Saturday, October 2, 2010

Mega fauna

I've always known that Australia was full of mighty interesting creatures and places you'd have to be nuts to stick your finger into.  What I hadn't quite cottoned onto until moving here is that it is also stuffed full of things I'm very familiar with, but in super-sized versions.  Yes, it isn't just some of the houses and cars that are outrageously large in Western Australia; this place also has some ridiculously large insects.

Mostly we find these mega fauna fascinating but there are a few exceptions.  I nearly crashed the car recently when what I was sure was some child's remote-controlled helicopter crashed into the windscreen, but it turned out to be just an enormous dragonfly.  And I'm so over being viewed as a food source by the toe-sized ants we regularly see on our dog walks. 

But there is one hummingbird-sized creature here that really brings out the non-Buddhist in me.

Yes, sadly Mandurah is home to mega fauna mosquitoes. Trillions of them.  These mosquitoes are not just some annoyance; they carry Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest virus so are a serious health menace. The city council takes the issue very seriously and makes great efforts to keep their numbers under control.

Unfortunately my son and I are two of those people who are abnormally attractive to bitey insects.  I can barely dash to the washing-line in the middle of a hot sunny day without being attacked and these beasties just view "natural" repellents as condiments.  When I've thought I was well covered in heavy-duty repellent I've been bitten on the soles of my feet, in the part of my hair and right through the fabric of my pants pants (denim).  I'm stalking eBay for a decommissioned spray-tanning unit or sheep-dipping trough which I plan to fill with DEET so we can get a nice, even, all-over coating before we head outside each morning.

I've been looking hard for the upside to the mega fauna situation and I've found three positives.

Firstly, the serial losers of keys, wallets, goggles and biros in this household now have a new and perfectly plausible explanation: "A bug took it!"

Secondly, I've had the ideal opportunity to chuck out all my old makeup and beauty products and replace them with these new ones.

Thirdly, I've had the perfect excuse to indulge my love of accessories and treat myself to a new hat.

Hmmm. I suspect I'm going to be spending a lot of my time here in the great indoors.

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