In which we finally get attacked by the fine Australian wildlife.

I’ve been traveling down the east of coast of Queensland for the last two weeks with three of my friends from USyd. On the way, we’ve been enjoying the Australian wildlife.

Wild koala on Magnetic Island!

Wild koala on Magnetic Island!

Rock wallaby! Check out the baby in its pouch.

Rock wallaby! Check out the baby in its pouch.

Terrible photo, but I swear that's a platypus.

Terrible photo, but I swear that’s a platypus.

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Australia is famous for its cute and cuddly animals. It’s true: wallabies are cute! However, Australia is equally notorious for its dangerous and poisonous animals. The amount of articles/memes/Buzzfeed posts about Oz’s freaky animals is absurd.

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Usually, these are easy to laugh off.

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Sometimes, though, it’s not so easy.

As my friends and I found three nights ago.

We were in a cute little coastal town in southern Queensland. The weather was beautiful, so we had spent the day at the beach. After a long dinner at a beachside restaurant, we were walking home to our hostel.

And then.

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Our friend was bitten by a snake.

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We inspected our friend’s ankle. There was only one fang mark, and though it was bleeding a bit, she said it barely hurt and mostly itched. We decided to return to the restaurant.

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From there, we called 000, the emergency number in Australia. The emergency services sent us an ambulance. Fifteen minutes later, a paramedic arrived to inspect our friend’s wound.

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At this point, our friend was feeling weak in her bitten leg. It might have been just from panic, as the paramedic concluded that our friend showed no symptoms of snake venom. Since we didn’t know what kind of snake bit her, though, he decided to take her to the ER anyway. We followed her to the hospital, where we sat around in the waiting room.

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After a long wait, a nurse came out to greet us.

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Our friend was still strapped to her stretcher, coherent, but worried.

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It’s standard procedure in Australia, apparently, to monitor snake bite victims after the initial injury. However, this small hospital didn’t have the proper equipment to do this. They had to move her to a hospital about a half hour away.

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One of us stayed in the hospital with her. The remaining friend and I went back to our hostel. We wouldn’t all be able to stay the night in the hospital, after all, and we had already had our hostel booked, and someone had to pack up the luggage and get the rental car the next morning.

My friend and I went back and did exactly that.

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There was only one problem.

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Our friend with the snakebite was also our driver, you see. She was the only one who was comfortable with, and had experience with, driving in Australia. The roads here are a bit weird: people drive on the left, not the right.

Now, we were without a driver. What do we do?

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Duty called.

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Somehow, we made it to the hospital without dying. After an hour’s wait, the wound was declared non-venomous and our friend was discharged.

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Because my friend had to have her blood checked throughout the night, she had barely slept at all. My friend who had stayed with her wasn’t much better off. But we had an itinerary to follow. Our hostel for that night was already booked, in a town about 4 to 5 hours away.

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Thus, my friends and I got to have the authentic Australian experience. Driving on the left side of the road? Hospitalized due to snakebite? Seriously, all we needed now was to be attacked by a spider or stung by a jellyfish.

But that didn’t happen until a couple days later.

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And that’s how we called the paramedics twice in three days.

(Don’t worry, though– we’re all fine!)

8 thoughts on “In which we finally get attacked by the fine Australian wildlife.

  1. Scary + hilarious (= hilscarious?) Pleased to see you’ve managed to avoid being stung or bitten (and hope you keep it that way!) Good job on the driving (although I have to point out you’ve drawn yourself sitting in the left-hand seat while driving; you may want to reverse that image!)

    I once saw a wild koala in Noosa. Never saw a platypus though. I think you’re pretty lucky to see one, and especially to get a photo. Cute photo of the wallaby with the baby in her pouch.

    I also came face-to-face with a huge “goanna” lizard in the forest in Noosa. I was told afterwards that when they get scared, they try to climb up you as if you were a tree, and their sharp claws do a lot of damage to your face and head! But that might have been typical “scare-the-tourist” talk!

    • Goannas! My friends and I saw tons of them at the Whitsunday islands– apparently the population density of monitor lizards there is particularly high. I was really close to one taking photos when I overheard my tour guide mention that the goannas on the island were one of the only poisonous monitor species! Go figure, Australia.

      You’re right in that my friends and I were lucky to see a platypus. Even the Lonely Planet guide noted that the people who manage to see a platypus are extremely patient and a little insane. Yet my friends and I spotted the platypi as soon as we reached their stream! Talk about crazy luck.

  2. I have a tape I always showed every year to my students when I taught. I was about the very poisonous spiders, snakes, and the box jelly fish in Australia. The tape has taught me that, while I may someday go to Australia, it is no longer my top priority.
    Glad you are all ok.

  3. At least you saw a platypus! I’ve never seen one of those, and I live here! I heard they’re rare, or they don’t come out much, or something… They don’t even have them in zoos, that I’ve seen. (You lucky duck)

    I’ve never been stung by a jellyfish either, but my mum has trying to protect me from them. Once a jellyfish wrapped its tentacles around her, and the sting lasted months. But I’ve once stopped her from falling down a mountain once too, when we went for a walk in the Blue Mountains.

    Another time, in Tasmania, I was on a trip with my school, and one of the mums had come along. We were on a simple walk, but she fell over and twisted her ankle, and had to be lifted out of the trail.

    • There were platypuses in the Sydney zoos, but I didn’t see any captive platypuses in Queensland! Maybe because you guys have them in the wild. Good on your mom for protecting you from jellyfish stings, too– those things burn! And can even scar! Yow.

      Your poor mum! She sounds injury-prone. I’m glad she made it off that Tasmanian trail ok!

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