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Warakurna Community

November 28, 2007

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You often hear jokes about ‘the end of the World’, in Australia we may say ‘Outback’ or the other side of the ‘Blackstump’, one might even say, ‘It’s not the end of the world… but you can see it from there’, there just words, Google Maps will allow you to see where they actually live (back up the map a little to appreciate), and have possibly done so for over 60,000 years, going back to when central Australia was not quite so arid.

Website: Warakurna Community

 Peter Lewis's Tingari Men Camping At Merunjarra

Photo: Peter Lewis’s Tingari Men Camping At Merunjarra

They call it ‘Primitive Art’, more words that somehow don’t quite measure up, these painting may tell a story, give a tribal history… or they could in fact be maps describing in detail where to find water.

Deadly Australians – Funnel-web Spiders

November 22, 2007

Australian Funnel-web Spider
Photo: Funnel-web – Atrax and Hadronyche – Wikipedia

I have two mates who were bitten by Funnel-webs before the anti-venom became available, both tell very similar stories, both had troubles convincing their respective hospitals that they had in fact been bitten by Funnel-webs… both were walked around the hospital looking for wheelchairs, one passed out in the lift and woke up with his family and Rabi by his bed!

Website: Wikipedia

Deadly Australians – Red Back Spider

November 22, 2007

Red Back Spider
Photo: Red Back – Latrodectus hasselti – Wikipedia

The Red Back not only looks like the Black Widow, it is in fact related. Though deaths are rare, the results from a Red Back bite may include extreme pain, nausea, vomiting and occasionally complications such as infections that can lead to amputations.

Website: Wikipedia

Deadly Australians – Taipan Snake

November 22, 2007

Video: YouTube

The Taipans – Oxyuranus microlepidotus are Ridgy-didge, are probably the world’s most poisonous snake, if your in the areas they inhabit and you get bitten by one of them, you’re in real trouble. They may not have killed many people, possibly because they avoid us or since we don’t generally cohabit in this vast often hostile continent. If your ‘outback’ and one of these jabs their fangs in you, you’d better have a plan real soon… a plan that doesn’t involve dialing 000 (911) on your mobile; which won’t probably work out there anyway.

Website: Western Taipan

Deadly Australians – Lots of Snakes…

November 22, 2007

Deadly Australians Common Brown Snake
Photo: Common Brown – Pseudonaja textilis – Australian Snake Bites

The Common Brown… a snake with Attitude
You get only one guess why they call it that, and what’s worse this one can be very aggressive; it will chase you if you annoy it… or if it’s having a bad hair day or something, it’s fast & big; can grow to over 2m and it’s very poisonous. I wonder if the Aussie phrase ‘Mad as a cut snake‘ relates to somehow cutting a ‘brown’?

Website: The Australian Venom Research Unit

Deadly Australians – Crocodile…

November 22, 2007

Australian Salt water Crocodile
Photo: Common Brown – Pseudonaja textilis – Unknown origin

‘Crocs’… ‘Salties’, could also be called Optimistic opportunists

There was a story once relating to a Croc which had attacked a ‘tinny’ biting the motor clean off and leaving sizable holes where it’s fangs had penetrated the gunnels. The story goes that for awhile the locals felt safe because they could hear it coming… that is until the motor ran out of petrol.

Most of us have seen ‘Crocodile Dundee’, so I’ll offer this advice, these things grow to over 7 m (23 ft) long, despite their size they are very good at hiding and are very very fast… if you swim or even camp in a tent near where they are you are really stupid.

Website: Wikipedia
Website: Australian fauna

Deadly Australians – Stonefish

November 22, 2007

Deadly Australians Stonefish
Photo: Stonefish – Synanceia verrucosa – © Australian Museum

Ugly, ugly… so ugly even a mother would have troubles loving this one. The pain if one gets stung is apparently excruciating and if they don’t get treated real quick there’s a good chance it could be fatal.

Website: © Australian Museum

Deadly Australians – Box jellyfish

November 22, 2007

Deadly Australians Box jellyfish
Photo: Box Jellyfish – Carybdea alata by David Doubilet

Also known as the sea wasp or marine stinger.

Regarded as one of the most dangerous of marine animals. The Box Jellyfish floats around almost invisible in the waters of Northern Australia; along side the Crocs, between October to April.

The venom present in the tentacles; which in some cases are almost 3 meters long, is extremely toxic and my result in cardio-respiratory dysfunction with in a just a few minutes.

Website: GBR Explorer

Deadly Australians – Blue Ring Octopus

November 22, 2007

Australian Blue Ring Octopus
Photo: Photo: Blue Ring Octopus – Hapalochlaena maculosa – Earlham College Biology Department

The poisen of the Blue Ring Octopus is said to be 10,000 times more potent than cyanide… and there is no known antidote. The bite can leed to paralysis, respiratory arrest and finally death if artificial respiration and heart massage is not carried out on the victim and maintained till the toxin washes out of their system.

This little; not much bigger than a golf ball, somewhat attractive, innocent looking creature can be found widely from Australia to Japan, it can be found in rock pools and as down far as 20m deep. The fact that it’s atractive and can be found in rock pools means that kids should be tought about it since it’s just the sort of thing that they would be attracted to if not warned.

Website: Wikipedia

Deadly Australians – Platypus

November 22, 2007

Australian Platypus
Photo: Platypus – Ornithorhynchus anatinus – George Agnew

On the back legs of mature male Platypuses are short spurs that can inject a highly complex venom which results in extreme pain. This venom is not only resistant to morphine, it can cause nausea that can sometimes last for weeks. The victims of Platypus venom are few and far between but the degree of pain and it’s possible effects on susceptible people makes the Platypus’s inclusion into this list logical. This egg laying monotrem is one of only two on the planet, the other being the Echidna which is also found in Australia.

It’s a rear and joyful occurrence to see either of these creatures in the ‘bush’. Neither of these creatures are the type that one could nor should try to pat, the Platypus because you are unlikely to get close enough and even if you did you should consider risk management questions, whilst the Echidna is the equivalent of a porcupine… not much value in patting that is there?

Website: George Agnew’s great Platypus site