some of the reasons why people come to Australia and think everything is trying to kill them
September 29, 2010
A couple of things about this picture: this is an orb-weaver spider in Mossman Gorge, in the Daintree National Park. Beautiful, isn’t it? Second thing: this is using the zoomiest setting possible on my camera and the web is actually in the canopy, about 15 or so feet off the ground. I leave the actual size of the spider as a mathematical exercise for the reader.
A little story: I got to Cairns in the evening, just in time to see/hear all the rainbow lorikeets flying to their roosts. It was lovely and tropical and I enjoyed the event very much. About a half hour later, after the sun had set and the sky got that beautiful sapphire blue color, I noticed something else in the sky, great flocks of something else swarming over me. It was like that scene in Fellowship of the Rings with Saruman’s crows. Except I looked again, and they weren’t crows. No. They were bats, mucking huge bats with big slow-moving leathery wings, and there were hundreds and hundreds of them flying in the same direction, west, toward the jungle. It was creepy.
I couple of days later I was walking around town and I discovered where the mucking huge bats — actually spectacled flying foxes — spend their days. See all those dangling black thingies? Yeah. (And because I couldn’t resist, here’s an insanely cute picture of bats at a bat rescue. See, they’re not scary monsters, they’re just. . .MUCKING HUGE BATS!)
And let’s not even mention this:
I haven’t even talked about box jellyfish, blue ringed octopi, cassowaries (giant birds with armored heads that want to kill you), the fact that kangaroos can beat you up. . .
The local guides get very amused by this whole “everything in Australia is poisonous” meme. They’ll try to reassure you and say that really, the critters here aren’t that dangerous, and that people rarely encounter anything that will truly hurt them. And then they’ll say, “But you really do need to watch out for the box jellyfish, they’re nasty. And you really do need to keep your hands in the boat on the crocodile river tour. No, really, you do. . .”