Australian’s have an ongoing in-joke…
And the whole point is to freak eager travellers out a little bit. We love to do it, and it’s an unspoken agreement between all Australian’s to just keep the joke going as long as possible. Everything from spiders that can jump ten metres to sharks that have poison venom, you’ll hear some stories created in jest for the sole purpose of freaking you out. But don’t worry, we’re here to set the record straight! Here are the top freaky stories you’ll hear that you can safely laugh at and ignore:
Wear knee-high boots to avoid getting bitten by snakes
You might have heard that Australia is home to the world’s most venomous snakes, this is true. And while you should always take your safety seriously, there is no need to wear protective gear everywhere you go! Snakes like the Brown snake or Red Belly Black don’t like built up areas and prefer to stay in the bush with tall grass. They are much happier there! You’re not about to find one slithering down the busy sidewalk of the city, so don’t stress.
All spiders are dangerous
Sure, Australia has some spiders with a venomous bite, but the most common house spiders are completely harmless. The most common household spiders are the Huntsman and the Daddy Long Legs – and they won’t harm you at all. Having said that, there are spiders you should be aware of, depending on where you live. The Funnel Web, the Redback and the White tail spider are just some to be aware of, but there are simple ways to avoid contact with them. If your shoes are left outside all night just shake them out before you put them on, and if you’re living near tall grass just make sure you don’t go running through it without shoes on! Simple stuff.
If you swim you will get attacked by a shark
Sharks live off the shores of beaches all over the world, but Australia has developed state-of-the-art shark attack prevention methods and many of our beaches are safe to swim in. If the presence of a shark is detected, lifeguarded beaches initiate effective methods to protect you, and they are very good at what they do! If you’re being smart and read the signs on beaches before you jump into the water you’ll have nothing to worry about
Everything in the water will kill you
Wrong. Sure, there are dangerous animals you need to be aware of, but kids grow up in Australia learning about these creatures and most go through life never having an encounter with them. Don’t step into rock pools barefoot if you can’t see what’s under the rocks, exit the water if you see jellyfish and never swim outside the flags if you’re not confident in your ability to navigate rips.
The sun will cook you alive
Australia has the largest record of Melanoma cases in the world, so we take sun safety very seriously! That said, the sun most definitely won’t fry you to a crisp. Being sun smart is easy and if you do it right you’ve got nothing to worry about! Here are some tips from an Aussie-born beach lover:
- Always ear sunscreen, and apply it again AFTER you’ve been swimming
- Stick to the shade where possible
- Wear a hat if you are in the sun all day
- Drink lots of water
- Just because it’s cloudy doesn’t mean you won’t get sunburnt - ALWAYS wear sunscreen while you are outside.
Be aware of Drop Bears
You may have been warned about Drop Bears by the locals. These bears live high up in trees and commonly 'drop' out of the trees and can injure you if you are underneath them. The great news is this story is absolutely a myth! If you are new to Australia, it is a common joke to tell visitors or people new to Australia about drop bears to trick them, but they are actually completely made up! If someone tells you about drop bears, turn the joke back on them by pretending you believe it, and ask them tonnes of questions to see how many facts they can make up at short notice!
Australia is a beautiful country with a lot of unique animals and friendly locals who love to bond with new people by sharing a joke or crazy story! While there are certain safety precautions to take, the likelihood of you having a run-in with any of these dangerous critters is slim. Just listen to the locals, read the signs, be smart and enjoy your Aussie experience!