Brisbane – More of a Zoo Than a City

I’ve come to a conclusion, a thesis, a manifesto
(actually just the first two terms are accurate, the third one less so.
But I’ll wait until another day to complain about my thesaurus
instead of wasting time now on a topic that could only bore us).

Anyway, to get back on track
what I wish to point out is actually the fact
that although Brisbane has a high level of human habitation
it seems like every time I pass a patch of vegetation
there’s some sort of wildlife waiting to spring out
and this observation has left me with little doubt
that contrary to its image of being civilised through and through
Brisbane’s actually more like a giant, open air zoo.

If I may present my first piece of evidence:
both at the uni and my student residence
there’s bush (or brush) turkeys running around
a phenomenon that can be observed all across town.
They build their big nesting mounds out of leaves
and rotting debris that can be found under almost every tree.

Example two comes from when I was walking down a main road
and I could hardly go a dozen steps without stepping on a cane toad.
They’re all over the place, big, ugly, toxic and amphibious
and even in my home state of WA they’re making an insidious
advance slowly across our northern borders into the Kimberley
(See, I’m not just amusing. I’m educational apparently).

Example three would have to be the swarms of bats,
for those who don’t know, they’re like giant flying rats.
Every night as the sun dips beneath the horizon
anyone who resolves to keep their eyes on
the sky can see them criss-crossing the troposphere
searching for food and colonies far and near.

At the university there’s a pond I found
with a bale of turtles (yes, that’s the collective noun)
and eels as well ( but they were harder to photograph).
As well as a lizard that almost bit me on the calf
(although with good reason I must admit,
I was busy looking at the turtles and almost trod on it)

There’s possums running up and down trees and power poles too.
The first time I saw one from a distance I thought it was a roo,
but then it ran straight up a branch when I got a little nearer
and that made its true identity a whole lot clearer.

Smaller creatures – although getting less attention –
also deserve their own special mention.
Big orange-black spiders build webs between any objects close together
and despite some reassurance I’m still not convinced whether
they’re poisonous or completely harmless.
You know what? I think I’ll try to avoid a bite regardless.

Anyway, I’ve outlined the fauna of the sub-tropic
and in the process I’ve pretty much exhausted this topic.
I feel I’ve achieved what I set out to do,
that is to demonstrate that Brisbane’s like a giant zoo.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hippocraticus
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 05:34:28

    As an urban city slicker and outside observer, I’ve long ago come to the conclusion that Australia (and apparently Brisbane) is one of the most dangerous places to live in. There are various creatures at every turn ready to pounce, kill, and devour you. There are pool spiders the size of baseball mitts, all sorts of lizards and snakes, and god-knows what else.

    Kudos to you for having survived there this long.


    • The Rhyming Med Student
      Feb 11, 2011 @ 12:02:50

      The golden orb spider (the one in the picture) is what worried me most when I came over to Brisbane. They grow to a ridiculous size and seem to be absolutely everywhere. Interestingly, despite their fearsome appearance they’re actually very passive and (allegedly) not that poisonous compared to the more mundane species in my home state.

      So, I’ve discovered it’s not always the conspicuously scary creatures that are dangerous. A few months ago I even saw a rather cheerful poster on a dive boat pointing out that swans have killed as many people as irukandji jellyfish have. I’d still rather fight a swan though 🙂


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