I meet a lot of Americans who would like to visit Australia. The reasons they say they won’t be are usually one of the below:
1. “I couldn’t do that flight!” (Dude, if you don’t have kids just drug yourself for it. Like I used to be able to do *sigh*)
2. “It’s expensive” (yes, it is, especially compared to Tennessee)
3. “Spiders and snakes!”
And I just don’t get reason number 3.
Someone told me that Americans view Australians as “brave” for living among all those nasty, venomous creepy crawlies. As though we are flicking them off like flies or something.
I lived in Sydney. There is a particularly dangerous spider named the Sydney Funnel Web. You can guess where this is going. Or can you?
I’ve never seen one. Never ever.
OK, maybe they don’t particularly favor my non-leafy, not-so-affluent home suburb in south west Sydney. But I used to do a lot of hiking in areas they would like. Being one of those brave Australians and all.
I used to regularly see snakes when I went walking along the roads near my parent’s place in country NSW. Eastern Brown snakes mostly. You know, one of the most venomous snakes in the world.
Know what they would do when they saw me? Slither off.
I do not feel a great deal of fear for these creatures. They all seem to possess a quality I appreciate in creepy creatures – none of them want to know me.
Ticks totally want to know me.
And I think that’s why the fear of Australian spiders and snakes mystifies me – I am more fearful of the revolting ticks that want my blood which inhabit the forest around this part of the US, and carry Lyme Disease, than I am of dangerous creatures that avoid me if they can. I’d never seen one before I got here, although I know they are in Australia as well. I’m more scared of things that are actually after me (and are gross). Why be so scared of something that wants to get away from you given the opportunity?
I submit the following pic, taken by an amused friend after we’d finished hiking the Bobbin Head Trail in Ku-ring-gai National Park, and I spotted a leech on my shoe. Much swearing ensued. She had to dispose of it for me. I’m sure Freethinkers Anonymous would appreciate this pic in particular.
Just another revolting creature that wants to spend some time with me.
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Snakes and spiders I am not concerned with. They are here, they are there…not much difference. It is the big things that see us as a menu item that I get nervous about.
The price is the only thing that holds me back from a trip Down Under. In fact my wife knows that if we ever become fabulously wealthy I’ll be jetting off to Australia and many other destinations as soon as I can.
It’s not that I want to get away from her–in fact I’d be thrilled if she came along, but someone has to stay home and take care of the dogs and she’s not big on travel anyway, but that’s another story.
I’ve faced down some dangerous fauna myself. Aside from leeches I’ve also dealt with ticks in very uncomfortable places and nearly stepped on poisonous snakes.
Actually Australia is probably the least dangerous place on my travel wish-list.
I reckon Africa would be more lethal than either Aus or USA in terms of wildlife.
Don’t you know that everything Americans know about Australia was learned either from watching Crocodile Dundee (the first one, not the deplorable second one) or eating at an Outback Steakhouse?
What’s with you and Chris lately? Ticks and leeches. I’ll face down an Anaconda from down unda before those creepy crawlers any day.
About six years ago my wife contracted Lyme’s Disease from a tick bite she got when we were camping in the mountains of Virginia. She went undiagnosed for weeks but was extremely ill. She had been to her regular doctor as well as an emergency room visit without any resolution when WebMD came to the rescue. Doesn’t sound plausible but I swear it is. I saw online that one of the signs was a bulls eye type red ring and sure enough she had one on her back and between her toes on one foot. Her doctor was still skeptical but we insisted she do the test and sure enough it came back positive. Unfortunately there is no cure for it but it can be managed. Luckily she responded well to the initial round of treatment and it has not been a major issue since.
Arionis this is possibly going to break your heart, but……the bloomin’ onion is not Australian, even a tiny bit.
I am terrified of Lyme’s disease. We don’t have it in Australia but apparently people have started to get something similar after being bitten by a tick. Apparently there was a vaccine for it years ago that fell out of favor when people started to become paranoid about possible side effects of vaccines after Wakefield’s dodginess.
I also heard that nobody over there drinks Fosters Beer? All my illusions are being shattered!
I don’t drink beer but that is what I have heard. I think Tooheys is the one most like?
You forgot mosquitoes. West Nile, Zika, dengue…mmmm mosquitos: the most dangerous critter on Earth. But there are mosquitoes in Australia too, I just don’t know which diseases those skeeters carry 🙂
Also, on the West Coast the ticks carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Also not fun, though I know more people who’ve gotten Lyme disease. Nasty business years later.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever sounds….unpleasant. And possibly spotty. Yuck! I don’t know if Zika has reached Australia but I think dengue is there, and something called Ross River Fever. Mosquitoes love me too 🙁