Old is always fifteen years from now.

~ Bill Cosby ~

Home is Where the Fangs Are

February 22nd, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 0 secs

Fortunately, we don't have crocs at home.

Up on the top of Australia there are plenty of crocodiles. Big ones. You’d think it was weird feeling at home with man-eaters close by. But it’s just another fact of life in the Top End. Much like all the other dangerous creatures Australians see.

When it comes to Aussie crocs, freshies aren’t that bad. They’ll only bite your arm or leg off. It’s the salties you want to watch. They will happily bite you in two. Yet with so many dangerous critters to beware of, Australians are generally pretty cool about their deadly critters.

There are the great white sharks that come a calling in our waters now and then. Go swimming around home though and you’ll never see one. That’s because, like an attacking lion, if you did you’d be dead. So nobody ever bothers about them. There’s nothing you could do anyway.

We’ve got spiders too. Lots of them! The most venomous of all are the funnel web and the redback (like a black widow with a splash of red on it’s abdomen). We have both in our garden and one bite from either is painfully fatal.

When my youngest son bounded in to tell me that there was a big redback on the stairs near the letterbox, I did what most Aussie Dad’s do. I patted him on the shoulder and said, “Oh that’s not very good” and kept working. Later, when I remembered his words, I collected the mail, and there, on the stairs was the biggest redback spider I’d ever seen!

We have scorpions at home too and they like to come inside. But they only give you a sting. Much more dangerous are the tiger snakes that live round home. Tasmania has the biggest in the country, and they will kill. Actually, there are so many dangerous snakes in Australia I forget all their names. But you feel pretty much at home with them when they’re part of normal life.

Steve Irwin, sadly, was killed by a stingray. But the little blue ringed octopus my eldest son found near home is considered far more dangerous. Not to mention the tiny yet deadly irikunji jellyfish that’o hard to detect.

I don’t mean to paint a picture that our home in particular is surrounded by venomous beasties. Aside from Tasmania’s tiger, brown, and white-lipped snakes, we miss out on most of other types like the taipan, copperhead, seasnakes, and the secretive death adder. Along with stonefish, the deadly cone shell, ticks, and box jellyfish they have it all up North. All will kill of course. So I guess, where we live in our home down south, we’re kind of lucky. With a speck of common sense, you’ve got little to fear and a beautiful place to share. Just don’t leave home barefoot!


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