Kevin hates spiders.

At least he says he does. Normally I wouldn’t question a phobia like this, but on a regular basis I open my inbox in the morning to find he’s sent me pictures or videos like this.

If I hated spiders as much as Kevin says he does, I think I’d spend a little less time watching giant ones crawl across a woman’s face.

“Did you see that video?” He asked the last time we spoke. “Those spiders are supposed to be all over Australia. Will I see one when I’m down there?”

“It’s ok. They’re not venomous,” I tried to calm him down. “The bites hurt, but they won’t kill you.”

“You mean they’re not poisonous. That’s a common mistake.”

“No, to call them poisonous is the mistake. The correct term is venomous.”

“That’s backwards,” Kevin is certain. “Google me right later, but it doesn’t matter, all I care about is whether or not I’ll see one.”

“Probably not,” I sighed. “I’ve only ever seen one, and that one was very small.”

“I like those odds. Now, what about snakes? Some of the deadliest snakes in the world are down there.”

He was right, but I’d done some research of my own and had a little surprise in store.

“Kevin, let me ask you something. What do you think is the most dangerous animal in Australia?”

“Are you talking on land or in the water?”

“Either one.”

“I’d say the brown snake on land and sharks in the water, and if I had to pick between those two I’d probably go with the shark.”

“You’re not even close.” I checked the stats I had laid out in front of me. “The animal I’m talking about has killed five times the number of people as sharks.”

“Wait a second,” Kevin began to catch on. “Is this like that hippo thing in Africa where they’re supposedly the most dangerous animal.”

“It’s even worse. Hippos aren’t even domesticated. The answer in Australia is horses.”

“That’s bull.”

“Actually, they come in second. Horses killed seventy-seven people here between 2000 and 2010. Cows and bulls killed thirty-three.”

“What about sharks?” Kevin’s voice went up an octave.

“They didn’t even kill as many people as dogs. In fact, bees, sharks, snakes and crocs are all at the bottom of the list of dangerous animals down here. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but you’re just not in that much danger here.”

“What about Steve Irwin?” This was Kevin’s last resort, one of the few remaining bits of pop culture knowledge he hadn’t yet used in conversation.

“You’re right. If we ever go snorkeling with stingrays, you will have to be careful.”

“Exactly! There are things that will kill you down there.”

“You’re right, Kevin. You’re absolutely right.”

Next Up: Where Does Matt Damon Live?


Part 1: I Would Like to Acknowledge…

Part 2: Educating Kevin About Australia

Part 3: Which Way Do Australian Toilets Flush?

Part 4: What is Macca’s and Why Does Everyone Go There?

Part 5: Where Is Australia on the Map?

Part 6: What is a Democracy Sausage?

Part 7: What’s it Like to Drive on the Other Side of the Road?


Photo by krossbow