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What Can't Kill You in Australia?

Australia’s perilously long list of things that will try to kill you just got longer. The deadly garden slug (A.K.A. the common garden slug) is the latest addition to the lineup, joining the ranks of the jellyfish, hermit crabs, gimpie gimpie plant, platypus, cane toads, snakes, sharks, spiders, crocs, that one Steve Irwin stingray and thousands of miles of desert. From the NYT:

An Australian man has been hospitalized for more than a month in serious condition as a result of eating two garden slugs on a dare, according to Australian news media and ProMED , an online service that tracks disease outbreaks.

The 21-year-old Sydney man apparently contracted a rat lungworm parasite from the slugs, which pick it up from rodent droppings. The parasite, a nematode called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, can cause fatal brain swelling […]

“We hope this will help to remind others to avoid eating raw slugs,” the moderator, Eskild Petersen, said.

Duly noted; we intend to cut back severely on the consumption of underdone slugs. Nevertheless, Via Meadia warmly recommends Australia as a great place to visit. As long as something doesn’t kill you, you will have a great time. Kids enjoy it too and over the years an assortment of Mead nephews has stalked wild kangaroos, swum with the sharks on the Barrier Reef and dodged flying foxes on the fringes of the rain forest. We have every intention of going back for more.

But given Australia’s elevated exchange rate these days, it may be time to stick closer to home.  Prolific Via Meadia intern and proud Canadian Tom Hunt recommends the Great White North, where (he claims) the exchange rate is less brutal and travelers only have to worry about bears, wolves, revenge minded United Empire Loyalists, and the tar sands.

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  • dearieme

    When we went to live in Oz we were very aware of their venomous creatures. A sense of proportion was restored by a newspaper article referring to “killer European wasps”.

  • Andrew Allison

    Much as I hate to criticize Prof. Mead’s wonderful tongue-in-cheek prose, to which I look forward eagerly every day, “Australia’s perilously long list of things that will try to kill you just got longer . . .” is a bit of a crock (sorry!). The only members of the line-up that will actually try to kill you are crocs and, by mistake, sharks (an average of about one fatality per year apiece). The mind boggles at the thought of a plant having homicidal intent, as it does at that for one of Australia’s deserts. These and the other suspects require the assistance of suicidal victims to do the job.

  • Eric Roche

    Regretfully another US tourist was eaten yesterday whilst swimming, by a great white off Rottnest Island in WA.

    On the other hand speaking of exchange rates we’ve given the world three currencies: the emu (dromaius novaehollandiae), the euro (macropus robustus erubescens) and, recently, the redback (latrodectus hasselti).

  • Toni

    Bill Bryson is most amusing about Oz’s hazards (and much else) in “In a Sunburned Country.”

  • Soul

    Figure someday I’ll make it to the mysterious and deadly Oz for a visit. Figure any country where the majority live with in 20 miles of the beach are my kind of people.

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