Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Just because…

April 4th, 2011

Tropical rainforest. I’d expected venomous snakes, spiders, even scorpions. Be sensible – no shoving your bare hands into rotten tree trunks – and the risk they pose is fairly small. You’re as likely to die in France from a snake bite as you are in Australia. That’s continental healthcare for you I suppose…

What you’re much more likely to encounter are irritations. Plants with hooks on their leaf edges. Fiendishly difficult to remove from your clothes. Or that smart umbrella you borrowed. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the flora isn’t out to get you…

But my favourite is a small hairy caterpillar. That of the bag-shelter moth – ochrogaster lunifer. These little critters live together in a silken bag, either on the ground or up in the canopy. Apparently. Not actually seen them. Didn’t need to. Their irritating hairs spreading like pollen. Landing on unsuspecting victims. Swollen feet in my case. Nothing serious. Just some antihistamine. Once I’d learnt what the cause was most likely to be.

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