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      CommentAuthorGreasemonkey
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011 edited
     (10259.21)
    Here's the innocuous-looking Cup Moth caterpillar then. Used to get stung by these while climbing trees as a kid, and it hurt like a motherfucker.

    • CommentAuthorDC
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011 edited
     (10259.22)
    GAAH I'm out! Warn me when the bugs-that-should-be-killed-with-fire are over!!
    EDIT: These are the bugs I use as an example of the absurdity of "intelligent design". What kind of omnipotent entity creates such vicious things?!
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10259.23)
    @DC: A son of a bitch, that's who.
  1.  (10259.24)
    Am I going overboard with this, Si? I'll cut it out if it's creeping out the customers too much.
  2.  (10259.25)
    [Si is currently unavailable, having gouged out his own eyes with a teaspoon.]
  3.  (10259.26)
    Thinking about it: no problem with the occasional picture in this thread, in as much as they illustrate/inform the story they're each attached to. But let's not turn this into a rolling imagefest.
    •  
      CommentAuthornelzbub
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011
     (10259.27)
    Ah Australia, the land where everything is trying to kill you!
    I can remember staying at some distant in-laws in northern New South Wales many years ago and on their bookshelf was a tome called, I think, ' Australia's Dangerous Animals' in TWO huge volumes. I spent a good few days freaking myself out thoroughly.
    As if all the things that can kill you aren't bad enough, even worse are some of the things that let you live but just rot the flesh off you after one bite, or the bullet ants, so named because apparently being bitten by one feels much like being shot.
    My own antipodean near death experience was as much a result of my own stupidity as any thing else and whenever I share it with an Australian they often look at me as though I really shouldn't be alive at all. I guess such levels of idiocy have been reduced through Darwinism over there.
    I fear I may go over my 300 words with this one, apologies in advance, please spare my urethra!
    •  
      CommentAuthornelzbub
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011 edited
     (10259.28)
    edited (removed) while I work on my brevity!
  4.  (10259.29)
    50 words over the word limit, I'm not going to whinge. 474 words over the limit is taking the piss.

    It's there for a reason. Brevity is brilliance.

    I'll give you an hour to abridge or destroy.
    •  
      CommentAuthornelzbub
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011
     (10259.30)
    on it
    •  
      CommentAuthornelzbub
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011
     (10259.31)
    still working on it, but in the meantime, the very short version:
    On my holidays I nearly got bitten by a snake and died. It was very scary.
    •  
      CommentAuthornelzbub
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011 edited
     (10259.32)
    millenium, visiting my folks in Melbourne.

    On a weekend's driving in nothern Victoria I saw some aboriginal rock paintings marked on the map. Now these are generally not accessible to the public and I persuaded the family to detour into the middle of nowhere to see them.

    Not expecting to be longer than twenty minutes , I ventured out in my shorts and flip-flops, no water, no hat.

    A big rock stood in the bush and a path led to an overhang where the paintings were. After a few pictures I wandered off for a smoke before going back.

    Walking round the rock I saw the back was very climbable and up I went, thinking to wave from above. I reached the top with an easy scramble and walked accross the flat top to the edge, where I thought everyone should be. But they weren't.

    I called out, no reply. . .

    I must have been looking out over the wrong edge. The direction I should be pointing seemed to involve some tricky climbing so I decided to go back exactly the way I 'd come and turned round to do so.

    My eye was caught by a pink flower and I remember thinking 'I don't remember noticing that' in the miliseconds as I focused ..

    It wasn't a pink flower...

    It was the wide open mouth of a black snake, coiled and ready to strike.

    I had obviously stepped right over it as I'd walked to the edge and it was mighty pissed off with me, ruling out any idea of going back that way.

    Completely on automatic I scrambled backwards over the edge before I'd had time to finish screaming.
    The next hour, fighting my way through the dense undergrowth, gave me plenty of time to remember black tiger snake bites are generally lethal unless treated inside an hour, as I struggled through the bush many hours from medical help.

    I'm not too proud to say that I cried when I finally found the very worried family, about to phone an alarm.
    I had travelled less than 100 metres the whole time and despite screaming at the top of my lungs, they had heard nothing!

    I spent the rest of that trip indoors, twitching slightIy.
    •  
      CommentAuthornelzbub
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011
     (10259.33)
    Si,
    I cut more than half of it but still a touch long. was really the best I could manage.. (endeavoring not to take the piss)
  5.  (10259.34)
    'S fine.
  6.  (10259.35)
    Ah, the lovable snakes of Australia.

    Cutting class one day in 1980, my friend Bill and I sneaked down the back of the soccer field to the creek which ran along the boundary of our school. There was a path along the creek through the dense undergrowth, which was a popular way to escape from school undetected. Bill and I walked a few yards down the path, sat down for a breather, when I felt something cool brush against the side of my hand. We were sitting in a dense patch of glossy green creepers, and just visible next to my left hand was about two inches of black, shiny, scaly reptilian back. Failing to check the ground first, I'd come within a couple of inches of sitting on a red-bellied blacksnake. I can only guess that it didn't bite me because it was mostly under the creepers and couldn't rear back to strike.

    I think I temporarily gained the power of levitation, and possibly teleportation, because my next clear memory is of standing on the Victoria Road bridge about a hundred yards down the path.

    The red-bellied blacksnake is something of a handsome fellow.

  7.  (10259.36)
    @Greasemonkey - yeah, that kind of shit's why I'm happy living in England, where the most poisonous bit of wildlife is the adder, which hasn't managed to kill anyone since the '70s I believe...

    Mostly harmless but...

    Probably about 10 years ago I was out walking in Cornwall, in probably one of my favourite places on Earth, Pentire Head near Polzeath. It was early morning and I was on my own. I became aware of a herring gull that seemed to be following me. I was a bit concerned, the thing kept circling as I walked along the path and was coming lower and lower. Eventually, as I got to a section of the path that was little more than a foot wide with a pretty sheer drop of probably 200ft down to the rocks and the sea, the fucker attacked. It made a screeching dive for my head with its talons outstretched and I ducked. Then it went up for another pass. The worst thing was, it was coming from the land side so I was at very serious risk of falling off the cliff if it got me off balance. It missed on the second pass as well - I fell sideways landward and it went just past my head. I'd kind of had enough of this shit at this point. The next time it fell screeching out of the sky at my face I took a swing at it with my Nikon FM2, a big old chunk of proper metal camera. It connected, the thing went wheeling and screeching away and I got the fuck off that cliff as fast as I possibly could, looking over my shoulder the whole time. I was pretty shaken up though. Vicious feathery bastard.
  8.  (10259.37)
    Y'know, all this talk of snakes does remind me of one story...

    It was back when I was in primary school (elementary school for Americans and other Aliens). I was crossing the playground one day and noticed a bunch of kids bunched around the toilets. Naturally I wandered across to see what was up and discovered them clustered around a patch of ground containing a small (3-4 inch) snake.

    "Cool snake!" I exclaimed, which caused some consternation as my peers had gathered for some other reason and hadn't actually noticed the reptile's presence.

    Sensing the potential for snakebite and/or a communal stomp-fest I seized control, deputising a few other students to maintain order while I took off for the back of one of the school buildings where some girls had recently been playing with a 'first aid kit' consisting of some cheap medical supplies in an ice-cream bucket. Grabbing it, I raced back and carefully lifted the snake into said bucket with q-tips before setting out to find a teacher.

    Unfortunately at this point some of the girls turned up, having seen me racing around with their precious bucket. Before I could explain, one of them went to grab it and the situation quickly degenerated into a bucket tug of war, with me yelling “there's a snake in it!” and the girls shrieking incoherently about my 'stealing' their first aid kit.

    The snake apparently wasn't pleased with this situation and decided to protest by suddenly rearing up out of the cotton balls and striking at the girl gripping the bucket. It missed, but prompted her to let go and run off screaming. This thankfully attracted a teacher who was able to assume control and, once reassured that I hadn't planted the snake in some scheme to cause death or injury, released it outside school grounds.

    To this day it's still the only wild snake I've ever seen.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFishelle
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011
     (10259.38)
    Come to think of it, I have a snake story, too.

    I grew up in the Utah desert, and basically there's two kinds of snakes you find out there. One is a harmless garter snake, the other is a rattlesnake. They can be small enough to hold up with a thumb and forefinger, or as long as a man is tall, and both are the color of sand.

    One day, a childhood friend and I were walking down the street, and we found a snake. It was little and cute, and I may have just been talking about how I wanted a pet. So we lured it into a cheap plastic pencil box. We walked around for a bit, and the snake stayed in the pencil box and bounced around while we walked.

    We went to the library and decided to open the box and check on it. For obvious reasons, the snake was pissed. It sort of hissed, reared it's head back a little and opened it's mouth, and we promptly closed the box on it's head. My friend may have screamed.

    So there we were, in the library with an angry snake in a pencil box. My friend remembered that we had never looked to see if it had a rattle. It seemed to be making that noise. So, an angry rattlesnake in a pencil box, then.

    We asked the librarian what to do. We wanted them to look and see if it was a rattlesnake after all. They told us to go put it in the grass, preferably near where we had found it. So we walked back to my street, terrified of little fangs piercing the pencil box the whole way.

    When we released it, we saw that it was just a garter snake. Of course.
    •  
      CommentAuthorPurple Wyrm
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011 edited
     (10259.39)
    What is it with kids sticking snakes in flimsy plastic containers? :)

    For the record, mine was probably a dugite, of which Wikipedia says "Its venom is potentially one of the most lethal in the world, causing coagulopathic and procoagulant effects."

    (I don't even know what those words mean)
  9.  (10259.40)
    Blood go plotz.