Box Jelly fish
Many English people won't holiday in Australia for fear of snakes. Perhaps this fear is understandable considering that Australia has the ten most venomous snakes in the world and the most intimidating wildlife a Pom has ever encountered is a ruminating cow.
But although Australian snakes are venomous, they are not dangerous unless someone does something silly like try to catch or kill them. They are timid creatures that flee if a human gets within about five meters of them. If they are accidentally stepped on, their first reaction is to escape, and second is to bite. If they do bite after being startled, they usually don't inject venom.
But like every country, there are silly people in Australia and so snakebites do occur. One example of such sillyness occurred when a Darwin man was having a few beers with his mate while driving home from Mandorah. Along the side of the road he spotted a King Brown and decided to catch it for the Mandorah Pub's fish tank. As his right hand was being used to hold his beer, he grabbed it with his left and was subsequently bitten. He threw the snake in a plastic bag but for some reason, then decided to stick his hand into the bag and was duly bitten another eight times.
As the poison went to work, his mate applied first aid by pouring beer over his head and whacking him across the face. It wasn't an effective treatment as he ended up in a coma for six weeks. His left arm withered and died and had to be amputated. On the positive side, he still kept the use of his right arm for holding his beers in the future.
Yet despite such would-be Steve Irwins wanting to see their life flash before their eyes, and many drunk Aussies taking off their clothes and running naked through the bush after a B&S ball, only 0.13 of every million deaths in Australia are the result of a snake bite.
For reasons that are not easy to explain, it seems that the snake lends itself to a number of silly myths. One of these is that Australia has a species of hoop snake its tail in its mouth to make a wheel and then goes bowling merrily along. Another myth is that snakes milk cows. The myth proposes that when the farmer is not looking, the snake emerges from a hole, slithers up to the cow’s udder and then has a drink or two. A third myth is that Tiger snakes hold a grudge. The myth proposes that if you kill one, its mate will track you down to get its revenge! (Just think a reptile version of terminator.) A final myth proposes that snakes hypnotise their prey. The myth seems to propose that after evolution gave the snakes the power to immobilise prey with a single bite, the snakes decided that hey would prefer to use their brains and persuade their prey to stay still.
Activity 1- Why the myths are silly
It seems fear allows silly myths to develop. Look at the following myths about snakes and explain why they really are ridiculous.
Activity 2 - Icon
Below are examples of the image of the Snake being used in popular culture. For each example, try to speculate what the designers/selectors were hoping to achieve by using the image of the Snake.
Activity 3 - Industry