can't stand snakes. I don't hate them quite as much as spiders, but yuck! We found a small (baby?) brown snake hiding under a rock outside this year. yuck! Stay safe and don't forget to check your shoes!!! :)

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    1. I think baby snakes are one of the only baby animals I don't get all "aww" over.

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  11. I have a friend who is in the process of moving back to Australia - I will show her this post to remind her why she should stay here! Keep safe and as Douglas Adam says 'don't stick your hand down a hole - for any reason!'

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    1. Excellent plan! I'm the very definition of a cautionary tale.

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  12. Girl, that picture scared me so bad, I had to stick a post-it note over it so I could read your blog post. I wouldn't go outside either!

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    1. LOL! I'm considering trying to work out how to park my car in the lounge room.

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  13. Wowza, me thinks I'm glad I live in Cornwall. The scariest thing we have is the beast of Bodmin Moor. Another myth or legend? Maybe, maybe not. Keep safe.

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    1. We have bunyips, which I'm pretty sure are just koalas on steroids.

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  14. When I visited Australia I read a travel book that said something about how Australia is home to like 8 out of the 10 most deadliest creatures in the world and I too wondered how you kept your population going. And don't you have spiders that will actually hunt you down and chase you?

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    1. We do seem rather greedy when it comes to taking our share of the deadly animals.

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  15. Kellie - this is a very appropriated post being since it's two days away from Halloween here! When I see snakes at the zoo, the long and mellow type are always the poisonous kind! yikes!

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    1. That's how I prefer my snakes ... behind shatter proof glass!

      Well, either that or dead and stuffed.

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  16. Oh Kellie - (chuckle)- beautifully written. Well, you'd never survive at my place (I barely do) and I'm used to the "browns", freaking everywhere. And the white-tail spiders now they are the ones worth worrying about. Forget the redbacks and the trapdoors etc...these little buggers free range, haven't even the decency to build a web and stay there. No, they prefer your shoes, towels, anything left on the floor, hell even your favourite chair. Oh yes, in these here parts one's life span is less I'm sure, simply due to the adrenaline induced stress. :)

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    1. I only live five minutes from the city centre, so it always astounds me how much wildlife we have. I expect you're right, I'd perish pretty quickly in the real bush.

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  17. I must be a hardened country gal as well. We've already had a few 'visitors' this summer and have enough possums and brush turkeys to fill a zoo! A wolf-spider gave us an up an close visit the other week too (do you know how hard they are to kill?). The snakes are more scared of you than you are of them - at least you know you won't have any mice problems!

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    1. I had a whole extended family of brush turkeys in my yard this morning. It was like watching a British comedy, the way they strut around and get in each other's way. I do love the babies though, little adorable balls of fluff!

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  18. I guess it's a good thing that animals find humans so bad-tasting that no animal habitually preys on humans. Sharks are often known to take a bite and spit it out. Small comfort for the bitten.

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    1. I don't even want to know what our life expectancy would become if the animals here actually WANTED to eat us! I'm guessing the place would be a wasteland.

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  19. I once ran into a baby possum and it was probably one of my more conflicted moments with the animal kingdom. It was little and had big eyes and by all accounts should have been cute, but it was a POSSUM! We stared each other down and then I snapped that it better tell the others that I'm on to their plot to attack and brutally murder my dog (because I'd seen them all eyeing him with mischief in their eyes), and then it ran off.

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    1. The possums around my place are enormous, even the babies are quite the bruisers. I swear, I half expect to see them pull out a flick knife and start threatening me when I come across them in the yard.

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  20. Kellie, have you read 'Down Under' by Bill Bryson? I recommend it highly - it's fabulous to read about the country you love through the eyes of a tourist, especially one who also loves Australia. It's a travel book but it's truly hilarious. The author can't stop obsessing about how dangerous Australia is :) It makes you feel terribly brave for just living here! :)

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    1. I think I have read it, many moons ago, but I know my Dad has a copy so maybe I should borrow it and have a reread!

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  21. Well unless you have a large rodent population it would have been passing through. It is snake migration season. And if you do see it again, the best thing to do is just stand still. Be still and you are invisible, it will just go on its way.
    That said if you are standing under a tree - check for drop bears first!

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    1. Ooh, drop bears! Those buggers are vicious. They make a great white look like a cuddly little puppy!

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  22. Sheesh, I had no idea how dangerous Australia is! You should move to Michigan...I think we only have one or two really poisonous spiders and that's about it. In the meantime, you should get yourself a mongoose. Did you ever see Ricki Ticki Tavi???

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    1. I'll have to look into the mongoose option ... I wonder how it would get along with a spoilt tabby.

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  23. Yep, it's official, Australia hates humanity and wants it dead. It's like a real-life game of Pitfall. Power up and stay alive.

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    1. LOL! It's why we're so far away from everyone else. The chances of all those killer critters making it across the ocean is slim ... possible, but slim.

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  24. I'm thinking the Bubble Boy had the right idea all along.

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    1. Now there's a thought ... it might be hard to drive if I'm wearing a bubble though.

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  25. I don't mind the sharks, snakes, jellyfish etc. But I think the big spiders will give me a heart attack!

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    1. We do grow them big, but funnily enough the big ones aren't that poisonous.

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  26. When I was growing up I so desperately wanted to travel to Australia it was nearly an obsession most likely caused by Crocodile Dundee which as far as I could tell was a very accurate portrayal of all things Down Under. Thankfully, I've never had the extra money to travel because I am fairly certain I would have been killed by one or all of your fauna. I have even gone so far as to forbid my children from going there. Go to North Korea, Iran or heck even the deepest part of the Congo but stay away from Australia and don't let their whole "throw another shrimp on the barbie" fool you!

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    1. LOL! As much as it pains me to admit, if you want to see a movie that's fairly accurate representation of Aussies and Australia, watch The Castle. It's a lot closer to the truth than most of us are entirely comfortable with.

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  27. Spiders are made of nightmares. Poisonous ones, SHEER TERROR.

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    1. Very true. I think they did a study of it and they're made of 86% nightmares, 11% pain and 3% goo.

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  28. I would not know what to do if I saw poisonous snakes in my front yard. I'm already skivved enough about the banana slugs that seem to come up with the first rain of the season. They are GROSS!

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    1. Ugh, I hate slugs. Even more since I saw a thing on TV the other day about people dying of some awful disease they'd picked up from handling something a slug had crawled over. See!!! Even our slugs are deadly!!!

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  29. I live in Texas which also ranks up there in terms of potentially deadly creepy-crawlies. In addition to all the flippin' feral hogs that are, literally, everywhere, we now have rattlesnakes that don't rattle. Because, why not?

    Speaking of which: I completely feel you on the whole snake thing. My next door neighbor had a cottonmouth swimming in her fountain a couple of weeks ago and had to call the wildlife peeps to get it relocated. And two of my mother's dogs were bitten by copperheads a couple of years ago. All this (in addition to the non-snake-y creepiness, like the armadillo that was digging up my garden last fall (the only animal on the planet besides humans that carry leprosy, btw), the bobcat hanging out in my front yard and the pack of coyotes that killed my neighbor's cat) leads people to believe that I live in the middle of nowhere, Texas. Which is kind of funny since my house is in the middle of metropolitan Dallas. I was even bitten by a brown recluse in recent memory. Which: not fun.

    All this makes me want to relocate to someplace cold, like the Canadian tundra. Except what that place lacks in snakes and spiders, I am sure it makes up for in Polar Bears, lack of daylight and possibly vampires. Sigh…it is always something, isn’t it?

    And possums are just plain creepy. We had one that liked to sit on our fence with all of her babies on her back this past summer. Completely freaked the dogs out (and us, by extension) every night at approximately 2 AM. Not the prettiest animal on the planet, by any means. Especially in the dark. {Shutter}

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    1. I live about five minutes from the city centre, which is the capital city of my state, so I get you on how weird it is to be overrun with wildlife in a place that should, by all rights, be completely urban. I keep looking around at the menagerie in my yard and asking them "What are you lot doing here! This is only two streets away from the Central Business District, for gods sake!"

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  30. You are a recent follower of mine & I wasn't familiar with you, so I clicked on your name, went to your post & discovered a delightfully funny lady--whom I now follow!

    I live in Los Angeles, where there are no natural predators--if you don't count people & cars!!

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    1. Welcome! I hope you enjoy my ramblings!

      And I'd totally count cars as natural predators, as would anyone who's tried to cross at a diagonal crossing during peak hours :D

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  31. Oh Kelly we have so much fun at Halloween here. You guys should do it. It is easy; make costumes, buy candy and give it away. easy. hahahaha.

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    1. LOL! I am seriously considering getting a pumpkin on the way home tonight and carving it, just for the fun of it. Of course, that's provided I can find a proper carving pumpkin. I'm not going to try a Queensland Blue, those buggers are as hard as rocks!

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    2. I think I need to get myself a pumpkin. It's carving time!!!

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  32. Oh my, I have always thought how scary would be to live there (in Auatralia) while I can't stand a few little ant invading my kitchen. I guess I'm lucky.

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    1. It's certainly an adventure. Beautiful one day, deadly the next :D

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  33. yikes!!! my wife would NEVER leave the house... take care, slu

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    1. I'm considering that as an option. You can get groceries delivered these days, so I should be just fine!

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  34. We have many of the same things. Hubby was bitten by a spider several years ago and had to have surgery. Don't even get me started on possums.

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  35. Yes it is true that those possums are not the cute and cuddly creatures they make you think they are.

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    1. They're evil! I'm pretty sure I saw one under the house the other day give me a "come at me" gesture!

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  36. I'd be moving for sure if I got that report about the snake!! You guys do have a lot of deadlies there; makes me think Australia won't be on my travel plans any time soon (that and the long airplane ride to get there :)

    Where I used to live before we moved here, we had a nonpoisonous snake that would show up a few times in the backyard especially when there were baby quail. I learned to really look outside before I went out or sent Koda out. Two doors up the neighbor, who happened to do daycare, had a rattlesnake in her yard. It was only by the grace of God that she heard it rattling out there when the kids were playing out in the backyard; it was under a bush by their barbeque. She got the kids inside but the dog didn't want to come inside; it was protecting its property and people. Interestingly and this is when I truly believe God was sending her a message that she obviously wasn't picking up on, the whole morning before they went outside to play one of the roadrunners that were also in the neighborhood (mind you this was a neighborhood not out in the country or woods but in the middle of a busy city) kept bumping against her window making a loud noise. Roadrunnners can be around where there are snakes, they'll hunt them. I think the roadrunner was sent by God to get her attention. Thankfully no one got bit. The fire department came and got the snake and moved it to a safer area (they are endangered species you can't kill them).

    Do be safe out there!

    betty

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    1. It's the same here. If it's a native, you can't hurt it.

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  37. Gosh I don't think realized it was that dangerous in the land Down Under, till now. The snakes alone is enough for me to say, nope- we're moving outta here! Enjoyed reading, except about the snakes. :)

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    1. Well, all the wildlife might be deadly, but it is rather pretty. I guess that's what brings the tourists in!

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  38. oooh, we do love little possums and coons, but what about Tasmanian Devils... those pesky villains...

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  39. All those exotic animals/creatures and possums!! I don't know which would creep me out more! Be safe!

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