My first encounter with the cane toad was during my 1st year of Uni in zoology class. The department had imported cane toads all the way from the north to go under the knives of freshie dental students. Some students wouldn't do it. "Poor toads" they said. I remember my tutor quiped "They're pests so don't feel bad about it."
The cane toads were brought to Australia to counter the cane beetles in Cairns but they turned out to be worst than the pests they were brought in to kill. They not only poison humans, pets, and prey on native faunas but also eat large number of honey bees and carry diseases that can be transmitted to native frogs and fish.
If you see one kill it but be careful not to touch it. It's poisonous. To quote VT friend Laurie aka australia2: "I stabbed one right through with a pitchfork prong one night and when we looked in the morning it was still alive! I threw a house brick down on one and it survived.". Nothing works as good as a car over it I guess. I'd heard them croaking at night after the rain, but hadn't actually seen one, until yesterday, this unlucky fella was ran over by my neighbour's 4x4, right in front of my driveway, as flat as a pancake.
Enlarged pic may offend. Please do not click on it if you pass out on the sight of blood and guts.
If swimming always take note of warning signs for crocodiles,and even with out signs proceed with caution never take any situation for granted a good tip is to try to stick to shallow flowing bits of creeks or rivers and steer clear of the deeper darker sections thats often where crocs lurk...
There're 2 species of poisonous spiders in Australia, both are deadly: the funnel web spider and the red back spider. Fortunately the funnel web spiders are found around Sydney, on the NSW coast and in south-east QLD so you probably wont come across them in Isa.
The red back spider is small, normally black with a red stripe on the back and is found throughout most parts of Australia (though I've never seen them in Victoria).
I moved to a new (a very old house actually) place in Isa with a big backyard because the previous place was too small to accommodate my very active red heeler. When I was unpacking the stuff I noticed my dog trying to eat something behind the fridge. Curious I went over to have a look and there they were, 2 spiders with red backs. Thinking they were the highly venomous red backs I decided to kill them before they kill me so I squashed them with my dog's favourite chewing stick.
If unfortunately you've been bitten by a red back, apply a cold pack to relieve pain but don't apply pressure pack as venom moves slowly and pressure worsens pain.
Common early symptoms are:
- pain at the site of bite which then becomes general
- sweating (always including local sweating at bite site)
- muscular weakness or spasm
- nausea and vomiting
- dizziness and sometimes faintness
- rapid pulse
Antivenom is available and no deaths have occurred since its introduction so make sure you seek medical aid immediately and bring the spider for positive identification.
Check out the website for more info on the Red Backs:
Red Back Spiders
Go ahead, call me a sadist or whatever, I dont care, I stick by my rule, no swerving or turning to avoid any animals that get into my path on the road. It's either them or me, and you should do the same too. Most fatalities on Australian roads resulted from people trying to avoid the animals. If you can't slow down soon enough, DO NOT PANIC, unless it's a cow you'll be safer to ram into it.
If, unfortunately, something went under your wheels, do your fellow road travellers a favour, pull your kill to the roadside. It'll be much appreciated, nobody likes to run over a dead body.
It can get very hot in summer. It's been over 40 degrees Celcius everyday since I came over. June, July and August are the only months when the mean daily temperatures are below 20 degrees Celcius. The wet season usually occurs during the December - March period but it's still considerably dry. Don't forget that sunblock, hat, sunnies and drink lots of water to prevent dehydration!
The road train is a common sight in this part of the country. Allow plenty of room before you overtake road trains (some can be more than the length of 10 cars!) and be prepared for them to sway a little as you overtake. Also be prepared for “windrush” when passing as it can pull you towards the road train.
This particular road train was beautifully painted with traditional Aboriginal paintings. Pic only shows 1/3 of the vehicle!
In summer, the heat can be very depressing. Expect over 40 degrees by around midday.
On a hot, still day, if the mine is working, the sulphur fumes can be quite exphixiating and it takes a few days to get used to it.
Not really suitable for kids.