Thursday 5 June 2008

NO, I don't wear Khaki

A lot of people seem to think we Aussies are always outdoors wrestling crocodiles, stepping on deadly spiders or wearing snakes as some kind of adornment just because of the popularity of Steve Irwin and Paul Hogan before him.

Today I had an email from a friend in the US who is about to visit Australia for the first time. She was asking about our 'deadly creatures' because she has heard all sorts of stories and is now a little concerned.

While we Australians love the outdoors, we don't all wear khaki or carry huge knives just in case we stumble upon a deadly creature.

It is true, the Land Down Under is home to many of Earth’s most venomous creatures, such as the inland taipan, whose venom is 50 times more toxic than that of the king cobras and the box jellyfish where death can occur within three minutes of being stung.

However, strangely enough, many Australians are unaware that they are sharing their backyard with extremely venomous animals. While the animals in this country may be much more deadly than anywhere else in the world, they are treated with the same amount of thought and respect that others may give to water moccasins or the black widow. Their presence is accepted and we all know not to 'mess with the wildlife". A philosophy which has been reinforced since the death of Steve Irwin.

Personally, I am more scared of a mouse than I am of a spider, snake or jelly fish.

While I prefer house trained animals, I, like many people, have had the frequent run ins with the world's most deadly animal. In fact, it's the No 1 killer animal in the world. And, it is one which may surprise you.

No, I didn't get up close and personal with a Bear (then again....) even though bears kill up to 10 people across the world each year

Or Sharks that kill 100 people a year

Or box jellyfish that kill 120 people a year

Or hippopotami that easily outpace humans on land and kill 150 people a year

Or elephants which kill up to 500 people a year

Or big cats which kill around 800 people a year

Or crocodiles which kill around 850 people a year

Or scorpions which paralyse their prey and cause 2,000 fatalities a year

Or snakes which cause up to 125,000 deaths a year

No, it is the animal

which kills up to 3 million people a year by spreading deadly diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever.

It is

the mosquito

See, you have nothing really to fear in visiting Australia after all. So, come on down!

Mozzies are everywhere and we don't do cats, bears, elephants or hoppopotami. You just have to be careful of Kev the Crocodile who lives in the bathtub.....and Cecile the Snake who likes to curl up in the first bed she can find each night....other than that, it's all good! Fair Dinkum!


  1. Lol. Loved the breakdown of deaths per animal. Nature is nature ~ Live and let live. And don't get in the way of something that won't let you live.

    If it's not animals, nature finds another way with being deadly such as Katrina, earthquakes and the like.

    Wish I could visit my poet friends in Australia. From the pictures I've seen, there are some incredible landscapes!

  2. Aleta - hopefully some day you will get to take a trip down here and catch up with your friends. And you are right nature is a powerful force in amany ways. Appreciate you stopping by.

  3. Too funny! I do have my own mental picture of Australia..the outback.. kangaroos...koala bears...dust, and yes even the landscape in khaki..Glad to know you don't wear them though..great blog!

  4. Distressing Delilah - I have lived in other countries and yes, I have always had to explain that no, we do not have kangaroos hopping down the roadway. But then again, I guess they have used the whole notion of the 'great outback' as a marketing spin to get more tourists here. And no, khaki is really not my colour!

  5. Ha ha ha ..again very witty written post. And it is an eyeopener that not ALL ozzies wear khakis LOL! ;D

    I would love to see Australia too in the future...but I don't know yet where t go, it's so big.

  6. very creative - don't show her the you tube video come to Australia - if you might accidentally get killed

  7. I am somehow familiar with Australians for leading the world of cricket over the past few decades, if not more. And Erwin has won our heart since his first appearance in local Discovery Channel.

  8. Pinay Jade - oh you must visit Australia - you are so close - well an 8 hour plane trip away! Have to go Sydney, Oueensland, Melbourne, oh all over...

    Baby_amore - he he no, best not show her that! On second thought...

    Nilz - er not sure we are leading the way in cricket anymore, but yes cricket is a big deal here as it is in a few other countries too! Yes Steve Irwin was definitely and genuinely passionate about his work. I visited his Zoo a couple of times and he loved what he did and what you see on TV is the way he was all the time. Thanks for dropping by.

  9. Love it! I always love funny sarcasm. Every place in the world has venomous or "deadly" animals. Just go to the lake and you will chance running into a cotton mouth snake. Put on a pair of pants and you may find a small scorpion. Move a plant in your house and you might find a Brown Recluse. Or how about opening the lid to your pool drain and finding a nest of Black Widows? Yes, I have experienced or know someone who has experienced each of these.

    A couple weeks back, our neighbor was sitting on her back porch having a cup of coffee when she noticed a very large cat perched in a tree behind our fences. The longer she looked the more she began to realize it was a cougar! That was a little close to home! (keep your pets inside please :) And we’re only about 30 minutes from Dallas!

    I do think Steve Irwin has brought a lot of attention to Australia, but to me it's been a good thing. Even though some people may stereotype. That may get frustrating, I live in Texas I know all about stereotyping. arrggghhh!

    To be honest, I’m more afraid of the “animal” behind the wheel of a car that has had too much to drink, talking on their mobile or lost in their thoughts. That’s not to say that I’m not terrified of snakes. I just don’t come into contact with them daily as I’m sure is the case for most people.

    So I say to your friend, take your trip, have a blast and leave the worrying to those who have to deal with such creatures on a regular bases. We can’t live in fear right?!?!?!?

    And leave your khaki's at home. :))

  10. Christi - A cougar - now that would be something..its great to see you back - have you been away? I went to visit your blog a few times - to hear the music he he. You are right, it is funny how we perceive people and places. I always think of cowboys and oil when I think of Texans. Funny when I was in the States maybe about 10 years ago everyone in the US asked if I was from Texas - before I opened my mouth. I wondered what that meant exactly. And I agree, there are worse human animals around these days - especially in cars. Thanks for such a great comment and I will go visit you at your blog to catch up with whats been happening with you.

  11. very clever post. but i'm afraid the deadly mosquito doesn't scare me as much as my fellow man. for my money, humans -- some of them living an ocean away (no, not YOU!) -- are the deadliest threats to my existence...

  12. Hi again Lilly! Thanks for the wonderful comments on my blog! I do ship worldwide....Take care!

  13. Australia is one of the countries in my list of places I'd like to visit. My hubby has always liked the idea of visiting Australia ever since we married over 30 years ago! The name Australia sounds so romantic. Here I go again, talking about romanticisms instead of the main topic about scary animals and khakis! He, he, he. Sorry, but I just can't help it that I'm a hopeless and an incurable romantic. When I think of Australia, I see white and sandy beaches, koalas, kangaroos, Crocodile Dundee, Steve Erwin, and the Sydney Opera House. Good night and have a great weekend.

  14. Horatio salt - yes you are right - least when you see a cocodile or snake you know what you are dealing with - hard to determine what you are actually getting with a human (and glad you clarified that I was not a threat to your existence being the sensitive creature I am he he).I think we just need to be as careful when dealing with a humans as we are with any potentially dangerous animal...sad but true. I learnt a hard lesson to come to that realisation.

    Distressing Delilah - thanks I will try again it wouldnt let me make the purchase on the Etsy site because I lived outside the US. By the way anyone who reads this should check out the Distressing Delilah's art - its wonderful!!!

    Tascha - well I truly hope you do get to visit here one day - if you can stand long plane journeys because thats the worst of it. I love your romantic take on things - its says a lot of positive things about you truly! And you are right about your idea of what Australia is. We are also very relaxed and laid back as a rule (other than the same percentage of strange people that every country has) and love having vistors from other countries here. The Sydeny Harbour and the NSW/QLD coastlines are a personal favourite of mine but its so big its hard to see a lot unless you have weeks to spare. HAve a great weekend!

  15. Lilly - you know i got bitten by a red back spider, and what about the blue bottles that really sting at the beach, and a kangaroo ran in front of my car and caused heaps of damage both to the poor kangaroo and the car. As you say though other than that its all good plus we have the best looking men in the world here (even though we have our fair share of dodgy ones looking at your most recent psot) and the best beaches in the world and the most laid back people in the world and the biggest braggers in the world....

  16. What can I say? Except maybe that you're a freak, you know this, some people attract trouble...he he. Poor kangaroo and shame about your car. Well all countries have good and bad but we don't do badly here really. But I so do love Italy too, oh I like any country really. Home is home though. We absolutely have nothing to complain about and as for my latest post I am so glad we have way way more great police than bad and at least got these guys off the street and away from their computers. There are millions more out there though. Shame that they cannot find the children isn't it? That's the sad thing. Somewhere in Europe. Enjoy your weekend in the gorgeous sunshine! I myself am listening to Bob Dylan while about to exercise(!!), what a poet he is - no-one has ever come close and its been a long while since I listened - he has all the answers, its true. Ciao bella!!

  17. I thought for sure you were going to say the deadly animal was man!

    Hahaa , great post! I have Austr. pictured as very dry and desert like. Great for my hair, bad for my skin! Oh the delema!

  18. Hey Jules - no we have a bit of everything here - but on the whole good weather - where I live is really cld at the moment and where my daughter is is really hot. Winter here , go figure! Thanks for stopping by am adding you as a link as glad your back blogging again!

  19. wow! great post you have! I really enjoy reading this article.

  20. Thanks for dropping by Jean, please come by again.

  21. I cannot get over what a GREAT writer you are and how your mind works. Having lived years in OZ I laughed over this. You HAVE to write a book sometime. I mean, you REALLY have to. I think it would sell like hot cakes and you would be FABULOUS on talk shows.

    At first I thought you were going to say "HUMANS" as the deadliest creature you'd been next to. I forgot about the mossie (mozzies). But then, mossies, humans, what's the difference they both try to suck you dry!! LOL Just kidding!!

    As to khaki, never wore it in Oz, but then I never wore much of anything!!! :) BUT interestingly enough, now years later back in the USA I've taken to wearing those same type of khaki shorts (hiking) that Steve wore. They are surprisingly comfortable. Huge pockets for camera batteries, jackknife, etc.

    Thinking of you my good kind friend. Youse me best mate! And one hell of a classy lady.

  22. Hi Robin - thanks for stopping by. You are such a funny, warm person. I definitely will be meeting you for lunch when you do your book signing in OZ, ok??? Of course you wear Khaki - I knew it!!!! By the way, your blog and your writing is better than ever. It's so, so positive and ALWAYS makes me feel hapy when I visit there. Thanks for being my great mate in this bloggin world. I cannot wait to meet up on your book tour! How long before the book comes out do you think - next year??


Thanks for your comments.