At one with nature
September 28, 2015 4:57 PM   Subscribe

Zootaxa article: A new species of death adder (Acanthophis: Serpentes: Elapidae) from north-western Australia. Guardian: These snakes are super-camouflaged - its idea is to look like a rock or a bunch of leaves. Unlike a brown snake they aren’t designed for speed at all, they are quite slow. They use their tail like a lure, they will dangle it down while it’s hidden until a lizard or something comes close and then it will strike. Telegraph: The new species adds to the impressive list of poisonous creatures in Australia, which is believed to have 20 of the world's 25 most deadly snakes, including the entire top ten.

Guardian (recently): As if Australia didn't have enough spiders: 13 new species found in Queensland.

Australian Geographic: Australia's dangerous animals: the top 30.

io9: The absolute worst way to die in the wild is Death-by-Cassowary.

Northern Star: The world's 10 deadliest animals - and they're all Aussies.

Backpacker advice: How dangerous are the animals In Australia? The truth about Australian wildlife.

Australian Geographic: Drop bears target people with foreign accents more often than those who are Australian-born, according to new research.
posted by Wordshore (37 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Australia, where even the mammals have venom.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:25 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Funnel web spiders live in trees now. True story.

I've lived in Australia my entire natural life, for the first 20 years in tropical north Queensland where there are plants that make you want to kill yourself. But I've had very few encounters with our dangerous wildlife. I think I've seen a total of two redback spiders, have been stung by a baby box jellyfish once, and once had my finger bitten open by a galah.

My closest brush with death, however, was a couple years ago. I was sitting around doing whatever on a hot summer's day in Brisbane. This news report covers the rest and makes me sound like an absolute doofus, which I thought was unfair because the interview was done with me over the phone while I was waiting for chips and the reporter assured me I was hilarious. However she took all the stupidest things I said and put them in the paper. Roberto got on the front page though, which was pretty cool.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:54 PM on September 28, 2015 [19 favorites]


tropical north Queensland where there are plants that make you want to kill yourself.
Having just started a contract in Cairns, that is pretty much the last thing I needed to see. I was just coming to grips with the approaching stinger season. No one's yet mentioned the evil torture-plants.
posted by piedmont at 6:41 PM on September 28, 2015


Just carry a jar of hydrochloric acid with you everywhere you go you'll be fine.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:45 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Snakes are very uncommon to see and you will never come across one in a big city like Sydney or Melbourne."

Somebody should tell that to the fattest & most chill-looking python I've ever seen, just up from the Radisson in O'Connell St. First time he was just hanging out in what little bit of afternoon sun reaches in there, flicking his tongue at everyone walking by. A couple of weeks later I saw him late at night with a rat in his mouth & what looked like another half-way down, giving me a 'just keep walking, mate - this one's mine' look.

Sadly, when in Sydney we now prefer to stay at the Amora near Wynyard…
posted by Pinback at 6:50 PM on September 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Hey turbid, your link won't load for me. :(
posted by futz at 6:50 PM on September 28, 2015


Oh, bummer. This one maybe?

I see I reposted the exact same link. Sorry. I can't think of why it doesn't work. Try Chrome or something? Anyway you aren't missing much, trust me!
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:54 PM on September 28, 2015


Somebody should tell that to the fattest & most chill-looking python I've ever seen, just up from the Radisson in O'Connell St.

Oh yeah we have a fully sick python bro/sis who visits our backyard now and then (only twice since we've been there). Just kinda chills around up in the tree and makes his/her way across to other trees. Gets 'round the suburbs that way, very cool. Our neighbour has one of his/her skins from a while back. We also got peacocks and peahens and sometimes a king parakeet sits on my barbell and poops. Great stuff!
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:56 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Only moderate taxonomic diversity that nevertheless remains incompletely understood
posted by isthmus at 6:59 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, Australia, don't ever stop being the most poisonous place ever.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:08 PM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine laughed at me when I told them I'd rather visit Antarctica than Australia.... how the heck does anybody survive in Australia? Are you people the toughest or the craziest on the planet?!?
posted by easily confused at 7:34 PM on September 28, 2015


So, are there any theories explaining this dependence on poison?

Or, is this just random luck that Australia has the most poisonous creatures?
posted by TheLittlePrince at 7:57 PM on September 28, 2015


I have seen more deadly snaikes on Mefi, fabulous things. The plant that makes you want to kill yourself, yes coming to an interrogation near you. I just think things were left to their own devices for a long time in Australia. I am in awe of the First Australian peoples who survived the place. It would take a lot of magic and connectedness.
posted by Oyéah at 8:20 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Snakes are very uncommon to see and you will never come across one in a big city like Sydney or Melbourne."

This probably news to the tiger snakes you spot along most creeks and rivers that run through Melbourne.
posted by antipodes at 9:20 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep. When the Aborigines colonised this place they really did it the right way. Anybody can come in and cut down a bunch of trees and dig big holes in the ground, but it takes real willpower to live in a place like Australia without fucking it all up at the same time.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:21 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


This probably news to the tiger snakes you spot along most creeks and rivers that run through Melbourne.

Those aren't snakes they are used johnnies
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:21 PM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Or, is this just random luck that Australia has the most poisonous creatures?

This is best explanation I've seen, I'm afraid.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:30 PM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'll add this to my collection of reasons not to go to Australia.
posted by notyou at 9:32 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Australia is not for the faint-hearted.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:47 PM on September 28, 2015


I live in Minnesota and the other day a freaking snapping turtle the size of a small dog was lurking near my car door. I sort of figured, hey, turtles are slow and shimmied around it in to my car. When I got home I did some googling and found out how incredibly stupid that was... Snapping turtles can run and jump. Ugh. Wildlife, man.
posted by miyabo at 10:16 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are you people the toughest or the craziest on the planet?!?

ynotboth.gif

seriously, you folks have a very beautiful country, and every Australian I've ever met has been lovely.

And I'm not even someone who's particularly afraid of snakes or spiders.

I will never willingly set foot on a continent that seems made entirely of HEY FUCK YOU HUMAN though. I'm sorry. No idea how you people do it.

You'd probably be awesome at colonizing Mars though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:25 PM on September 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


What's amazing to me is New Zealand is the opposite: There is not a venomous terrestrial creature there, is there?
posted by maxwelton at 1:40 AM on September 29, 2015


Previously on MetaFilter (post and first comment).
posted by Wordshore at 1:48 AM on September 29, 2015


For some reason this made me look up what it would take to emigrate to Australia
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 2:05 AM on September 29, 2015


Whatever you do don't come on a boat. Or be non-white. Or want a job when you get here. Or internet.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:21 AM on September 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


A guy visiting from Seattle the the other night told me about some Netflix documentary he saw about the top 75 or whatever deadliest things in Australia. Apparently #2 was the standard honey bee. So only deadly for the weak-spirited. #3 was probably the peanut.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:25 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Previously on MetaFilter (post and first comment).

"The inland taipan (also known as the "fierce snake") has the most potent venom of any snake (one bite contains enough venom to kill 100 people) in the world but there are no recorded fatalities from it's bite." This of course actually means that they are so deadly that a bite will kill you and then literally erase you from history.
posted by ardgedee at 4:10 AM on September 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


irl.metafilter.com/Australia: It might suddenly be snakes
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:19 AM on September 29, 2015


Snapping turtles can run and jump.

And climb.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:27 AM on September 29, 2015


From Last Chance To See:
There is in Melbourne a man who probably knows more about poisonous snakes than anyone else on earth. His name is Dr. Struan Sutherland, and he has devoted his entire life to a study of venom.

“And I’m bored with talking about it,” he said when we went along to see him the next morning, laden with tape recorders and note books. “Can’t stand all these poisonous creatures, all these snakes and insects and fish and things. Wretched things, biting everybody. And then people expect me to tell them what to do about it. I’ll tell them what to do. Don’t get bitten in the first place. Thats the answer. I’ve had enough of telling people all the time. Hydroponics, now, that’s interesting. Talk to you all you like about hydroponics. Fascinating stuff, growing plants artificially in water, very interesting technique. Well need to know all about it if were going to go to Mars and places. Where did you say you were going?”

“Komodo.”

“Well, don’t get bitten, thats all I can say. And dont come running to me if you do because you wont get here in time and anyway Ive got enough on my plate. Look at this office. Full of poisonous animals all over the place. See this tank? Its full of fire ants. Venomous little creatures, what are we going to do about them? Anyway, I got some little cakes in case you were hungry. Would you like some little cakes?”



“The most poisonous spider is the Sydney funnel web. We get about five hundred people a year bitten by spiders. A lot of them used to die, so we had to develop an antidote to stop people bothering me with it all the time.”
posted by Going To Maine at 8:20 AM on September 29, 2015 [13 favorites]


I have to wonder what Dr Sutherland is like in person, because that quote always struck me as pure undiluted Slartibartfast. Perhaps he just had a really good ear for editing the dialogue. That whole book is amazing, really.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:53 AM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Previously on MetaFilter (post and first comment)

whoa, weretable! there's a name I haven't seen in a while.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:44 AM on September 29, 2015


“There’s quite a big sexy gecko called the large velvet gecko – it’s very soft and have hands that are very grippy, when you hold them they hold you back,” Doughty said.

from the second link...i'm not sure i've ever heard a gecko described as sexy before but here we are. sounds like a nice contrast to all the terrifying deadly things
posted by burgerrr at 10:31 AM on September 29, 2015


What is WRONG with this place?!!
posted by Wordshore at 2:08 PM on September 29, 2015


Better than a tiger in your tank…
posted by Going To Maine at 2:11 PM on September 29, 2015


A good friend of mine was bitten by an Eastern Brown Snake the other month, in her garden. She received antivenine about an hour after the bite, it was apparently all incredibly painful and awful, and she took a long time to recover, about a month .
posted by wilful at 4:58 PM on September 29, 2015


There is (expensive and dubious) hope.

Runs outside to paint everything blue...
posted by Wordshore at 3:29 AM on September 30, 2015


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