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Australian Critters

People in Australia like to reassure visitors about the harmlessness of the wildlife and landscape while at the same time warning of its dangers. It comes out as a strange mix, leaving you unsure whether you should be relaxing during your swim or fearing for your life. Variations I have heard:

“Don’t worry while you’re snorkeling/diving: reef sharks are mostly harmless.”

“Stingrays are like pancakes with tails: they won’t hurt you. Just…don’t get too close.”

“Go ahead and swim with the freshwater crocodiles. They don’t hurt people…at least, most of the time.”

“Spiders? Ah, spiders won’t hurt you! They don’t even bite. Well, except for that one. Oh, and (insert list). But otherwise, harmless.”

“Hold this snake! It might bite, but it doesn’t look venomous, so that’s okay.”

“Kangaroos won’t hurt you. Well, unless they kick you in the head. Then you’re pretty much dead.”

Oh, and did you know that koalas, despite appearances, aren’t exactly cute and cuddly creatures? They can actually get pretty nasty, which is why it’s more difficult than you might think to find a place that will let you hold them.

I will either leave Australia with a healthy respect for animals or with plenty of fodder for nightmares. Though seeing as how I have already gone swimming with reef sharks, stingrays and crocodiles, I think I’ll be okay. I even like holding snakes, though I do prefer reassurances that it won’t bite me, even in a non-lethal way. Spiders are where I draw the line. I’m fairly certain my arachnophobia is incurable, and I’ve no plans to change in that respect.

Never fear though, I'll leave you on a good note with the cutest Aussie critter I've seen yet:

Frog.jpg

Posted by Aussie Mel 05:36 Archived in Australia Tagged ecotourism

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