One evening, on our way out to dinner, Deb’s Australian neighbour enlightened us on some of the scary, poisonous animals in Melbourne and Australia.
The whole conversation started because this neighbour, Ray, had called us over on our way out one evening, to show us something in the neighbour’s garden, which he was looking after. The couple were away on holiday and he spotted a poisonous fungus growing on the wood-chipped lawn in their front garden. The fungus looked like a patch of cow dung. He showed us two patches of these on the lawn – one was still growing and the other one, he had dosed with fungicide, which had turned ash coloured. This one had dead spores.
When it gets big enough, the patches explode like a cloud of dust in the air and the spores spread. If humans breathe them in, we can get bad asthma from it and dogs/cats can die from it. Debs and Piers have two dogs, so he warned Debs that when walking the dogs, not to let them go near it. The fungus starts off as a bright yellow sticky substance and grows into big patches that explode.The wood chips are available free from the council and the spores can be in the wood chips without people knowing it. Once you have it, it can be hard to get rid of. They can be killed off with fungicide luckily.
Ray also studied spiders for years. We were talking about the worst ones and he said that the funnel-web spider is the worst one in Australia. They’re big spiders and can be aggressive. They get up on their hind legs, ready to bite you and if they do that, he said, then just get the hell out of there! One species of funnel-web spiders is the wolf spider, which is poisonous too. Some people say that if left too long, a bite from a wolf spider can cause the skin to die. Ray also recommended to shake all your washing on the clothes line, before you bring it into the house, as spiders can crawl in there.
Debs and Piers only moved from the UK to Australia recently, so it was interesting for her and me, to hear about these things. Even though you do have to deal with poisonous animals in Australia, I would still consider living there. I liked Melbourne. It’s a lovely city. I would consider Melbourne as a second choice as a place to live. New Zealand is my first choice though, at the moment. Debs, Piers and her parents were great, showing me around Melbourne, bringing me here and there and they looked after me very well. It was great to see them all again and I was a bit lonely leaving.
The next part of this trip is Christchurch and the rest of New Zealand, so have a look at the New Zealand 2012 tab, starting with “Getting An Article Published” to see what adventures I get up to there.