Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Little Differences

Striped Orb-Web spider, roughly palm-sized

But Rich what's it really like living in Australia? is a question most of you must have muttered at some point after reading this blog - probably whilst waving your fist at the monitor. Well - apart from the (ahem) weather, there are plenty of small differences that the casual visitor will miss - but yours truly has noted. In the current period of working and no travelling, what better time to reveal some of these unique gems? *cough* filler posts *cough*

1. Spiders
How many times have I talked about spiders? Too many, for all you arachnaphobes, no doubt. Well that proves my point. Back home spiders are a nuisance at worst - they spin webs and go about their spidery business, but that's about it. Most of them are small, dull and brown - and although they fulfill a useful purpose, and without them we'd be knee-deep in flies blah blah - they just aren't that interesting.

So if you like your eight-legged insect overlords on the exciting side (and who doesn't?) then you have to come over here. Whether it's multi-coloured garden spiders, fat glistening orb web spiders, or massive slavering Huntsmen - arachnids here are worth writing about. A large spider in the UK would be...what, the size of your little finger? Large spiders in Australia are the size of your hand - believe me, I know. Check the archives for the post about my evening visitor. Yikes.

The world gave Australia rabbits and cats - Australia gave them back the white-tailed spider (well, New Zealand at least). If you even look at one of these guys funny, it'll go for you. When they bite you, it feels like a mosquito - but soon becomes agonising - essentially the part of you they bite dies, and has to be cut out (or off) to save you. The worst part is these things are small and love hiding indoors. Erm, I'll be checking under the bed tonight then...