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Wildlife adventure

March 10th, 2009

We may not have mutated beavers (jokes on this topic to CT, please!), but life in Australia is still interesting. I’ve never had a roo in the house, but I once had to remove a green tree snake which had come in through the window. And that reminds me of my favourite Australian tourist promotion.

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  1. Andrew T
    March 10th, 2009 at 08:58 | #1

    We overrate the Australian-ness of our venomous wildlife. Red-back spiders are from a invasive genus found on every continent and being spread further by man. People all over the world suffer bites with similar consequences.

    Blue-ringed octopuses occur from Sri Lanka to Japan. Box Jellyfish also sting people in SE Asia and probably further afield in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

    An explosive radiation in the last few million years has left us an array of formidably venomous snakes which we can claim as our own, that is if we forget the other countries this side of Wallace’s line – for example ignoring taipans with indonesian passports. Sadly even funnel-webs don’t quite respect our national borders.

  2. Alice
    March 10th, 2009 at 09:04 | #2

    I have been surprised by redbacks lately. They are everywhere. Look under your garden furniture folks, or at the back of the hose reel. Do you see a pile of leaves that looks like it has been blown accidentally by the wind into a loose web? Spray it and about a minute of two later (resilient little things) a redback or two will fall out dead. My husband didnt believe me but I took him on tour and pointed out the nests (right underneath us when we sit outside), sprayed them and sure enough. I confess to being a spider killer.

  3. paul walter
    March 10th, 2009 at 10:06 | #3

    The shark is bogus.
    They only leap like that off the coast of South Africa.
    Alice, an old superstition says it is unlucky to kill spiders. Modern theory proposes, rather, that we get to empathise with them as our “other” and cuddle up to them, ignoring the nips, nausea, etc as just the working through of a cultural injustice overwhelmingly perpetrated by us.
    Andrew, you would find a kangaroo like that in Jakarta?

  4. Alice
    March 10th, 2009 at 10:13 | #4


    I knew there had to be a reason this black dog follows me around! Its the manifest spirit of all those dead spiders seeking retribution but I am at the top of the food chain…well at least around here anyway. Ill just have to kill the black dog now.

  5. Andrew T
    March 10th, 2009 at 11:20 | #5

    Agile Wallaby I think is the biggest macropod in indonesia but Jakarta is north of wallace’s line where the fauna is feeble and generally unimpressive – king cobras, reticulated pythons, komodo dragons, tigers, rhinos,… I don’t know jakarta at all but I gather its a little bit more populous than canberra so the relict fauna might be limited – probably still the odd python, monkey or cobra to make the local tabloids happy.

  6. paul walter
    March 10th, 2009 at 15:13 | #6

    Andrew, its an intelligent comment. As I understand it the creature that does the most damage in those parts is the humble mosquito.
    “Hey, hey mama, said the way you move,
    gonna make you sweat,
    gonna make you groove”( Page guitar riff follows )

  7. March 10th, 2009 at 15:44 | #7

    That taipan looked more like a death adder to me

  8. JB
    March 10th, 2009 at 19:57 | #8

    FFS, if I don’t have to start swearing like the Ruddster!!! You forget that it is the duty of each and every Australian to scare the bejesus out of foreigners and tourists about the dangers of Australian wildlife!!!! It is our solemn duty, while travelling through Europe to warn them of the dangers of Drop Bears in the outback. Also, we are obligated to tell EVERY European that we saddle up the nearest kangaroo to hop to work!

    However, if you have seen a 5 metre crocodile scurrying down a mudbank into a Cape York creek, while you are barely 50 metres away, you realise there is some domestic wildlife that thinks they are the top of the foodchain!

  9. Alice
    March 10th, 2009 at 22:33 | #9

    Paul, good one. Led Zep’s black dog … she took his money and took his car, and started telling her friends she wanted to be a star.

  10. Jill Rush
    March 10th, 2009 at 22:43 | #10

    The killer platypus needs to be exposed. Thanks Prof Q for the warning.

    We do love to get hysterical over people who die thanks to an animal acting naturally but you have to admire the fight with the kangaroo in the suburban house. No doubt there will be a call for a cull of the kangaroos in the ACT.

  11. Ikonoclast
    March 11th, 2009 at 09:22 | #11

    Redbacks are wimps. We had a plague of them about 5 years ago. They hide in crevices and never bother you. Funnel web spiders are seriously frightening. Crocodiles and great whites ditto.

    Still, I’ve lived in Queensland most of my life and the most dangerous species by far is homo sapiens. They rush around in metal boxes on wheels killing each other at a great rate. They also trash the landscape and kill other species wholesale.

  12. David Irving (no relation)
    March 11th, 2009 at 13:50 | #12

    I had an amusing exchange with some friends yesterday about what the kangaroo was really doing in that bloke’s bedroom. We reckon he must’ve got drunk enough to think it looked pretty cute and then lured it home to look at his etchings.

  13. spangled drongo
    March 11th, 2009 at 15:18 | #13

    I just wish they wouldn’t promote the feral dingo as Australian.
    The cane toad probably does less harm.

  14. Alice
    March 12th, 2009 at 09:26 | #14

    10#Jill- I do actually admire that fellow being brave or adrenalin fuelled enough to headlock and drag that roo out through the front door! What brute strength. I would have bounded out of that house faster than the roo bounded in…

  15. paul walter
    March 12th, 2009 at 09:55 | #15

    Jill Rush:
    “The killer platypus needs to be exposed”.
    It differs from other platypii in both its size (well in excess of nine feet) and carnivorous habits. Last see stalking a certain merchant banker thru certain Canberra parliamentary precincts.
    But does it really need it to be “exposed”? Shouldn’t it remain zippered up out of deference to female sensibilities?

  16. Alice
    March 12th, 2009 at 10:48 | #16

    Lol is that the Ornithorhynchus anatinus killer Costellus you speak of Paul? Id rather not see it exposed (or its prey for that matter). However, I have heard that bright lights affect their mortality rate if that is any help to reduce night stalking killer tendencies.

  17. paul walter
    March 12th, 2009 at 11:35 | #17

    Alice, actually lesser silver tailed variety. Identified by banana-coloured stripe along dorsal line and curious odour when startled. Identified thru tendency toward consumption of steers, as you correctly observe.

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