Jul 05

Australia: It’s a Tough Place

by in Australia

In his book, In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson writes, It has more things that can 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, where seashells will not just sting you, but actually sometimes go for you  If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback.  This is a tough place.

With Bryson’s insight fully embedded in our psyche, we felt it our responsibility as parents to try to understand these creatures before heading out in the outback in a campervan and sailing the Whitsundays with two children in tow.  Children, I might remind you, who’ve grown up in Hawaii where there are no snakes and the only critters to be feared are centipedes and wild pigs.  

Sydney’s aquarium, the Widllife World and the Taronga Zoo brought us up close and personal.  We saw the critters that kill and maim , got lost in the Wombat caves, got personal with koalas and kangaroos (tho no cuddling yet…we hope to do that later), and even managed to get swarmed by butterflies.  What’s disconcerting, though, were all the deadly, toxic  mysteries we didn’t see.  Try as we might, we simply couldn’t spot that blue ringed octopus in the small tank he calls home.  If we can’t find him in there, how the heck are we ever supposed to save ourselves on the Great Barrier Reef?

Oh, and yes…there did seem to be a Nickelodeon invasion at the Aquarium, and yes, Wart, that’s Patrick hiding behind the shark!179249126

Leave a Reply