This article was originally published on TheFunPost
Australia, also known as the land down under is known for all sorts of special reptiles, vegetation, and aquatic life that makes it truly special. All of these things sound pretty normal, but when you see them in action they are anything but. Not to mention all the other crazy things they have going on down there! Take a look at some of the strangest things Australia has to offer, but be warned—some of them are not for the faint of heart!
Tiny Geckos And Large Lizards Live In Perfect Harmony
Lizards are neat reptiles. They are basically the direct descendants of dinosaurs, and you can kind of imagine what their ancestors would have looked like millions of years ago. In most places, we just have the common gecko, which is adorable and about the size of a hand. In Australia, they have cute geckos and gigantic lizards that like to pretend they are geckos. Now, imagine walking outside, and you see this 'gecko' hanging out.
Most peoples' first reaction would be to scream in terror and run away. For Aussies, seeing a 6-foot long goanna is just a part of life.
Australians Have A Good Sense Of Humor For Road Signs
Most countries have the standard "Watch out for..." wildlife signs. Deer love to leap into oncoming traffic, and in Australia, apparently, so do cassowary birds. The cassowary is a large bird that can often be seen crossing roads, and no driver wants to hit one. That being said, the Australian road authorities still thought it would be pretty funny to show the before and after images of what a cassowary looks like on a road.
Roadkill is never nice to see, but this cartoon rendering is a lot less gross and sad than the real deal. This is a great awareness-raising sign.
Everything Is Bigger In The Land Down Under Including Pinecones
Everywhere you look large animals, and plants seem to abound in Australia. All of that natural flora and fauna really does make you feel like you might be visiting Mother Nature's version of Jurassic Park. They say, "Everything is bigger in Texas" but we think that might be better applied to Oz. Just take a look at this mighty pinecone which looks like it fell from a gigantic tree.
The pinecone is bigger than this little boy's head and comes from the might Bunya pine tree. You have to be careful when walking underneath one of these trees, otherwise you might wind up with one of these massive pinecones on your head.
Crocodiles Are Pretty Decent Body Surfers Once They Get Going
Surfing is one of those sports that takes some serious dedication to the waves, and the ability to stand up on a surfboard without toppling over each time. Body surfing is a whole lot easier. You just glide along the waves and try not to get tumbled underneath of them. In Australia, the might crocodile also enjoys a body surfing session once in a while, which can make swimming even more dangerous.
Nobody wants to paddle along only to see the jaws of a crocodile coming for them or the fin of a shark off in the distance.
Spooky Season Comes To The Land Down Under With Spider Frost
When you think of Australia, you don't usually think of snow and spider frost is decidedly un-frosty in the traditional sense. When the rains come to some of the territories and states, a rare phenomenon happens known as spider frost. Slowly but surely, the spiders begin to build a sprawling web all over the ground, and any others items in the area. These sweeping spider webs serve an important purpose.
The webs allow the spiders to stay above the wet ground, which could potentially kill them. This network of webs helps them scurry around and catch food, but it is definitely haunting to see.
No Shoes, No Service Doesn't Exist In Australia's Urban Centers
In some places, there will be a sign that says, "No shoes, no shirt, no service." Those signs aren't going to be found in many places in the land down under. After all, it is an island country surrounded by beautiful beaches and coastline where most of the population resides. Heading to a store without shoes is totally normal there, and many people wander into stores without fancy footwear on their feet.
Walking barefoot is very comfortable as long as floors are clean, and there is nothing you can cut your feet on. This is one trend that should be adopted worldwide.
A Real Life Cassowary Looks A Whole Lot Different Than A Cartoon
We've seen the before and after signs for what a cassowary looks like, but the real-life version is rather intimidating. These exotic birds, just like the giant lizards really seem to pay homage to their dinosaur ancestors. The clawed feet and sharp beaks on a cassowary make them pretty intimidating to look at and for good reason. There have been a variety of incidents involving cassowaries attacking vehicles and even humans.
The wildlife in Australia is just that - wild. Always be aware of the animals around you, because this really is the animal kingdom and they are prepared to defend it.
Steve Irwin The Former Crocodile Hunter Is A True Legend
Steve Irwin was the kind of explorer that managed to make the reptiles of Australia and other creepy crawlies totally accessible. He starred in his Discovery Channel program called "The Crocodile Hunter" for 11 years until 2006 when he tragically passed away. During his time on the show, he would wrestle crocodiles, chase down snakes, and handle everything in a confident manner only a true explorer has. It brought him international acclaim, and his family has continued in the same line of work.
His daughter Bindi has embraced her father's passion for animals and even had her very own show called "Bindi the Jungle Girl." Steve will always be remembered.
Temperatures Can Get So Hot That Shoes Can Melt
As a continent, country, and island, Australia is home to some pretty diverse biomes. The climate fluctuates depending on where you are in the country, with the inner part experiencing some of the highest temperatures. Another item to note is that the seasons are opposite to North America's because they are situated in the Southern Hemisphere. Christmas is held in the summer, which means summer dresses and shorts are the norm.
Some summers will see temperatures reach record-breaking highs, and it's at that point that asphalt becomes hot enough to melt flip flops. Australians must always carry a spare pair!
Kangaroos Get Up To All Kinds Of Trouble When Left Unattended
The kangaroo is the national animal of Australia and for good reason. These feisty animals are said to outnumber the population in a 2:1 ratio, and they cannot hop backward. That means there are a lot of them, and they are always moving forward. With so many kangaroos roaming around, they tend to end up in residential areas more often than not. Like goats, they possess the ability to climb almost anything.
This little guy decided he wanted to see what his land looked like from the roof, and a quick hop got him where he needed to go.
The Only Egg Laying Mammals In The World Are Found Here
While massive dinosaur-looking birds can be found in Australia, so can adorable little egg-laying mammals. If you think back to high school biology class, you probably learned that a mammal is an animal that gives birth to its young, rather than laying eggs like reptiles. This is not a rule though, there are two mammals that lay eggs and they are only found in Australia. They are called the spiny echidna and the duck-billed platypus.
Both of these little critters are adorable, but they are wild. If you come across them, leave them in peace and just watch from afar.
You Can Actually Go Skiing And Snowboarding On The Snowy Mountains
Tourism in the land down under tends to focus on the beaches, surfing, and cosmopolitan city life. The Snowy Mountains which have great skiing are often overlooked. They might just be one of the best-kept secrets though. Each year the so-called Australian Alps get blanketed in snow, and most of the time it is more snow than the Austrian Alps which are much better known. That means you can go skiing and surfing all in a day.
Maybe the Snowy Mountains have been kept a secret to avoid hoards of tourists descending on them each season. It might just be time to go check them out.
Koalas Are As Curious As Cats When They Feel Like It
Koalas look like stuffed animals that should be cuddled, but they are not as cute as they look in terms of personality. These little guys are incredibly curious and can even be vicious when they feel threatened. When this camera crew showed up and left their camera unattended, this koala decided it was time to learn about videography and host his very own nature documentary. We're not sure what his commentary in koala was like.
This just proves that koalas are as curious as cats, and their little paws make it very easy for them to push buttons on whatever equipment they come across.
Swearing Is An Art Form And A Great Way To Communicate
Swearing is not necessarily the best use of language, but it is something that every language on the planet has. Even in English, there are a variety of different swear words used depending on the English-speaking country you are in. Australians, in particular, tend to swear a bit more than the average bear, and their cuss words are particularly creative. Most of the time swearing occurs when caught in traffic.
However, some words that might be considered inappropriate outside of Australia are used fairly commonly. To keep this list PG, we won't list them!
Magpies Are The Vermin Of The Air And Must Be Avoided
The black and white magpie is known for being a fairly curious bird. They are attracted to shiny objects and often like to snatch them and hide them in their nests. We don't blame them, shiny things are pretty neat. However, there is a time in Australia known as swooping season, and it is one that everyone must be very wary of. This is when the magpies are mating and have nests.
People riding bikes during this time tend to wear these very spiky-looking helmets. The spikes keep the magpies from getting close enough to peck them.
The World Cockroach Racing Championship Has A Home In Australia
In hot and humid places there exists a bug that has managed to withstand the sands of time and is almost impossible to kill without a shoe. That bug is the cockroach, and they can grow as big as a palm and fly around. As far as bugs go, they are pretty gross but there is a select group of people that finds racing them particularly entertaining. Since 1982, Australians have been racing cockroaches.
It all started when a group at a hotel wanted a sport to bet on, and it has since grown in popularity. To witness this important race, head down under for January 26th, if you dare.
Pink Lakes Dot The Island And Are Safe For Swimming
Pink lakes have to be one of the most beautiful water features in the world. That pink hue is not special to Australia though. Many other countries have pink lakes, Mexico being one of those. The color itself is caused by algae in the lake and their reaction to microbes. These lakes look more like strawberry milkshakes than bodies of water that invite swimmers to come and lounge in them.
The most well-known pink lake in Australia is called Lake Hillier, and while you may want to swim in it you can't. It can only be seen by airplane, helicopter, and possibly an all-terrain vehicle.
Meet The Real Tasmanian Devil On The Island of Tasmania
Tasmanian devils aren't all like the cute creature you see in the "Looney Tunes." These mammals are native to Tasmania which is an island state in Australia. These little guys are pretty sassy and love snacking on freshly caught meat. They do look rather different in reality when compared to the cartoon version and don't look like something you would want to pet or domesticate. They are interesting animals though.
Tasmanian devils or 'Tassies' as they are known locally aren't really fighters though. They prefer to be left alone or run away from any danger.
Christmas Is A Time For Celebration And A Whole Lot Of Lights
"Go big or go home," seems to be the motto for Australia. In 2013, the Richards family decided it was time to break a world record, and they knew just how to do it. They managed to buy, design, and hang a display of 500,000 lights which could probably be seen from outer space it was so bright. They managed to win the world record for "most Christmas lights on a house" that year.
They no longer hold this record though. It now belongs to a family in New York, but for a time this display was one of a kind.
Dingoes Are Not To Be Trifled With And Should Be Avoided
Dingoes might look like lean dogs but they should never be treated like domesticated animals. They originated in Australia, and the dingo population continues to increase each year. In the 1920s, the Australian government decided to deal with the dingoes in the most effective way they could think of - a fence. This massive fence was built to keep the dingoes out of heavily populated areas and farmland with livestock.
Dingoes have been known to attack livestock, and even humans in some cases. The fence is maintained by the government through a system of grants to landowners who help maintain its upkeep.
Wildlife Sometimes Finds Its Way Indoors And Gets Into Trouble
Kangaroos are pretty big, but the wallaby is a much smaller macropod also found down under. These little guys are adorable, but they are still wild and should be approached with caution. You never want to scare wildlife and make them feel threatened as that is when they might become aggressive. Wallabies sometimes get injured in the wild, which is how this little guy ended up living indoors with a nice family.
Some people offer wildlife rescue services and sanctuaries which helps injured animals get back on their feet and into the wild.
Welcome To Macca's Can We Take Your Order?
Aussies love shortening names and turning them into nicknames. Even well-known fast-food chains end up with nicknames that become institutionalized and end up on signs. Have you ever heard of the amazing Macca's? The golden arches really give this one away, but in Australia, McDonald's is known as Macca's. It got to the point where everyone was calling it this, and McDonald's decided it was okay to update its name.
You won't find a Macca's outside of Australia, but if you look for the golden arches, they will act as a beacon and lead you to the closest McDonald's.
Learn The Slang To Understand What Everyone Is Saying
While every country has its own unique swear words, there is also a ton of slang that is used in everyday language. This can be very confusing for those who have English as a foreign language, but it only takes a quick internet search to figure out what people mean. One phrase that is used all the time is "heaps good." This one is pretty self-explanatory which makes it easier to remember.
Heaps good means great or excellent, which makes it easy to remember and to say. There are some other words you will likely overhear, and Aussies love to explain their meaning.
No Trip Is Complete Without Seeing The Great Barrier Reef
While the land itself offers many wonders, what is under the ocean is definitely worth exploring. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef in the world, and it contains everything that would make Ariel, the Little Mermaid squeal with joy. There are different corals, schools of fish, and everything else you could possibly imagine. It is a true diver and snorkeler's paradise, and should not be missed by any visitors.
In fact, this reef system is large enough, that it had been photographed from space. It now has World Heritage status and is protected.
Barbies And Shrimp Go Together Very Well Down Under
The phrase, "put the shrimp on the barbie" has to be one of the most used ones by foreigners when referring to Aussie phrases. What exactly does this phrase mean though? Are Aussies actually frying up Barbie dolls to snack on later? Barbie actually refers to a barbecue, and having a nice cookout on a sunny day is one pastime most Australians are happy to participate in. The phrase itself is actually from an old tourism commercial.
In 1984, the Australian Tourism Commission launched a commercial with Paul Hogan saying that phrase, and it has stuck with the world.
Kangaroos Get In To Some Pretty Bad Brawls On A Regular Basis
Kangaroos might appear to be cute, but they are actually incredibly dangerous which all Aussies know. There is a massive kangaroo population spread all across Australia, and these wild animals are incredibly strong and aggressive when they want to be. Nobody wants to tussle with a kangaroo, because not only can they give a mighty kick, but hey also have claws on their paws that can do some serious damage.
When kangaroos start fighting they tend to not injure each other too badly. This is due to the fact that they have pouches, and those pouches act as a barrier to any major damage.
New Zealand Isn't The Only Country Which Has A Lot Of Sheep
The closeby island nation of New Zealand is known for its sheep farming, and sheep always outnumber the human population there. Australia also has a long history of sheep farming, which is often overlooked. Rearing livestock in a place with poisonous snakes and dingoes comes with its own challenges, but the farmers of the Outback know how to handle them after living on the land for over a hundred years.
One Aussie sheep, in particular, has become very well-known. Shrek here decided he didn't want to be shorn for more than 6 years and turned into a giant wool ball.
Vegemite Is Considered To Be The King Of Bread Spreads
Every country has its own spread that can be put on anything from toast to celery sticks. For Australia, they have something called Vegemite which could be compared to peanut butter in popularity, but not in taste. No nuts were used in the making of this spread, only leftover brewer's yeast. To make it even more different than peanut butter, no sugar is added to the spread which gives it an even more distinct flavor.
Vegemite is truly an acquired taste, and for Australians, it's delicious, for other places it might not be everyone's cup of tea.
Leaving Doors Unlocked Is The Norm And Not A Safety Concern
In most big cities, people often have multiple locks on their apartment or house doors. They don't want anyone to break in and steal their valuables or squat on the premises. This is not the case in Australia. Yes, they don't want anyone to break in, but there is a feeling of trust in the communities and many people opt to leave their doors unlocked when they aren't home. There is one reason this is sometimes not the best idea though.
An unlocked door or one that is left partially open can be seen as an invitation for snakes and spiders to move on in and cause some chaos.
Even Snakes Need To Hitch A Ride On A Plane
Samuel L. Jackson never liked having snakes on a plane, and for one Qantas flight, they had an unexpected and unticketed passenger who decided to hitch a ride. Jackson would have had a thing or two to say about this passenger, namely that he is sick of seeing snakes on a plane. How this snake managed to crawl onto the plane and stay attached to the wing as the plane flew is simply amazing.
The python must have hooked its body on to something to stay put. We hope no pythons were harmed on this flight and that this one made it safely to its destination.
There Is A New Kind Of Cop In Town
The "Star Wars" franchise continues to turn out space adventure after space adventure, and naturally, Aussies love the movies just as much as the rest of the world. Sometimes the Aussie cops like to have a bit of fun on the job and dress up for the day. This cop decided to wear an entire stormtrooper outfit and use his laser speeding gun as a blaster. We would love to have seen drivers' reactions.
Anyone who got pulled over by this cop must have thought that Australia was being invaded by the Empire, or a true fan.
Fridge Cooled Clothes Are The Perfect Way To Beat The Heat
In the summer, temperatures are very high. We have already seen that it can get hot enough to melt flip flops but it can also just make you sweat through your clothes. Feeling your clothes melt against your body as soon as you step outside isn't the best feeling in the world, which is why Aussies have created a cooling clothing system. All you need to do is stick your shoes and clothes in the fridge for half an hour or so.
Then, pull them out, stick those clothes on since no shoes are okay, but being fully nude in public is not.
Pythons Can Show Up At The Most Inconvenient Times
Snakes are pretty cool but they are also pretty scary. Some of them can kill you with a single venomous bite, while others can slowly squeeze the life out of a person. Australia is known for having a lot of snakes, and it is able to boast that it has 21 of the most venomous ones on the planet. That is a lot of different snakes to watch out for.
Pythons though are also common and while they aren't venomous you do need to be careful around them. They use their large bodies and constricting motion to squeeze their prey, which can include humans.
Cats And Dogs Need To Find Ways To Cool Off
While air conditioning is pretty common, there are still houses that don't have it or it is broken. For pets, like cats and dogs, it can be very hard for them to cool down. They do not sweat the way humans do, and panting can only do so much. Some wily pet owners have developed their own cooldown methods, and one of those involves a strapped on ice cube tray.
This trick can be used in other hot places, although the cats and dogs might not love it. Just tie an ice cube tray or a freezer pack to them and little the ice cool them off.
A Dingo Ate My Baby And Other Stories
By now, we know that dingoes are not to be trusted around livestock and even humans. They are more akin to wolves and coyotes than anything else and have been roaming the island continent since the 1900s. Back in 1980, a family was camping at Uluru or Ayers Rock as it is also known when their baby went missing. Nobody was sure what had happened to the baby which led to an investigation.
It was eventually uncovered that a dingo had taken the baby, and that is why it was not seen again. This shows that humans and children must always be cautious around them, just as they would other wild animals.
AKKA/DAKKA The Australian Band That The Entire World Knows
AC/DC is arguably one of the most famous rock bands in the world, but did you know that they are actually Australian? The band was originally formed by Malcolm and Angus Young, but how we pronounce the name is not how Aussies pronounce it. If Mcdonald's is Macca's it makes sense that AC/DC would have their own nickname. This nickname is known to every Aussie, but it might come as a surprise.
In Australia, AC/DC is called AKKA/DAKKA. This is not a new acronym, it is just a new pronunciation for the actual acronym.
Hands Off Of The Stinging Tree To Avoid A Major Ouch Moment
Plants like poison ivy are known for stinging in the most uncomfortable of ways. It starts with a stinging rash that sometimes spreads and needs to be treated at a clinic. In Australia, they have whole trees called stinging trees which can deliver a very nasty sting. The stinging tree isn't the worst stinging flora in the land down under though. The stinging bush also known by its Latin name, dendrocnide moroides, can deliver severe stings.
If stung by this bush, medical attention should be sought immediately. Each little hair on the bush has venom in it, and that creates the burning sensations.
You Have To Save Yourself From Sharks On This Beach
Snorkeling, diving, and surfing do come with their own perils when it comes to the water. If you're not careful you can live your very own "Jaws" moment and experience a shark swimming towards you, and trying to take a bit out of a limb. Most beaches will post signs if a shark has been spotted in the area, and that is definitely something to watch out for. Humans aren't for eating!
Nowhere is completely free of something dangerous in Australia. On land, you have snakes and spiders and in the water, you have sharks and jellyfish.
Uluru Or Ayers Rock Is A Geological Gem Worth Visiting
There are many natural wonders in the world, but Uluru or Ayers Rock definitely makes it on the list. This gigantic monolith is very special to the Aborigine communities in the area, and it has now been named as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the past, visitors could climb up the rock but now you can only look at it from afar, which is more respectful. That doesn't mean some great pictures can't be taken though.
All it takes are some well-positioned hands and you can create all kinds of funny images that are worst posting on social media for some likes.
Hazards Are Everywhere, Especially Deep In The Outback
Governments are obligated to post signs in dangerous areas to help people avoid accidentally hurting themselves. Instead of just posting a warning, Australia likes to blatantly state what the worst outcome could be if you aren't careful. Nobody wants to die on a hike, but everyone does want that perfect photo of them against a stunning backdrop like the desert or the ocean. This sign does seem like a pretty clear warning though.
We hope whoever took this picture managed to not die, or if they did, they must have sent this photo off right before they met their untimely end.