Thursday 21 January 2010

Reasons not to live in Australia

Josh Gans says that experiencing American integrated TV-internet services makes him reluctant to go home to Oz.

Compared to this reason not to go back to Australia, crappy tv and internet are second order small.
Forget sharks and crocodiles: the real menace at this time of year, at least for surburban Sydneysiders, is a backyard spider whose bite can kill you in the space of two hours.

Insect experts have warned that the city is being invaded by funnel-webs, considered one of the world's most aggressive and poisonous spiders.

A reptile park north of Sydney where people can drop off captured specimens, and where they are milked of their venom to make antidote, has received more than 40 males in recent weeks. Males are deadlier than females.
Unlike most spiders, which scuttle away when disturbed, funnel-webs - which can grow to up to two inches long - may rear up and bare their fangs. They make burrows in moist, dark places, such as garden sheds, outdoor laundries and shrubberies.
One species, the paperbark funnel-web, has a bite so lethal that one victim required 17 ampoules of anti-venom.
Found mainly in eastern Australia, they are said to be able to leap 18 inches, and their fangs can penetrate soft shoes and fingernails.
Young Ira loves poking around in exactly the kinds of places that these evil critters would live. Fortunately, poisonous spiders are pretty rare in NZ. A few Redbacks in central Otago who've migrated in from Oz, and very rare and timid Katipos that hide in driftwood. Nobody's died of funnel-web bites in Oz for some time, but I've not seen the numbers on how many folks have had to get antivenom.



  1. Two points: Sydney is not Australia and Sydneysiders deserve everything that happens to them :).
    Second, we in Australia have things called 'supermarkets' think of an organised well-planned country fair with a rook on it. In these "supermarkets" we buy stuff called "fly-spray" that despite its deceptive name also kills spiders. (All to be read out in a Dr Evil tone). :)

  2. ... fly-spray doesn't work on the tiger snakes.

  3. I'd want a flame thrower in either case at minimum. Shudders...

  4. Don't worry Eric - they also sell lighters, and the propellant in this mythical "fly spray" is apparently butane. Problem solved.

  5. I don't think this would quite be strong enough though.