Another Killer From Australia

Recently scientists announced that they discovered a new species of snake that is native to Australia. And here’s a shocker:  the snake is a killer.

With the warm and fuzzy name of Kimberley Death Adder, the newly discovered species is considered to be one of the most venomous snakes in the world.  It lies in wait, camouflaged to blend in with its surroundings, until an unwary victim stumbles into its area, and then it strikes and bites with its deadly fangs.  Before an antivenom was developed and made available, it killed or paralyzed about half of its human victims.

It’s no surprise, really, that the Kimberley Death Adder is one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.  In Australia, it’s par for the course.  Even though many Americans associate Australia with beer and charming accents, the world’s only country-continent is home to an extraordinary assortment of deadly creatures, ranging from man-eating Great White Sharks to killer crocodiles to venomous, paralyzing snails to huge birds with killer claws that can rip off an arm to loads of poisonous fish, jellyfish, and octopus species.  Even certain species of purportedly cuddly koalas can be deadly.  And, of course, Australia is well-represented on the top 10 deadly snake and top 10 venomous spider lists.  There’s a reason Crocodile Dundee carried around that huge knife.

Even though I’d probably be scared snotless the entire time I was there and would need to keep an eye out at all time for spiders, snakes, and dozens of other potential killers, I’d still like to visit Australia one day:  it just seems like the right thing to do.  I’ve wanted to check it out since Kish and I read In A Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson’s classic and hilarious book about his travels in Australia. Now there’s just one more creature waiting to knock me off when I finally make the long flight to the other side of the world.

Snakes In The Trousers

Lately there have been a series of curious stories in the news about people trying to smuggle rare animals and birds by storing them on their persons.  Such conduct violates the Lacey Act, which prohibits the smuggling of exotic animals.

The weirdest attempt, in my view, was by a man in Miami who tried to board a plane with seven — seven! — snakes in his pants, as well as three tortoises.  The guy had the snakes and tortoises in nylon bags in his slacks.  It is not clear whether the creatures were drugged so that they would remain immobile during the flight.  In any case, the man’s illicit pants cargo was detected by an advanced imaging technology machine as he went through security.

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to try to smuggle seven snakes and three tortoises in your pants, but just imagine what it would be like to sit next to the guy on the plane and notice his unusual trouser activity if all of those animals suddenly started moving around.