Giant spiders, sharks and flesh-eating bugs

Australia, take a bow. In one short month, we’ve terrified the world with giant travelling spiders and now flesh eating sea fleas. As the shadows lengthen in the northern hemisphere and summer swings back our way, there’ll be quite a few Britons and Americans rethinking their travel plans.

Understand it from their perspective. 

A couple of weeks ago the British were horrified when a huntsman spider infiltrated a shipping container and emerged when it was being unpacked in the UK. “The size of a guinea pig!” screamed one media outlet, much to the amusement of us Aussies.

Most of us don’t mind the huntsman unless, of course, it drops into our lap from behind the sun visor in the car. Then, we scream. At home, though, we’re reasonably comfortable with it. After all, it eats mozzies and caterpillars and other pests that invade our homes in summer.

As a nation, we like to think we’re pretty tough. Remember the old fisho up north a couple of months back who had a big shark jump into his runabout while out angling? Despite the injuries as the monster thrashed about in the bottom of his boat, he seemed to take the encounter in his stride. There was no way this brush with death was going to stop him heading out chasing snapper.

Here on the coast, we’re sensibly wary of venomous snakes but pythons? Happy to have them in the garden as long as they keep away from the chooks. Roos the size of ponies? Half the time we share the local golf course with them.

We say we’re sensible about sharks too but surfers seem happy to chance their arms and legs on point breaks in the gloom of dawn and dusk just to get that wave.

But the experience of Sam Kanizay, the Victorian lad attacked by flesh eating sea bugs, has pushed even the toughest Aussie to the brink of fear.

To the brink, that is, no further.

It’s a different story out there in the world, however. Google “flesh eating sea bugs” and pages of links are returned as the world’s media has a feeding frenzy on the tiny creatures that had a feeding frenzy on Sam. 

The notion that all of Australia’s creature want to poison, kill or eat you has been “confirmed” to the power of 10, which must have the tourism industry ever so slightly worried. 

There’s a chance there will be fewer Clapham or Connecticut accents heard on our beaches this summer, which gives us locals more room to brave the sharks and flesh eating sea bugs.