Posted by: travelrat | March 18, 2011

Glow Worms and Deadly Australians

Mt. Tamborine: 4th August 2010.

How old do you suppose these trees are?’ asked the ranger, as he led us along a path through the rain forest. We all guessed, and we were all woefully wrong. ‘Twelve years ago, all this was paddock!’ he announced. Which shows how easy it would be to reinstate the rain forest which has been lost all over the world, if only …

The ranger was what I’d call a Steve Irwin clone; khakis, infectious grin and a haircut that should get his barber arrested … but, above all, a great depth of knowledge of, and a bubbling enthusiasm for his subject. And, this particular subject was … glow worms!

In the middle of the forest was an artificial cave, and in that cave were glow worms. A seriously endangered species, we were told, and the aim was to encourage them to breed, and eventually re-introduce them into the wild. What they require is wet caves in rain forests, which conditions are rapidly being lost.

I have no pictures, unfortunately, for glow worms are very small. I was reminded of those old fibre optic lamps of the Seventies. And, they’re kept in almost total darkness; flash photography is streng verboten!

But, the ranger gave us fact after fact about glow worms, and concluded that ‘Their greatest advantage is that they can’t bite you!’

Which leads us neatly into our next port of call, the nearby ‘Deadly Australians’ exhibition.

Having read Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’, I feel that he did Australia a bit of a disservice. He gave the impression that, if the riptides don’t get you, and you don’t get lost in the desert, there’s deadly wildlife around every corner intent on causing you a lot of pain, if not actually terminating your contract.

 

So, let me say … I lived in Australia for four years, and I’ve since visited half a dozen times, but I can count the number of snakes I’ve seen in the wild without taking my socks off. Add to that one red-back spider, two sharks (one, a harmless wobbegong), one jellyfish and a little crocodile not much bigger than a goanna (although we were assured that Mum wasn’t far away!) Suddenly, Australia doesn’t seem quite a dangerous place.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t do any harm to see what such things look like, so, in the unlikely event you see one, you can take the appropriate steps … which, in most cases, are long, fast ones in the opposite direction!

The exhibition is a bit basic, just a few tanks and cages in a tin shed. But, they do the business all right, and I believe the creatures here are milked of their venom to make antivenin. My picture here is of a Fierce Snake, the most venomous snake in the world, and extremely bad news, for it’s one of the few that will attack without provocation. Fortunately, it’s rather rare! Here, I cheated a little; I actually took the picture at Australia Zoo the following week.

But, the other picture, I did take on the site. Before we left, I used the loo at the nearby pub … and the view from the veranda is one of the best from a pub that I’ve ever seen.

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Responses

  1. Hi Keith,
    Really enjoyed the read, very well written and I thought you explained everything beautifully. Glow worms are fascinating little creatures aren’t they, they don’t seem to be on par with any other animal, but magnificent to see in the caves.

    Very good photo of the snake, you caught him beautifully, and with his head facing the camera, well done.

    The mountain views are fantastic aren’t they, so peaceful, looks like a lovely place to sit down, relax, and talk about the day, and things to come.

    • Thanks: I wasn’t too impressed with the pictures I took at ‘Deadly Australians’ and rejected most of them. I think, probably, Australia Zoo show off their reptiles to better advantage.

      (Naturally, there’s a good, thick layer of glass between me and ‘Hissing Sid’ :D)

  2. I would have loved to have seen the glow worms. How magical. I’ve seen a few snakes but only out in the bush. I think the spiders are the main thing to look out for or the obnoxious locals on Friday night who’ve been doing tequila shots at the pub. I’d rather stare down a red-bellied black snake than a group of Aussie boozers!


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