Things that bite

October 26

Today, we learned all about things that bite! We spent some time with two different families, both who live on properties with lots of bowerbird activity. First, and very surprising, we learned that the ticks here can also carry Lime Disease. This is in sharp contrast to what the modern medical establishment will tell you. Both the husband and the wife had it, including the bullseye rash, and had to force their doctors to prescribe the right antibiotic. Bummer, dude. I thought we’d left that worry back in the states.

Next, we got the latest snake update. We’d heard much about the very aggressive brown snake, a snake that can strike its body length as well as chase you. Gulp! We continue to walk through the forest slowly, making lots of noise as a deterrent. Then there is the red-bellied black snake. This one actually predates upon the brown so in areas where there are a lot of them, there are fewer browns. This one is more timid, but don’t get in its way or it might also chase you. They both sound bad. I think we will invest in some better leg protection. But the worse is yet to come.

We learned about a new kind of snake that is the most poisonous of all. It is called something like the rough scaled snake. It is less than a meter in length, but strikes lightning fast, repeatedly, in the time you’d say “yikes”! This one also climbs where it waits for birds, hopefully, or humans, hmmmmm… It seems to be nocturnal when the weather is warm, that’s good for us. It will also sun on a log during the cooler days. This snake will flee from people if it can; just don’t corner it or step on it. Yea.

Finally, we heard another tale about someone getting bit by a funnel web spider. He was raking leaves and reached in to pick out a piece of metal. Whap, it bit him on the finger. This man is very rugged looking and I imagine he has been injured on the job many times, but the way he described the pain from the bite made him seem like a young child. Turns out he didn’t get the anti venom, but toughed it out in the ER while the doctors monitored is racing vital signs. He said the anti venom has serious side effects and he managed to avoid them. After about six hours he started to stabilize. The lingering pain at the bite site tormented him for another three weeks. He said it felt like his finger was constantly on fire. Oddly, it never swelled up!

So the morning was very productive even if we spent it talking instead of hunting. Both families have great properties with much bowerbird potential. Hopefully we can score a few more bowers and then I think we will finally be ready to start some behavioral experiments on the bowerbird’s preference for different types of decorations. We have other experiments in the works, one already started which is a continuation of the work we began in 2006.

I’ll say good night by posting a nice picture of a satin bowerbird painting the sticks of his bower at Emerald Beach!



4 thoughts on “Things that bite

  1. bettyburch

    I think you are getting a good accounting from your local sources about the danger of snakes in the bush. Hope you invest in some snake proof leggings and a good snake bite first aid kit. Don’t go out alone, remember the buddy system. Stay safe and God Bless.

      1. bettyburch

        I googled goannas and saw lots of pictures of the scary lizards and heard they are more dangerous than a croc! You and Sara are surely having an adventure action packed sabbatical. And to think I was worried about sharks! Take care, are you having fun?

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