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 find out 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. Chances are, though, that, unless you come across a really grumpy, gnarly saltwater crocodile, the creature will usually be more frightened of you than you are of it.
An exception is the Fierce Snake, the most venomous snake in the world, which is extremely bad news, for it’s one of the few that will attack without provocation. Fortunately, it’s rather rare, and has a rather limited range! I did see one on the late Steve Irwin’s Crocodile Hunter series … and I think that’s the only time I’ve seen concern on his face, for little Bindi got a little bit too close to it.
But, I got a picture of one … at Australia Zoo. I’m usually a bit reluctant to take photographs through glass, but in this case, the more glass they have between me and ‘Hissing Sid’ the better!
This week’s contribution to the Travel Theme. See more ferocity at https://wheresmybackpack.com/2016/09/23/travel-theme-fierce/