Friday, December 08, 2006

I don't mean to bug ye...

Australia has a reputation of being an environment packed with spectacularly dangerous fauna. Step into the water and if the sharks don't get you the jellyfish, Blue Ring Octopus or the crocodiles will have you sooner than you can you can say "Wahhh, arggh , agghh!". Not that the crocodiles care much whether you've taken the (suicidal) step into the water. They're quite happy to snap you up on land too.

On land, apart from sunbathing crocs, there are snakes (select from; Tiger, Broad-headed, Red-bellied Black, Eastern Brown , Golden-crowned, Taipan) and spiders (like these friendly fellows). It probably comes a a surprise to many of you that I've survived the initial months here in Oz.

The spiders, in particular, are viewed by foreigners as presenting a serious mortal risk. These venomous polypeds skulk in letterboxes and toilets, silently waiting, ravenous for human flesh. Then there's the big spiders; the size of dinner plate and capable of swallowing a child whole. Personally, I don't know what the fuss is all about.

The thing that annoys me is not the toothy or poisonous beasties, it's the insects. Specifically the cockroaches. I passed a huntsman spider on the road the other day. (This isn't the run in to a joke, I actually passed it on the pavement). He was going the other way, as happy as you like, not bothered with anyone and minding his own business. Descent skin, I thought. Roaches are a different breed.

You switch on a light and roaches that have been surreptitiously gathering scatter instantly. This is because they're up to no good and they know it. They skulk about and preoccupy themselves with knowing their way around your stuff. They are the opportunist, itinerant criminal of the insect world.

I saw a presentation at the zoo recently suggesting that the most humane way to dispose of them was to catch them and pour boiling water on them. To me it is not at all obvious that humane disposal is the way to go. What kind of message does that send? We need a deterrent. The most effective deterrent I can think of is to hand the little fellows over to a 7-year-old boy and ask no questions. Word will soon get around the cockroach fraternity that you're not to be trifled with.

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