Friday, August 14, 2009

Mostly Harmless

Gavin: My morning routine these days is to help get the kids ready for school, put them on the school bus, and then go for a run on the beach. Well, more of a jog, really. Ok, I don't actually spend the whole time jogging, I usually get distracted by a pretty shell or interesting critter washed up on the shore.

So maybe it'd be more accurate to say that I beachcomb strenuously.

Anyway, this morning I ran to where Wongaling Creek enters the ocean, where I found this interesting critter:

I had no idea sting rays would or could swim up freshwater creeks. And maybe they're not supposed to; this one was dead.

Maybe it didn't hear about what happened to Steve Irwin, and was Crocodile Hunter Hunting; there are, after all, crocodiles in Wongaling Creek:

I've been browsing through Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland, and most of the wildlife here is harmless. True, page 6 has a wonderful picture of the Box Jellyfish, which can kill you, the Snakes section is pretty alarming, and the entry on the Estuarine Crocodile says "adults rarely exceed 5m (16feet)." Oh, good, they only RARELY grow to be longer than a Hummer!

If you focus on one little thing it's easy to lose perspective. The reality is that horses, cows, and dogs kill more Australians every year than sharks, crocodiles and jellyfish. And way more people are killed every year in car crashes.

So we're going to obey the speed limit and wear our seatbelts. We'll stop swimming in the ocean in October, when the jellyfish really get going, won't go swimming in random creeks or rivers, and will stay well away from any snakes (it's pretty darn unlikely we'll run into the world's deadliest snake).

And we'll keep enjoying all of the rest of the wonderful, beautiful, mostly harmless creatures that live here.

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