Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the outback
This is the second in a series of two wonderful articles about horrible, vicious, dangerous, hideous, disgusting Australian animals — articles that for some reason contain no mention of Rupert Murdoch. (Note to reader: This article does not contain information about horrible, vicious Australians, although many consider them to be in the category of animals as well. I will cover them in a third article later.) I will be covering the creatures that the Crocodile Hunter was too chicken to take on.
Of course, as I promised in the last article, I will not take an easy shot by mentioning kangaroos, since they are over-exploited already. I will even stretch my virtues to the breaking limit by not mentioning koalas either, mainly because I already wrote them to death in the first article, even though they are far from the cute, cuddly codgers the Australian Tourist Bureau would have you believe.
In reality, these Australian animals are nasty, man and woman eating, spleen gouging, liver sucking, arm ripping off, knee capping creatures made all the more loathsome by their successful projection of sweetness and cuddliness, appearing as innocent as Bill Clinton was when Hillary confronted him about Paula Jones. They are so good at this act that they have fooled even such respectable institutions as Quantas Airlines who uses them as their symbol (Be forewarned that if you fly Quantas you might be subject to spleen gouging, liver sucking, arm ripping off or any of a number of other insults to ones dignity. You will learn first hand why they chose a koala as their mascot.)
There is a type of frog in Australia that is very green. It is no relation to the green-headed, green butted ant although it also has a green head and a green butt (that is, I think frogs have butts; I’ve never looked). They use this color to disguise themselves on tree branches, tucking their legs and arms in very close (and their butts too if they have them) and pretending they are mere leaves. Then flies and other horrible flying things come by that may or may not happen to have green butts (butt that is irrelevant) and land on them thinking “Oh, what a lovely branch this is with such a cute leaf on it! I think I’ll just park myself here for a while!” not knowing that there is actually a whipping tongue of death waiting to devour him. He will be sitting there happily sunning himself when all of a sudden this thin red sticky thing that isn’t green at all will shoot out, snare him and pull him into this dark green cave that is wet and nasty and swallows. This is how the green tree frog makes his living. Now I know that hanging around tree branches pretending you are a leaf is not everyone’s idea of a career, but then no one asked you.
Unfortunately not all green Australian frogs are that smart. In a toilet of a camping place where I stayed there were some living in the cement blocks of the wall who didn’t have their brains in gear (I’m assuming frogs have brains; I’ve never checked into that either.) They were bleached out from living inside so long and of course I don’t think the air from a men’s toilet helps the general health either. At night I came in to do some business (none of your business what) and there were two frogs who had stationed themselves in the same position on walls opposite each other, much like those stone lions you see in front of libraries that think they are more cool if they have stone lions in front. They thought this was a great way to catch flies. Another had placed himself next to the mirror. He was so obvious that he was like a kid who covers his eyes with his hands thinking that no one can see him. Any flies who let themselves be caught by him had either visited a few too many almost empty beer bottles that night or were a little looiey from the toilet fumes. These frogs were without saying a little on the thin side from the lack of sufficient strategy in the fly catching game.
One creature that definitely deserves mentioning is the stone fish. As stone fish is a fish so ugly that you want to stone it. It is probably Medusa herself, the ancient Goddess of mythology so horrible that anyone gazing upon her would turn to rock who created them. The fish actually looks like a stone so that it can hide amongst the coral and catch unsuspecting, non-stone resembling fish. Truthfully, stoned is what you want to be if you ever step on one of these babies. They have spines on them that you can step on and will inject a poison into you that is both painful and deadly. It was one of these tadpoles that got Brook Shields in the movie “Blue Lagoon’. Now you know any fish that would poison Brook Shields must either be a real bad mother or must hate anyone better looking than itself.
Sting rays are animals that look like fish that had been stepped on so hard that their eyes got squished to the same side of their head. They are flat as a nickel that met the 5 o’clock train and have a tail that they can slash with like a teen scream flick slasher. Rays are actually normally harmless, except to people who think they are a good Welcome mat when they enter the water.
True story – I once met a small skate, a mini sting ray about the size of a large pancake, while entering the a small inlet on the east coast of Australia. Hidden in the sand he ‘skated’ out from under my foot a couple feet. I followed him for a while, always putting my foot down near him and watching him shove on and hide himself again. After a few minutes of this game he suddenly made a huge arc in the water and came up facing me down, his buggy eyes conveying a definite message of “You want a piece of me punk?” and daring me to try step on him again; the fish version of someone daring someone to knock a chip off their shoulder.
I see where the Australians get their toughness. They learn it from their animals.