"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Spiders and Snakes.

Here is some cheerful reading material for you to look at while I am otherwise engaged, (staring at the white line in the centre of the road) for about 2300 Klms over the next few days.

I’ll post again when the opportunity arises.

Spiders and Snakes.

We are blessed with, or should that read cursed by, having many of the worlds deadliest spiders and snakes here in Australia.

This shouldn’t be as alarming as it may sound though, for all the arachnids and reptiles that are capable of so much destruction the incidence of deaths from bites is really quite small.
As can be seen in the following statistics it is much more dangerous to drive or swim or even to gambol in a field of flowers, where a bee might sting you.

Human Deaths in Australia Between 1980-1990, Inclusive (from Stevens & Paxton, 199

Cause of Death

Total Deaths

Average per year

Crocodile Attacks
Shark Attacks
Lightning Strikes
Bee Stings
Scuba Diving Accidents
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Number of deaths by Spider bites?

In Australia, only male Sydney Funnel Web Spiders and Redback Spiders have caused human deaths, since anti venoms were made available in 1981. Each year in Australia as many as 4,000 people are bitten. Of these 200 require anti venom treatment, and 1 proves fatal.

Number of deaths from Snake bites?

Less than eight presumably. You should also bear in mind that some of the snake attacks would be of people who handle snakes, keep them as pets or other wise live in close proximity to the beasties. Another point is, in the extremely unlikely you are bitten or witness someone else being bitten, do not try to attack the snake as it moves faster then you do and will probably have another go. More people die worrying about snakes (‘I think I saw a snake’, heart attack – thud) than actually get bitten by them.

Alien Abductions

There are few stats on this one but if you do get abducted at least let them know you are on holiday. There are no space tours that I’m aware of and potential for great photography should not be squandered.

The LD50 Described

The LD50 is a standard laboratory test with set guidelines laid down by the World Health Organisation. With the toxicity test in snakes, individual mice within a sample receive equivalent quantities of venom (each mouse is of the same weight). Each sample receives less venom than the previous. The LD50 is the amount of venom administered to each mouse to cause 50% of the sample to die. The lower the LD50 the higher the toxicity is on mice!.

Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) 0.025 0.01

Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) 0.053 0.041

Northern Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) 0.099 0.064

Eastern Mainland Tiger Snake (Notechis s. scutatus) 0.118 0.118

These 4 snakes are considered to be our most venomous, the inland Taipan (worlds deadliest snake) has never been responsible for a single human death (but you wouldn't want to be a mouse!!!)

This cutie is the Eastern Brown and has been responsible for more deaths in Australia than any other snake, one reason being that it is one of the most commonly occurring snakes.

Inland Taipan, highly venomous but a shy snake with a zero kill rate to date.

Tiger Snake, rated as the second highest killer among our snakes, one of the few that can be aggressive particularly during breeding season.

Death Adder, despite its chilling name this guys claim to fame is more a matter of its means of hunting its prey, it buries itself in the loose sand and dust near water and strikes suddenly at its prey from concealment.

White tailed spider, the bite is not fatal but has long lasting tissue destruction and severely painful bites, relatively little is known about these spiders.

The Funnel Web Spider is a resident in the Sydney area, it is Australia's most deadly spider having been know to cause deaths.

The Red-Back Spider, this is the one that likes to co-habituate with humans, and is the one that in mythology lives under the toilet seat just waiting to bite you on the bum.
I have had the dis-pleasure of being bitten by one of these buggers, no, it wasn't under the toilet seat, moderately painful for a couple of days and then itched like you wouldn't believe for the next couple of days


Gattina said...

You must be in a depressive mood with all these misfortunes ! The only thing which could bite me here is a dog or a mosquito, but I don't guarantee for car accidents there we have quite a lot too !

JunieRose2005 said...

Interesting stuff, Peter!



kenju said...

I always wanted to visit your country, but now I'm not so sure, Peter!

Pamela said...

we have the western rattlesnake in the hills around here. I've seen three in the many excursions I've made out and about -- and it made my heart race.
We have hobo spider (which is a funnel web relate) and it causes flesh destruction. There have been bites here in town and they are ugly ugly ugly.

And we have the Black widow (which has the red hourglass on its belly) The widow is very shy - and I have not been aware of anyone being bitten. You would have to be handling it or crawling under a house and corner it.

Glad I read this in the morning so it won't keep me awake tonight.

WT said...

There'd be a lot more venom related deaths if everyone drove snakes.

karisma said...

I have been lucky enough not to run into many snakes around here! Other than a very big red belly black snake who came out of hibernation after the floods the other year (that was on a bush walk) they tend to stay hidden. We do get a lot of brown snakes, but thankfully none in MY yard. I tend to avoid the bush a bit in summer, Im a scaredy cat!

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ Nice bright, cheery post.
Trying to scare the tourists away now? I didn't know you had been bitten by a redback.
Safe travelling over the next few
days, and please give my love to all the folks. I hope Vick is OK and I wsh you all a wonderful Christmas.
Take great care, Love, Merle.

Dave said...

Very cool Peter!!!