Australia - Land of Contrasts
Australia is a continent with an incredible varity of flora and fauna. From the oceans to the mountains one can witness sights and sounds,which cannot be observed anywhere else on Earth. Saying that, nature's many creatures some of which display incredible beauty, to survive have adopted defence systems, which are fatal to humans. Observe, but do not touch !
We are all aware of the Great White shark. I well remember when on arrival in this country an attack in which a Scuba diver was swallowed whole. A sighting made within the hour, claimed the monster, and I quote (Was as big around as a Combi Van.)
Another creature of the sea to be found amongst the coral reefs is the Olive Sea Snake. This delightful creature is twenty times more venomous than a Cobra,When diving on the reefs, operators will tell you, you may encounter a sea snake, they can be attracted by the reflection of their own image in the glass of your face mask, so dont make any sudden moves, i/e waving your arms etc.they are only curious and will soon move away.
Next we have the Box Jellyfish, this is possibly the most dangerous creature.
Here is a photo of Carol at Mission Beach, North Queensland, note the bottle of white vinegar, used as first aid treatment for stings.
Then we have the tiny Blue Ringed Octopus,this is the size of a golf ball. If bitten you donít have very long to get the antidote.
Nausea is followed by blurred vision, within seconds you are blind, sense of touch disappears, you cannot speak or swollow, within the next three minutes you are paralysed and unable to breathe. Also there is the attractive Cone shell. This is found in the pools at low tide out on the Great Barrier Reef. Never pick one up, as some types have a dart which they can extend back over their shell for several inches, this dart contains up to 2,000 chemical poisons! You donít have many minutes without treatment!
So now lets get back on to Terra Firma. The most dangerous snake lives in a remote part of S.W. Queensland. Named the Fierce Snake. Here the temperatures reach 50 degrees centigrade. This snake is not aggressive. It lives on rats and has never bitten anyone except the snake handlers. It has enough venom to kill 240 thousand Mice!
All spiders can bite, the Funnel Web who's bite can be fatel is to be found in the Sydney suburbs. And behind us here in the ranges of the Gold Coast.
Although extremely dangerous,the arachnid considered the most dangerous per capitor is the Redback Spider. I found six of the little devils under the rims of my flowerpots last year. They also have a habit of hiding under the handles of the wheely bins, it pays to check when wheeling your bin out for the refuse men. My wife Carol was bitten on her left arm by a RedBack three weeks ago, symptoms were extensive swelling from finger tips to elbow, followed by high temperature & nauseu. Pleased to tell you Carol is back to normal,that is as normal as possible, being married to a guy like me . All of these creatures put together, cannot compare with the dreaded motor car, which kills thousands each year whilst still not making the headlines more frightening as a shark attack.
The smooth skinned lizard, which I shot with my Fuji Camera up in the mountains a few weeks ago, shows that not everything is deadly but is great to see.
I guess the most insidious killer is without doubt the sun.
Facts on Skin Cancer
740 Australians develop skin cancer every day.
700 die each year.
Skin cancer can take 30 years to develop
1960's Beach goers & Surfers are now showing the effects of too much sun
The official advice is to use plenty of 30 + sun screen broad spectrum .
Slip Slap Slop & stay out of the sun. Always wear a sun hat, plus suitable clothing .
Especially cover up young children.
Good advice, but it is not always possible to avoid the suns rays.
People like us swim every day throughout the summer months.
At our age every day is a bonus, so we cover up when we can and enjoy life to the full, and believe me, this is the place to do it !
Arthur .E. Bensley