90% of everything in Australia is deadly in some way. There are poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, sharks, jellyfish, crocodiles and probably outback Yetis armed with machetes and blowguns. Of the remaining few creatures that can’t actively kill you there’s still a terrible and ominous threat – sheer volume. Turns out that all the docile animals in Australia exist in massive, terrifying gangs.
A wallaby is like a smaller more hilariously adorable kangaroo. Who wouldn’t want to be overrun with wallabies? The answer, of course, is the old lady in Australia who was attacked by one last week and Counciller Allister Pike who is convinced Australian children are up to their ankles in wallaby poop.
Thousands of wallabies are currently taking up residence in a small beach community, because everyone wants a beach home and it’s arguably pretty hilarious that this is happening. Culling is a last resort option and currently the little buggers are being trapped and relocated or, at the very least, being victimized by waist high fences they can’t get over while they seek to eat everyone’s lawn and maybe abuse their small dogs.
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Most people like crabs, except for when you get them from a special friend in a bar restroom. On Australia’s Christmas Island, several million red crabs show up once a year to walk from one side of the island to the other to mate because a change of scenery is kind of hot? We’re not biologists.
What happens when 45 million crabs walk across your island? It means you have to stay in the house with the door shut for a day or two because crabs are jerks and will go literally anywhere their creepy little crab legs can take them. This includes into houses, parks and across streets. What do the locals do? Rake them aside and drive real slow.
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Rabbits and Australia have a long, hate-filled history. Rabbits, you see, are not indigenous to Australia and, as an invasive species, they’re wreaked holy havoc down under. From a population of zero in 1788 when they were first introduced they managed to grow to a population of about 600 million by 1905. In a display of complete lack of logic, the Australian government even attempted to combat the plague of rabbits by building a fence that crossed the entire country. The fence did not get finished before the rabbits were already on the other side but it’s also worth noting that a rabbit is adept at two things in life; jumping over stuff and burrowing under it. The fence would have been a terrible idea even if it had been built in time.
Why should anyone care so much about millions of fluffy, adorable bunnies? Nothing has ruined Australia more than rabbits. They cause millions in crop loss and are credited with being the cause of massive species loss. No other continent has suffered the extinction of more native species than Australia, in large part thanks to the ecological destruction of rabbits.
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Back in the day you could guarantee a laugh on TV by having a woman react to a mouse in the house. She’d scream and jump on a table and firmly declare they had to move or some such because the house was infested. If it was a cartoon, she’d beat the mouse with a broom. Good times. Few people in Australia probably appreciated this thanks to their tendency to suffer plagues of mice. Honest to wrath-of-God plagues.
When the winter isn’t too cold and crop yields are good, a single breeding pair of mice can produce 500 little mice in a span of about 21 weeks. Multiply that out and you get millions upon millions of mice eating crops and getting into pretty much anywhere because have you ever tried to keep mice out of anyplace? It’s just short of impossible, especially in numbers so large that when you step outside the ground appears to be moving due to the fact it’s completely covered in mice.
Farmers expect to simply write off about 15% of their crops during a typical mouse outbreak at a cost of up to $300 million and 400 to 500 tonnes of grain will be laced with poison to help control it. And how often does this happen? If the conditions are right, it can happen every year.
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No one likes a plague of locusts and it’s not just because they eat everything in sight. Actually, that is the reason. Locusts aren’t particularly harmful to humans directly, but a one kilometer wide swarm can eat 10 tons of crops in a day. The locusts swarm every few years in numbers reaching into the billions and literally devour millions of dollars worth of crops while looking insanely creepy and ensuring you have to stay in your house during one of Australia’s breezy 100 degree days.
At this point, with locusts, rabbits and mice around, you may be wondering how Australia has any crops left at all. To that we have no answer but it’s probably safe to assume Aussies wouldn’t have to eat Vegemite if their farms were allowed to grow proper food.
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All you have to do is look at this picture to appreciate how terrifying the idea of a plague of spiders might be. That’s not snow on the ground, that’s web. That’s an entire field covered in spider webbing. That’s a nightmare right outside your door.
Wolf spiders do something called ballooning in an effort to not die in flood waters. The result of this ballooning, what the spiders do to escape rising waters and basically means covering everything in webbing. In a way it’s helpful because it’ll help kill off other insects in the area like mosquitoes which would normally have a population boom after a flood, but in another way it’s the most terrible thing in the world because look at it.
Worth noting that, while not deadly, a wolf spider does have a venomous bite and if you have enough of them in your yard to completely hide your yard, then you may want to wear boots.
Come be plagued by Ian Fortey on Twitter!