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A friend of mine just told me she is moving away to Australia. “Why Australia?” I asked her. To me this is unfathomable, as Australia is the deadliest place on Earth, no exceptions.
Ah, you say. What about Africa?
No, Africa with all its plagues, man-eating animals, and political strife does not even come close.
Ah, What about Antarctica? you ask.
No, Antarctica is cold, but you would last longer naked in the frozen wastes than you would clothed in a suburb of Melbourne.
Ah, you say nodding your head with a smug look upon your face. What about Chernobyl?
If I had to choose between the Sarcophagus and the Outback, I would take the Sarcophagus. Verily, it wouldn’t even be much of a choice, because radiation kills humans incidentally, while for Australia it is a matter of purpose.
Everything in Australia is designed to kill you. It has more poisonous plants, aquatic life, reptiles (including snakes), and insects than anywhere else in the world. It has two of the three only known poisonous mammals, and even the nonpoisonous animals are dangerous.
In America the worse pest species is the cockroach. In Australia, it is the kangaroo. They invade yards and eat plants and yet are unstoppable as they are mean. They are armed with super-kangaroo martial arts the likes of which could stymie Bruce Lee and make Mike Tyson’s heaviest hit seem like breeze from a passing wind. Kangaroos are armed with teeth, claws, fists, feet, and tail. They can punch and kick and each limb is armed with deadly claws capable of disemboweling a man. Their tail, long and muscular, can be used to swipe at young human children. In the rest of the world you step on pests, but in Australia they step on you.
Conservapedia, the conservative alternative to Wikipedia, tells me that kangaroos and all other animals were deposited on Australia by Noah and his Ark. I can see the benefit to dropping off all the toxic, violent, bad-natured, child-killing animals on an isolated continent far away from the rest of the world. This was detrimental to the aborigines already living in Australia, but Noah, like all good people of the Bible, was white and so had an inborn prejudice and cared little if the animals ate all the aborigines.
The aborigines did what every other civilized society would do in such a predicament. They went insane. Before Noah came along and dumped a hoard of venomous animals on them, they had cities made out of brick and stone and spoke English like every other civilized society on Earth. Afterwards they began to speak in gibberish and they began to paint stick figures on rocks and live in huts.
Web-footed monotremes are even worse, if possible, than kangaroos. They carry poison in spurs on their feet and the toxin is so powerful as to be disabling for weeks. The pain is resistant to morphine, opium, and other pain-killers of the modern world. Since they tend to get stuck in fishing nets, they constantly put themselves in the way of humans. If you see a web-footed monotreme, the best thing to do is run screaming.
Why the fisherman are fishing in the first place is a mystery to me, because Australia is also home to some of the most deadly aquatic life known to man. The blue-ringed octopus has no known antidote to its poison and is festively colored as to be more attractive to young children. These octopods are cleverly disguised as rocks until a human comes along and the venomous creatures will begin to flash their blue rings to attract attention. As they are creatures of the sea, the only way to get rid of them is to dump chlorine into their habitat.
If the octopus of doom isn’t enough to worry about there is the Box Jellyfish, nearly as toxic as the blue-ringed octopus, these monsters float quickly into swimming areas where, invisible, they wait to be stumbled into. To add to the dangers of water there is also the Stonefish, sting-rays, and many poisonous sea snakes. The best way to avoid these creatures is to avoid all water, even pool water, for as long as you stay in Australia.
But land is no better. The taipan, a type of snake sneaks into houses and attacks from basements. It is said to be twenty times more venomous than the cobra and one of the ten most venomous snakes in the world. Seven of the ten most venomous snakes are found in Australia. The five most common are the Black Tiger Snake, Mainland Tiger Snake, Coastal Taipan, Inland Taipan, and the Eastern Brown Snake. Each has a bad habit of attacking anyone who runs across them without warning or provocation.
Insects are worse. Bulldog ants (called Jack-Jumpers because they jump at people or, anything that’s not an ant), are the most aggressive ant species known to man, comparable to Africanized Honeybees in their ferocity. Even getting with in twelve feet of a nest is likely to arouse the entire workforce. Anaphylactic shock is common in people who get stung by these ants, even if they are not normally allergic to stings.
To list the other animals one might have the pleasure of meeting in Australia we must include:
Funnel Web Spider: A poisonous spider that feels the need to bite repeatedly with inch-long fangs even though a single bite can kill a man.
Red Back Spider: Superficially similar to the Black Widow.
Crocodiles: They eat anything they can drag. That means you.
Kookaburras: An intolerable singer. Its notes rival the most potent toxins of all the Australian fauna.
Koalas: This cute sleepy looking animals is a mean son of a bitch who doesn’t mind snapping at hands trying to pet them.
When the British first showed up they lost more soldiers to the Australian animals than they during the Zulus War. The first Australians were British criminals sent to Australia because Parliament was trying to reduce the cost of executions. It took time to train the British Executioners and not time at all for a pack of dingoes to take down a hulking Cockney gent and so prisoners were shipped to the Outback where despite all odds they survived by huddling close to the shore away from the deadly interior.
My friend still desires to go. She looks a bit more nervous now, so maybe sense is starting to kick in. I can only hope so, because Australia is not a place for human life.
Update: Year 2020 of the Common Era: And now it's made up almost entirely of fire.