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What Is Wrong With Australia?

Sadie Quimby

Posted on October 3, 2020 23:16

4 users

Australian wildlife lies on the border between chaotic neutral and chaotic evil.

Here, I'm writing about their flora and fauna. I'm sure there are many things wrong with their government or social and economic issues, but as an ignorant person from the US, I'm largely unaware of their issues.

Have you heard of the Australian giant stinging tree? It's almost exactly what it sounds like. A tree which grows to a considerable height and its leaves are covered with what appears to be soft fuzz.

And if you are foolish enough to pet it, the little needles will go under your skin and cause waves of excruciating pain for hours, days, weeks: sometimes there's lingering pain for months. This seems so unnecessary, especially because this toxin doesn't seem to bother the animals which munch on the leaves. Maybe this tree just hates people.

There are also box jellyfish, which swim in warm waters near the coast, but many of them happen to be around the coasts of Australia. Their stings can be lethal. Not every species has a deadly sting, and even with those species medical treatment can save lives, but even if you're fine, it's not a fun experience. Another name for them is sea wasps. Why would you want to swim with wasps?

One word: spiders. Take the Sydney funnel-web spider, for instance. It can bite though toenails. Also, it's venom shuts down your immune system, leading to death in 15 minutes. Nobody has died from its bite ever since they found the anti-venom for it in 1981, but it's still terrifying. Then there are the spiders which aren't venomous, or at least dangerously venomous but are the size of your hand. There's nothing wrong with spiders, they fill an important role in nature, but why do they have to be that big. 

Last but not least; have you heard of the swooping season? The magpies in Australia nest between August and October, and they are very serious about defending their young. As they should be, but they're so aggressive about it: these birds will chase after you and swoop at your head. Maybe not a lethal threat, but birds are scary when they act like they're going to peck your eyes out.

Also, if you are loud or in their space, they see you as a threat not just at the moment: they can remember you for up to five years. Anyway, read more about the swooping season, because the tips to avoid being swooped are too funny. Is Australia even real?

Of course, Australia has many fascinating plants and animals that won't try to kill you. They're got kangaroos, wombats, koalas, cassowaries -- oh wait, cassowaries are the world’s most dangerous bird. They've only killed a couple of people with their razor-sharp claws though, and only when provoked.

Despite all this, I think it would be fun to travel to Australia one day. These creatures may be dangerous, but as long as you're smart and treat the natural world with respect, you'll most likely be fine.

Sadie Quimby

Posted on October 3, 2020 23:16

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Source: NYT
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