Port Douglas, Australia: Don’t Read This Until Back Home

Well, we were hanging out with some of our travel buddies tonight who told us about someone’s encounter with a large snake. Actually, it was a snake that went from one side of the road to the other. A bicyclist (a Port Douglas Native) ran over this live “road bump” a few nights ago, right near here.

Then we talked to the waitress in town. She just got over Dengue Fever.

During dinner, we discussed other creature in the Cairns / Port Douglas area. Ray saw several giant bats, though he couldn’t find any crocs on the beach. Then one dinner friend told us that she saw a box jellyfish today when she was out snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.

Now, I can’t sleep even though I’ve checked the room for snakes, so I thought I’d pass along some info to my friends on the OZ trip:

Amethystine Python:
“This is Australia‚Äôs largest snake. It is iridescent greenish, grey or brown, usually with dark lines and streaks above often giving off an amethyst sheen. It has large scales arranged symmetrically on the top of the head. This snake lives in rainforest and open forest. It feeds mainly on mammals and birds and is capable of taking animals as large as a wallaby. Length: Up to 5m (largest recorded 8.5m)”
That’s 26 feet of Port Douglas Python!

Black Flying Fox (Bat):
“The Black Flying-fox (Pteropus alecto) is a fruit bat in the family Pteropodidae. It has short black hair with a contrasting reddish-brown mantel with a mean forearm length of 164 mm and a mean weight of 710 grams. This species had been known to travel up to 50 km a night in search of food. It is one of only eight pteropodids in Australia. These bats form large ‘camps’, or colonies, and are native to Australia (NSW, Qld, NT and WA). They rest in mangroves, paperbark swamps, patches of rainforest and bamboo forests, and very rarely in caves or underneath overhangs. They are one of the largest bat species in the world, and have a wing-span of more than one metre.” wikipedia (That’s a wingspan of more than 3 feet. We saw one on the way home from the restaurant and it was a big mutha.)

My friend with bat-phobia might be interested in this link about people who take in wounded bats:

Bat Sanctuaries.

The Latest News on Dengue Fever:
“The Cairns Regional Council says the State Government needs to provide at least an extra $1 million to help it control the dengue fever epidemic in the state’s far north….He says Cairns’ reputation as a safe tourist destination is being destroyed and he is asking for at least a $1 million.” abc.net.au (Mar. 10, 2009) Hey, only ONE person died!

The Croc Found Along the Local Beaches:
“Saltwater or estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the largest of all living crocodilians and reptiles. It is found in suitable habitat throughout Southeast Asia, Northern Australia, and the surrounding waters. Saltwater crocodiles are known in the Northern Territory of Australia as “salties”. The Alligator Rivers are misnamed after the resemblance of the “saltie” to alligators as compared to freshwater crocodiles, which also inhabit the Northern Territory.”

(When we were on the beach today, I sent Ray to the mangroves to see if there was anything lurking. Nothing, thank God!)

Box Jellyfish:

We had a red flag up on our local beach and that means you can only swim within the jellyfish net area.CLICK TO READ MY ARTICLE ABOUT “BOX JELLYFISH IN PORT DOUGLAS”.

Box Jellyfish are pale blue and transparent and bell or cubed shaped with four distinct sides, therefore the name box jellyfish.
Measuring up to 20 cm along each side of the cube or bell, the Box Jellyfish has up to as many as 15 tentacles on each corner which can be 3 metres in length with up to 5,000 nematocysts (stinging cells). The Box Jellyfish shoots itself along up to speeds of 4 knots in a jet-like motion.

“The season for the Box Jellyfish starts with the onset of the wet across the top of northern Australia, usually around October and lasts until April.

Venom:You have virtually no chance of surviving the venomous sting (of the box jellyfish), unless treated immediately. The pain is so excruciating and overwhelming that you would most likely go into shock and drown before reaching the shore. So don’t go swimming alone!”

Well, sleep tight.


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