And we’re back in Alice Springs when I first landed in Australia!
Since I had some free time I decided to visit the Alice Springs Reptile Center, a small-ish center with a number of snakes and lizards. I walked around it trying to memorize the appearance of all the poisonous snakes as if synthesizing this information could save me in the future, but they were so numerous! I concluded immediately sprinting from any living creature in Australia is my best option.
There was an article posted inside describing a hotline the Reptile Center founder had started. If you discovered a snake in your house you could call and the founder would come fetch it. I asked the guide:
“Is that rescue call center so the people don’t kill the snakes or so the snakes don’t kill the people?”
The guide thought for a minute, “I think so the snakes don’t kill the people probably”
Processing this information, I moved to their outdoor area.
How to Not Survive A Saltwater Crocodile
The outdoor pièce de résistance if you will, was a saltwater crocodile named Terry. When I arrived the crocodile expert was lecturing a group of elderly tourists. While the guide was speaking Terry locked eyes on the tastiest looking of the elderly tourists and started stalking them. Despite the Plexiglas, you could see in Terry’s dedicated death stare, that crocodiles hadn’t survived from the cretaceous period by accident. He began to lunge when the guide said casually “he doesn’t like someone over there!”
He then revealed Terry’s tank was built in such a way he actually couldn’t get out of the water from that angle so we, the handler, and the Plexiglas were all safe. Terry retreated to his pool and floated with his eyes above the surface ever watching his target. The guide informed us if we ever saw that stare in the wild it would be the last thing we ever see.
He literally said it will be the last thing we ever see, he wasn’t being melodramatic; he delivered it in a chipper Australian accent as if giving me directions to the nearest ice cream shop.
Fun fact I learned! Crocodiles don’t eat the humans they kill, they’re just territorial so they simply want to drown you. I decided if a crocodile was going to bother killing me I prefer that he did eat me as poetic justice for all the food I’ve consumed, but no! They’re deadly and insulting!
How to Attempt to Survive a Saltwater Crocodile, but Probably Still Not Survive
The guide informed us if a crocodile did get us in the wild, we’re basically done. Hearing only silence he did offer up that if we wanted, we could try and punch the tip of their nose because they’re quite sensitive there.
He then quietly added “though it’s hard to get power behind your punch under water so…”
Non-Life Threatening Reptiles
Next to the Crocodile were a number of more adorable reptiles, my favorite being the Thorny Devil.
They apparently make bad pets because they’re high maintenance. To which I say –I am too dear Thorny Devil, let us be the animal-human friends we are meant to be!
About three times a day they do a brief show where you get to hold some of the reptiles. Only three other people were at the show that day so I got to hold all the creatures (Bearded Dragon, Python, Skink) and even had the guide be my photographer.
Note to self — never get photographed in either this shirt or snake-habitat lighting, ever again.