As if you needed reminding, the story of Rani the world’s smallest cow has everybody cooing, so naturally I went looking for Oz equivalents and instead can officially confirm that, except for baby wombats, we don’t do cute.
We do big.
For example, Big Moo (186cm / 1.5 tonne) from from Glencoe in South Australia was the biggest steer in the land until recently usurped by Knickers (194cm / 1.4 tonne) from Lake Preston in Western Australia. I’d still give it to Big Moo on weight, though — we’re talking biggest not tallest.
Big in Australia always gets you more than you bargained for. Another example, our biggest kangaroo, Roger from Alice Springs, stood 200cm tall and was build like a prizefighter. He died in 2015 aged 12 but his legend lives on.
Our arachnids aren’t just deadly, they’re also huge. I’d like to say that they are inversely proportional size to deadliness, but that just isn’t true. The funnelweb is a huge spider; but your much more likely to come across 12′ huntsmans like Charlotte, straddling the head of a broom.
You already know that our deadliest snakes (the inland taipan and eastern brown) regularly grow to 200cm in length and can be as thick as your arm, and that our saltwater crocodiles are the largest reptiles on earth, our biggest (8.6m) weighed almost two-tonnes.
But did you know we also grow massive earthworms up to nine feet in length? Or ants two-inches long with a bite that feels like you’ve being tasered? Or gross cockroaches that weigh as much as Snickers bars. that some stupid people keep as pets?
I bet you didn’t know that Australian waters are host to the largest siphonphore ever discovered — 150m long — or that our 2m tall cassowary has been named the ‘most dangerous bird on earth’, making it even more aggressive than our magpie, which makes me shudder to the soles of my feet.
So I wonder what Tourism Australia are thinking with all these cutesy baby wombat stories and shit, when Australia is home to romper-stomping megafauna. Why encourage foreigners to rush back to Oz once the virus is beaten? It’s bloody irresponsible. They don’t mention the giant earthworms, do they? Luring more victims to Oz just varies the diet of our apex predators.
I’d like to say we’ve learned to live with animals that enjoy killing and eating us, but in reality we’re just rolling the dice and hoping for the best, every time we leave our houses. But sure, come to Oz and don’t forget your bikini, the waters boiling!