Not to dismiss everything happening in the world right now, but it's safe to say it's a been a rugged year. Instead of focusing on the virus we can't see, let's drift into a sea of ... well, I wanted to say calmness and serenity. But alas, no - it's just not!
(Suspend belief in all you know about life, wild and otherwise, in Australia. Forget we have a pretty handy health system; that there are all manner of life-saving experts on hand, advice and education available; and lose any modicum of common sense you may possess.)
Because there are (cue newsreel voice of the 1960s) MONSTERS LURKING!! Everywhere.
And some of them for a really long time. Take this example from the NSW South Coast - the oldest tagged fish in CSIRO history.
When it was first tagged 26 years ago it was 97cm and believed to be three-years old. When it was recaptured it tipped the scales at a whopping 148kg and was 185cm. That's more than 20cms taller than your average Australian woman, according to the ABS. So when bluefin tuna learn to walk the earth (and who can rule that out in 2020?) we're all in trouble.
Speaking of walking the earth, let's head to the NT where animals that can eat you don't just swan about in the water, but do indeed actually wander about. Not long ago rangers found a new home for a crocodile measuring the odd 2.7 metres.
In the entirely comforting words of Ranger Chris Heydon: "This isn't the biggest saltwater crocodile going around but it'd still eat you no worries, see you later."
Good chat, Chris.
And if you think venturing inland will save you - think again. It will come as no surprise to many that monsters lurk in the shadows of the nation's capital, Canberra. Well, Lake Burley Griffin, specifically.
But what's even better is that the pranksters (read anglers) who landed this mammoth 130cm, 70kg Murray cod, returned it to the water.
On-water scenarios may have a very different meaning in Canberra to north-west Tasmania where two truly ghastly incidents have only served to reaffirm our place in the order of living things.
Not once but twice in a matter of weeks fathers and their sons have survived head-shakingly real moments of shark-induced terror.
If the CSIRO hadn't confirmed it indeed was a great white shark that leapt ONTO a boat, grabbed a 10-year-old boy and dragged him into the water 5km offshore, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a Jaws rerun.
Instead it was real life. All too real, actually. Particularly for the boy's dad who jumped in to rescue him. It wasn't just his dad's instinct that served him so well but also, believe it or not, the life jacket which didn't protect him from the shark's teeth but didn't suit the beast's palate either.
Then there was Sean and James Vinar who ventured into shark territory when they wanted to check out some seals doing their thing in Bass Strait this week. What happened next is best seen to be believed - watch the video here. The still is scary enough.
OK, enough already. We know our wide brown land - and the big moat that surrounds it - is not entirely inhabited by people-eating monsters.
There are wonderful beasts frolicking up and down the whale superhighway that circles the nation, plus smarter than smart dolphins that have taught others how to hunt and gather (without access to a YouTube how-to guide).
Oh incidentally, want to know what animals were the most deadly in Australia between 2008 and 2017? Horses and cows.
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