Australia Has More Things That Can Kill You Than Anywhere Else

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I once read that Australia has more things that can kill you than anywhere else.

For starters, the ten most poisonous snakes are found there.

In April, when I realized that we would have enough miles for two free flights to Australia, I figured my most difficult obstacle would be to convince Rob to go. He’s afraid of spiders and had told me a 1000 times that he wouldn’t go to Australia because he had heard how big and deadly his eight-legged friends are there.

Despite my constant, “Well, we wouldn’t be camping in the Outback!” rebuttal, he countered with the long-ass plane ride.

Imagine my surprise when I finally suggested it that his only concern was getting enough time off from work.

Truth be told, he wanted to see the native Australian wildlife as much as I did!

We got a taste wandering through the Royal Botantical Gardens in Sydney. Then, we watched a wallaby hop across the road in front of our van before a penguin parade. And feeding the kangaroos at the Ballarat Wildlife Park certainly was a highlight.

But the Wildlife Park had so much more! Some of these animals might even be dangerous in the wild…

So let’s begin.

Emu

This flightless bird {which is part of the Australian Coat of Arms, along with the kangaroo} can be dangerous if he feels threatened in the wild. They have strong legs {that can run up to 35 miles per hour} and sharp claws on their feet. But, at the Wildlife Park, they were just hanging around like the kangaroos, so we offered to feed them, too.

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The huge beak freaked me out because when I held out my hand with food, she came down with a swift, deliberate peck that looked like she would take my hand off. Fortunately, the beak was not sharp and I survived; but this is definitely not something I would do in the wild!

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Crocodile

Barb and Tony warned us how much bigger the crocs were in Australia as opposed to the alligators in the the American South. At first glance, I thought we had stepped back in time. I remember asking, “Are you sure that these aren’t dinosaurs? They look prehistoric!” Rob and I were in awe.

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These crocs were in the water in another room behind the glass. I found it strange that a tourist tugged on the door to this croc’s room. When he found it was locked, he said, “I wish we could go in there!”

Are you crazy!?

This female croc, Bella, was the smaller of the two.

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From the Ballarat Wildlife Park website:

FACT:  Did you know saltwater crocs have a jaw pressure of about 3500 pounds per square info for an average male? This is compared to 335 pounds per square inch for a Rottweiler and 400 pounds per inch for a great white shark.

Here’s a{n amateur} video of Bella, the smaller female croc. The first couple seconds of the video where her eyes and head slowly, stealthily rise from the water are frightful!

Then there’s the big boy. This is the one the crazy tourist wanted to get near…

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Echidna

I wasn’t familiar with the echinda until going to Australia. They are small egg-laying mammals with strong claws and hollow spines, sort of like a porcupine.

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Chances are that they won’t hurt you, as long as you leave them alone. We took a tour of the Great Ocean Road along the Southern Australian Coast later that week. The photographer on our tour spotted an echidna from the bus. Our driver slowly drove by so we could see it, but would not let us stop to get off. I think that was a smart move.

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Tasmanian Devil

My generation grew up with the crazy cartoon version of a Tasmanian Devil. The real thing looks nothing like it.

Aussies {pronounced ozzies} call them Tassie {pronounced tazzie} Devils. You know how they like to make everything sound cuter by adding an “ie,” right?! Do a Google Image search of Tasmanian Devils and you’ll see that they really are kind of cute. Well, until they show their teeth!

Per the Ballarat Wildlife Park website:

There is terrible facial disease that has whiped out 80-90% of Tasmanian devils. This is a facial cancer that can be passed from devil to devil through biting.

They are now endangered because of this. If I remember correctly the guide told us that there were something like only 1000 remaining? Don’t quote me on that. I couldn’t find anything to back that up. While the Tassie Devil isn’t exactly like it is portrayed in the cartoon version, they do display a similar temperament when they feel threatened, making a lot of noise and baring teeth.

But to me, this one just looked like he was wandering around aimlessly and nervously!

The guide in the photo below was feeding this little devil some mice while telling us all about them. See that bird in the photo? That’s a magpie. That was the bird with the unique sound Rob and I stopped to observe in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney. Yeah, the ones that were swooping down on us. We learned later that these can be nasty, ruthless little birds sometimes. Byclcists wear spikes on their helmets to keep the magpies away! During this presentation, the magpie took one of the mice right out the tongs as the guide was feeding the devil and flew off with it!

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The wildlife park also included exhibits with deadly snakes, none of which I cared to photograph. However, I think Rob was grossed out, but pleased that the spider below was not alive, but only a specimen. My hand is in the photo for size comparison!IMG_0918

While not all of these animals would necessarily attack you, they could still be dangerous in the wild. But it is all fascinating, no? And we won’t even get started on the sharks, box jellyfish and extreme desert heat that can also kill you in Australia.

Come back Monday to hear about the more cuddly-looking animals we saw at the wildlife park: the Koala and the Wombat!

Other posts on our Australia trip:

 

Cheers~
Carrie

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10 responses »

  1. That’s funny I’ve never known what a Tazmanian Devil looked like either! I have been enjoying your trip immensely – even when my husband was well I couldn’t convince him to get on a plane to go to Florida or Texas – he always wanted to drive because there was too much walking at O’Hare.

    Thanks for the link you left on my last post – I’ll check it out!

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