Acclimatising to Australia’s Creepy Crawlies

As you know, I like to reprint my articles from Australia and New Zealand Magazine about a month after they first appear in print. Well, I seem to be falling behind further and further as time goes on.

Here we are in April, and I am about to print the article that appeared in February’s edition. So I’m now about two months behind. But, with impeccable timing, it’s an article about creepy crawlies.Australia Magazine

Haven’t you had enough? In the last nine posts I’ve talked about the scraping scrub Turkey, a chasing brown snake, the mole cricket, the Rhinocerus beetle, water beetles and black crickets.

And if that wasn’t enough, you also had to put up with not one, but two videos about my six-foot snake intruder. But as I pointed out in my post 10 reasons to move to Australia, it’s the natural wildlife here that helps make Australia such a great country. So, you’ll need to get used to it and that’s what this article is all about.

Anyway, to make it 8/10 posts about critters, here’s the article from February’s edition of the magazine. After this, I really do promise a change of subject and, NOT the weather. Here’s the article, they called it…..

Nasty creatures!

How do you adapt to living in a country that is inhabited by creepy crawlies, killers and venomous creatures?

Yes, I know, when people think about moving to Australia they usually want to talk about the sun, sea and sand. But I want to talk about the spiders, snakes, sharks and saltwater crocodiles. After all, it’s these creatures that do sometimes put people off moving here, and that shouldn’t happen. In this simple guide I’m going to explain why there is nothing to worry about.

Strange Colourful Grub

Let’s start at the low end, with the creepy crawlies. I am probably one of the world’s leading experts at acclimatisation to life with creepy crawlies because when we moved into our Australian house, which had been standing empty (of humans that is) for five months, it was full of them! How did I adapt?

Stage one: I would visually scan every single room I entered, taking special care with skirting boards, ceilings and walls, then everywhere else. Repeating constantly. Stage two: now fully comfortable indoors, I’d scan when out in the garage or the garden shed. Additionally, I wouldn’t put on a pair of shoes without bashing them on the floor and looking inside. Stage three: I now feel as comfortable outdoors as inside. I’d find myself walking into the garage without shoes on. It took me about a year to get to this stage. At this stage you can consider yourself fully acclimatised to Australia’s creepy crawlies.

But now that I’ve been here for three years, I’ve discovered there are two more stages. Stage four is when you go camping as mentioned in a previous article and stage five? Not everybody experiences stage five, but I have. Yes, I have actually had the privilege of being bitten by a Redback spider. Here are a couple of things that might surprise you. First, the actual bite is painless, I didn’t feel a thing. Second, I didn’t die. Nobody has died from any spider bite here in Australia since the 70s. Even more surprising, I didn’t need any antivenom and in my view, when the pain did kick in it wasn’t as bad as a wasp sting. After all, I cried when I was stung by a wasp! Mind you, I was only 10 years old when that happened.

But I should mention there is something you can do which will enormously help you in your acclimatisation process. It’s called pest control. It costs around $250 a year and a very nice man with a van and some spraying equipment treats your entire home. After that, no more creepy crawlies! I can honestly say I saw a lot more insects in my English home than I ever do now here in Australian.

Now, let’s move into the killers’ category. The main concern here would probably be sharks. Solution: stick to the swimming pool! Not too difficult to do that, there are plenty of pools about. There may even be one in your back garden. What about crocodiles? You can protect yourself against crocodile attacks by doing what 90% or more of all Australians do. Don’t live too far up north.

Now let’s look at the venomous creatures’ category. Snakes! Oh, run out of space. Maybe next month.

Footnote, to my readers here on BobinOz: You’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t talk about snakes in the magazines next issue and so my next reprint won’t be about snakes here on the blog. You’ve probably had enough for a while, time for snakes to have a rest for the colder months, as they do.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Geraldine October 5, 2012, 9:18 am | Link

    Hi Bob, so how does this pest control work ? I mean if it kills the bugs and lasts sometime how is it not harmful to humans? My first priority on arrival will be to book said pest control just don’t want to kill one pest only to be inhaling another. Ta Geraldine

    • BobinOz October 8, 2012, 3:18 pm | Link

      Well, I haven’t croaked it yet and I have had about five pest control treatments to my house. It’s some kind of chemical spray that is applied around the perimeter of your house and in certain vulnerable places inside the house, like underneath the kitchen sink as well as, I think, along some of the skirting boards inside the house.

      Insects that manage to cross that barrier into your house become ill and die within a few hours. Very effective and, I think, pretty harmless to us humans.

  • Steve April 6, 2011, 7:37 pm | Link

    Sorry to pick out the only scary part of this article but when you got bitten by the redback how did you get bitten? ie were you jut walking along or were you gardening? Is there a blog about this?

    We landed in Brisbane yesterday and first impressions are great, adapting to drive here was easy, the few people I have met so far were really friendly and it’s a nice temperature. The only killer I have met so far is the jet lag…

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