Adventuring Australia: Wild Australia

So, before Alex and I moved to Sydney, I thought I would do a little reading about this new land we were heading to. I’m a bit ashamed to say that I didn’t know much about Australia aside from things I’d see and hear on TV. Clearly some research was in order, so I started with Bill Bryson’s book In a Sunburned Country.  It made me realize how much I didn’t know about this place. For example, did you know that Australia is the only continent that is also a country? Or that 80% of the plants and animals that live in Australia don’t exist anywhere else on earth?

A fantastic read about a fascinating country

This book made me even more excited to explore Australia….right up until I got to this passage:

“(Australia) has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures – the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish – are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip.”

Wow. Ok. So, apparently Australia is out for blood – and I even omitted the part about the sharks and crocodiles! Alex patiently assured me that people have been living in Australia quite happily for a long time, so survival is possible. Plus, being the voice of reason that he is, he reminded me of the many deadly things that live in North America:

Ummm, hello? Remember me?

Anyway, so far Alex has been right – I have been surviving my ‘down under’ adventure. And as much as I don’t want to have an encounter with deadly spiders or octopi, it doesn’t mean I haven’t seen these creatures up-close…from the safety of the many zoos and aquariums here in Australia. So, rather than more pictures of koalas, kangaroos, and all things cuddly, I thought I’d show you the dark and deadly side of Australian wildlife – from the relative safety of the internet. Enjoy!

The Australian Funnel Web Spider. Arguably the most dangerous spider in the world.

These Lionfish are lovely – except for those venomous fin rays.

The Blue Ring Octopus – the electric blue ring markings on its body and tentacles light up when its ready to attack

I probably don’t need to explain the dangers of the crocodile to anybody – just check out those teeth!

SHARK!

The Inland Taipan Snake – The most venomous land snake in the world.

Oh, look at these beautiful shells….with their modified teeth that can be shot, harpoon-like, into their prey.

So, there you have just a sampling of some of the things in Australia that will cause you to have a very bad day….or worse. But hey, before you cancel your plans to come visit, remember that odds are good that you won’t run into any of these guys, except maybe at the zoo. Plus, and this is a big plus – you just might run into one of these guys instead!

Adorable and not poisonous!

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2 thoughts on “Adventuring Australia: Wild Australia

  1. I love the bear photo! I can’t even count the number of Aussies who have said that they would be scared of bears if they went to Canada…and some who said they would never go there because of the bears. Having spent the first 46 years of my life there, I can say it is easy to avoid them. In Ontario, I saw an occasional brown bear. In 10+ years in Alberta, spending a lot of time in the mountains, I saw maybe 10 black bears and 5 grizzlies (the dangerous ones)…and I spend entire weekends with my camera trying to find a bear! In my year here in Aus, I’ve met more people here in Aus who have encountered venomous snakes, and been bitten by venomous spiders, than I know of people who have had incidents with any type of dangerous animal in Canada (including bears, mountain lions, cougars, black widow spiders and rattle snakes). Maybe the issue is that the dangerous animals in North America seem more daunting because of their size…but I would rather see a bear coming at me than not see a red back…

    • I think you’re right about the North American animals, they are intimidating…plus, you have a better shot at squishing a poisonous spider than you do overpowering a full grown angry bear. As for me, I’m planning to try to stay out of the line of fire and visit these guys in the zoo not in the wild. 😉

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