In my part of Canada, spiders and snakes are not something to be worried about. The worst we get is a rare black widow that could get transported with imported grapes. You can find some kind of rattlesnake in the Prairies. Otherwise, we sometimes worry about bears, wolves or pumas. That’s all I can think of. Here, in Canada when we speak of Australia, we often joke that everything in Australia wants to kill you. It does seem like they have the highest ratio of deadly animals by square kilometer.
We were four foreigners and our guide sitting around the campfire on our second day in the outback, at night when almost everybody else were asleep. A tiny snake slithered past us, even making its way on one of the guys foot before slithering discreetly away.
The guys quickly mentioned it, which led to the guide flashing a light on the said snake. What happened next was quite surprising, the guide jumped up, grabbed a shovel and decapitated the snake, stating he couldn’t afford to let it loose in the campground.
Turns out, the innocent looking snake was either a king brown snake or some other kind of Australian brown snake, which are highly venomous. Even the bite of a baby is really dangerous and would have required the administration of an antivenom without delay.
This snake encounter actually piqued my curiosity and, when I was back in Alice Springs, I headed to the Reptile Center to learn more. This is where I learned that venomous snakes, such as cobra, will have fangs and constricting snakes, such as pythons, will have rows of teeth pointing backward and acting as anchors.
Also, unlike venomous snakes found elsewhere, venomous snakes in Australia will not leave puncture marks since their fangs are too small. Rather, they leave scratch marks. Looking at fangs of snakes from South East Asia, you can really see a difference in size. Wearing pants and shoes will prevent entry of venom in Australia, not so elsewhere where the fangs are big enough to pierce the fabric.
Interested in Australia’s deadly animal? Read this article from the Australian Greographic : Australia’s most dangerous predators