I’m sure some of you may have been mildly interested in my video at the beginning of the week about our second full year living in Australia, the highlights of 2009, but I am sure that what you really want to know about 2009 is what did Australia’s Bad Things achieve during the year.
How many of us Australian dwelling folk were crunched by a crocodile, stung by a jellyfish, swallowed by a shark, snacked on by a snake or snuffed out by a spider? So I decided to do some research, let me share with you my findings.
Within minutes of starting my quest I seemed to find the answers to everything all in one article, the Sydney Morning Herald had it all sorted out for me. In their article entitled How Australian Killer Critters Scored in 2009 I discovered that:
- Deaths by shark equal zero
- Deaths by funnel web spider equal zero
- Deaths by crocodile equal two (both victims were swimming in a swamp or river in the Northern Territory)
- Deaths by mosquito-borne virus Murray Valley encephalitis equal one
- Deaths by irukandji equal zero (I’ll tell you about the irukandji next week)
Unusually, the article didn’t mention box jellyfish or stonefish but my research suggests….
- Deaths by box jellyfish equal zero
- Deaths by stonefish equal zero
As I was going through their article, something very strange happened. I read this bit….. “Snake bites – commonly carried out by tiger and eastern brown snakes – killed about half a dozen people last summer…..”
About half a dozen? Well, was it 6 or wasn’t it? I need to know a number!
So what I originally thought would be an easy and quick research job turned into a marathon. I needed to track down who had been killed by snakes in Australia in 2009. Half a dozen seemed a lot to me, especially as all my previous research and findings have suggested that on average just one or two deaths a year are down to our slippery friends.
When I wrote about Australian snakes and death, there had been 41 snakebite deaths in Australia since 1980. So half a dozen in 2009? Are we under attack?
So, as usual, I turned to Google for the truth. I searched for….
snake death 2009
snake death Australia 2009
snake death Australia
snake fatality 2009
snake fatalities Australia 2009
snake attack list Australia
death by a snake Australia
death by a snake Australia 2009
died after a snakebite
died after a snakebite 2009
fatal snakebite Australia
fatal snakebite Australia 2009
Then I turned to the newspapers and searched similar terms in…..
The Daily Telegraph
The Herald Sun
I was exhausted! But what did I find?
One death in Carnarvon, Western Australia, 15 Jan 2009: female, 60 years old, victim of a western brown snake.
So what have we got going on here? Is it a big government cover-up? Are our national news organisations and the press banned from reporting snake deaths in Australia?
Or have the Sydney Morning Herald got it wrong?
If any of you know the truth, and I’m sure the truth is out there, I’d love to hear from you.
My research did lead me to this little video gem though. If you really are scared of snakes you just must watch this. Don’t be scared, just hit play. It’s only 57 seconds long and it is suitable for children too……..