Everything you wanted to know about Australian animals (but were too afraid to ask)

One of the most endearing things about our American friends is the adorable questions they ask about Australian flora and fauna.

When I travelled to the USA for the first time (in the year 2000) for my brother’s big fat Long Island Jewish wedding, I was delighted to be asked many of those fauna-related questions that I had honestly believed to be the stuff of myth and legend.

So, here’s a selection of my particular favourites:

Q. Do you know the Crocodile Hunter?
A. Huh?
(remember, this was the year 2000. Not only was Steve Irwin still alive, but he hadn’t even registered a blip in Australia yet)

Q. OK, but, like, do you have crocodiles in your rivers and swimming pools?
A. Well, not locally… but I’ll have to say yes. I hear that drunk people in North Queensland get eaten fairly regularly.

Q. Is it true that potholes in Australia roads are caused by wombats?
A. Potholes are normally created by hopeless federal government bureaucrats who only think about our decaying highways in the last 5 minutes running up to an election, and then decide it’s actually the state government’s problem (or vice versa). Wombats are much more likely to form semi-mobile meandering roadblocks at dusk, totalling your car and traumatising your passengers for life.

Q. Do kangaroos hop down streets in Australia?
A. (Thankfully, truthfully, excitedly) Yes yes yes!!!! But only in Canberra. And it’s by far the most entertaining thing that ever happens there.

Q. Do koalas live up telegraph poles?
A. I hope not. Because if they do, we’ve failed them entirely. I like to think that there are still a few gum trees out there for them to inhabit. And, coincidentally, did you know that they’re always a bit drunk on the natural alcohol found in the leaves?

Q. Aren’t your bugs like… deadly dangerous?
A. Have you seen a MOOSE???? Or a GRIZZLY BEAR???? I know what I’d be more scared to meet on a dark night. 

Anyway, because I like to foster this natural curiosity about Australian fauna, when my second cousin was born in New York it seemed only fitting to send him his own little piece of Australia. These are Judy and Liza, and they’re only a tiny bit tipsy.

Judy and Liza are also at my etsy store.

Finally, and totally unrelatedly, I’d also like to share my most favourite linguistic difference between Australians and Americans. I was trying to explain to some friendly folks at my brother’s wedding why I found “Hicksville” in Brooklyn so hilarious, and was met by utterly, completely blank stares. “Well, in Australia, when you say Hicksville it’s like, hmm… you know, the middle of nowhere? Where yokels live?”. “Oh, BUMBLEFUCK!!!!” exclaimed the Americans to my surprise and delight. “We call that BUMBLEFUCK NOWHERE!”.

What can I say, I just love Americans! You guys rock.

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~ by Niccola on August 28, 2009.

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