Australians like to joke about being a heartbeat away from death at all times because frankly, it’s true. We live in a continent that is basically a glorified army barracks for a crack team of ecological weapons that we have whimsically labelled “wildlife” and lovingly depicted on our coat of arms.
Well, we got the “wild” part of that moniker right, but instead of “life” we should have substituted DEATH because most of our native fauna are fierce af killing machines that want us dead, because evolution has gifted them with the attributes of a master assassin in the form of stings, barbs, teeth, fangs and spikes.
Everywhere you go Down Under there’s some animal that wants to fuck you up.
Crocodiles, sharks, snakes, spiders, box jellyfish, stingrays, blue-ringed octopii.
Bull ants, blue bottles, paralysis ticks, stone fish, boxing kangaroos, cassowaries.
And don’t even get me started on magpies.
Even our fucking SNAILS can kill you.
Don’t believe me? Let me set the scene….
*human walks along beach*
“Oh wow, look at this pretty cone shell I found”.
*cone snail emerges*
*fires poisonous darts*
“AAAAAARGH FUCK THIS FUCKING SHELL JUST ATTACKED ME!!!”
Think I’m joking? Cone snails are at NUMBER 11 on National Geographic’s list of the 30 most deadly animals in Australia. Just to put that in context, the great white shark is listed at number 17. It’s a pussy compared to the cone snail.
I mean, it’s totally hilarious that we’ve concocted a silly urban myth about killer koala bears in order to mess with tourists, because FUCK, do we really even need to make this shit up? Want to have a close encounter with some terrifying Australian wildlife? Just step outside your front door.
Or in my case, go downstairs into your laundry.
Apologies to friends who already know this story. Some of this may seem familiar and I apologise for that but to be fair, most of you couldn’t properly read my Facebook posts about this through your own tears of laughter or were too busy outdoing each other with stupid jokes, so you probably missed some of the finer details.
Like, the parts about me POSSIBLY ALMOST DYING.
See the sympathy I get?
Anyhoo, let’s back it up a bit… A few weeks ago I was ambushed by a snake in my own laundry at 10:30 on a Saturday night.
It was late on Saturday night (hahah yes 10:30 is late for a sad motherfucker like me) and I was just about to go to bed. I had a load of wet washing in the laundry so I grudgingly trudged downstairs to throw it in the dryer before retiring for the night. #YOLO #mumlife
So I was crouched down in front of the dryer as I emptied it into a clothes basket. Unbeknownst to me a snake had slithered out from underneath the hot water tank behind me as I was faffing about with the washing. The cheeky fucker was laying in wait for me to make a move. I, of course, was totally oblivious.
Having finished with the dryer, I stood up and turned sideways to pick up the basket of dry clothes, when I felt something hit my ankle. Looking down, I saw a small brown snake reared back to strike me in the S-pose, it’s jaws so wide apart that the fucking thing looked like it had two heads.
I stumbled backwards out the doorway, screaming my partner’s name like I was being murdered. He ignored me. So I screamed again: “THERE’S A FUCKING SNAKE DOWN HERE!!!” Totally unperturbed, he yelled back “It’s not a snake, it’s a lizard – I saw it down there before”. And I’m like “NO IT’S A SNAKE YOU DICKHEAD!! IT’S A FUCKING SNAKE! YOU NEED TO FUCKING GET DOWN HERE!!”
So he finally comes downstairs, with all the swaggering confidence of a man who was about to say “I told you so”. My adrenalin was off the charts by then but I’m pretty sure he said something stupid like “Oh, it’s a SNAKE!” – all surprised like – and I swear to god if I had a rake I would have fucking smacked him with it.
Captain Obvious redeemed himself by throwing a plastic tub over the offending reptile and we were lucky that our local snake catcher wasn’t balls-deep in Saturday-night Netflix and chill, so he answered our call and came straight over. I mean, that might sound like overkill but I was absolutely convinced that it was a baby brown and that it had scratched me with its fangs and that I was probaby dying. It had to go.
So the snake catcher turned up all kitted out for a killer and could barely conceal his laughter (let alone his plumber’s crack – talk about lethal) as he chased what turned out to be a Golden Crowned Snake around my laundry. So instead of “dying” I was forced to downgrade my diagnosis to “never doing laundry again”.
I wikipedia’d my attacker after the reptile man left and apparently these little guys strike first with a “mock bite”, which is what I felt at my ankle. All bluff, no venom. Thank fuck it wasn’t a baby brown otherwise this rather anti-climactic story could have had a far more dramatic outcome.
The cruelest joke nature plays on us is that all snakes pretty much look the same when you’re in a state of panic, so the ones that WON’T kill you look exactly like the ones that WILL. To the layman’s eye every brown-coloured snake looks like an Eastern Brown, the second most deadly snake in the world – so you can forgive me for shitting my pants.
But you know what I really love about this country?
Only in Australia is the threat of wildlife attack so ever-present that you will get ZERO SYMPATHY after being ambushed by a venomous snake in your own home. Not only that, your asshole friends will piss their pants laughing, because the reptile that tried to kill you wasn’t quite big or scary enough to actually kill you.
I mean, this is a country where you are expected to grab a cold beer and chill when the world’s second most deadly snake bites you. That’s some stoic shit.