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Dangerous Animals in Australia (and amongst us…)

One post from Scott Hanselman ( @shanselman ) regarding venomous creatures attracted my attention.

oregon-spider

This might look as scary spider, however from my experience here in Australia the most scary spiders are not the big ones but the small ones.
Just to give you an idea, have a look at the sequence of photos below. All these photos are from residential areas, I am not talking about going out the city and to the forest etc.

 

The Australian RedBack Spider

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we were preparing for a great Aussie tradition: BBQ. When my 3 year old daughter pointed me a 'spydie'. We could not see it at first, but after a closer look we did...it was an Australian Red Back spider.

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After a bit more of searching, we found another one, this time inside the kids plastic swimming pool. See how small they are:

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Let me tell you that we do not live in the outback. We live in a typical Australian family suburb. So for you who don't know it, yeah...they can show up pretty much anywhere. Of course, they favour quieter places.

Two important points to make from this experience:

  1. Despite being a small thing, that IS a dangerous spider. One of the most dangerous Down Under. If this spider bites you, you will be in a world of pain for more than 24 hours, but you won't die because antivenom for them are readily available.
  2. Since young age, Australian kids seems to be able to identify danger because of experiences like that. We do not kill these animals, the most we can do is let them pass or move them do a more distant place. After all they did not invade our homes, we did invade theirs.

 

The Brown Huntsman Spider

spider-brisbane-huntsman-aranhaAnother encounter was the day I was going to make myself a nice cup of coffee. I reached to the mug and I noticed a shadow going behind it. And there it was, an Australian Brown Huntsman spider. You can see its size compared to this 10cm tall coffee mug. It is a bigger spider, however it IS NOT a dangerous spider. As a matter of fact, this little creature helps your home to be clean of cockroaches, silverfish and small insects.
What I did:

  1. I called the kids. Gave her a name "mr. Huntsman" and explained to them the whole thing.
  2. after that, we moved the spider away and said we all said:"good bye mr. Huntsman"…you know, to make the whole experience more friendly to them instead of “OMG…a freaking deadly spider!!!” :-)

Great experience for everyone involved: me, wife, kids… ( well, not so much for wifey ) and to make them understand these animals are our friends.

 

Australian Sea Snake

DSC_1109The other day we and some friends went to Noosa, a very beautiful region from Australia with some stunning beaches. And then our kids found this playing around the rocks: a Sea Snake.

All the animal lovers around here, please excuse me but I had to capture this beautiful and exotic thing for a few minutes. So I run with the sand bucket and caught it to explain the kids what it was. It was great, I did not know what it was as well so I did some online search and we literally had a classroom in the wild with a whole bunch of highly excited kids making all kinds of questions: it is a boy or a girl? can she see? where she lives? can she hear us? Hellooo missy!!

This is a highly venomous snake, and can only live in the water. She is very shy so she will flee away at the closest encounter, only when she cannot swim away and there is no other alternative she will bite. And she bites, it is very unlikely the venom will be transferred. Despite that one thing I learned is that sea snakes must be handled with extreme caution. It was great, again for us adults and kids.

 

The Golden Orb Spider

DSC_0068This spider was one of the most scariest things I’ve seen here in Oz. It can grow very big and some of them can reportedly eat birds. However, it all comes down to education and exposure. I’ve seen so many of those here during summer that I don't worry about them anymore, yet I must say it is funny to see hordes of tourists taking photos of them as very exotic things.

 

 

Australian Brown Snake

This "cute" 1.8 meters Australian Brown Snake showed up in the beach of Surfers Paradise. She is the second most venomous land snake in the world.

australian-brown-snake-beach (4) australian-brown-snake-beach (1) australian-brown-snake-beach (2) australian-brown-snake-beach (3)

She is extremely aggressive and can pursue humans in a run. So if you see one of those, run! Of course on this day, she immediately became news and people all over the place came to see, instead of running away.

 

Australian Python Snake

This little girl showed up the other day during a warm summer day. She is very common python, around 2 meters long, called Coastal Carpet. Main thing is its bite is not venomous, however because of it's large fangs it will make a big laceration. The most common victims of the Coastal Carpet are possums, frogs, dogs, cats etc. This snake lives in suburban backyards, which is the thing that scares most people.

australian-python

And here’s another one, this time on a suburban street.

snake-australia-north-lakes

 

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