Aussie killer beasts have nothing on LA's deadly creatures

Sam Worthington was on Dave Letterman's US TV talkshow the other night and the conversation turned to Australia's many deadly creatures.

Letterman was horrified as Worthington told stories about growing up with box jellyfish in the ocean, redback spiders hiding under his bicycle seat and dugite snakes.

The deadly dugite snakes, found around Worthington's home town of Rockingham, Western Australia, particularly intrigued Letterman.

"It's a snake and if it bites you, you have about 10 seconds," the Avatar and Clash of the Titans star told Letterman.

"Redback spiders, the same thing. If it bites you, you have 10 seconds."

Shocked at the ability of a snake or spider to kill a human in 10 seconds, Letterman declared he would never go to Australia.

"Honest to God what's a person to do if you get bitten?" the talkshow host asked Worthington.

"Pray," Worthington replied.

Last month American comedian Robin Williams was also on the Letterman show and as well as offering his "Australians are basically English rednecks" joke that resulted in Australian PM Kevin Rudd making a comment that almost had Alabama declaring war on Australia, the comedian spoke about Australia's deadly animals.

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Williams told Letterman: "Most of the animals down there can kill you. They have a snail that can fire a poison dart."

When Americans meet an Australian for the first time they usually ask two questions.

Question 1: Is it true the toilet flushes the opposite way in Australia?

Question 2: Is it true Australia has the deadliest animals on the planet?

Steve Irwin did not help ease Americans' fears about Aussie wildlife when he fell to a stingray, adding another deadly Aussie creature to the list, and just the other day an American friend told me how he watched a TV documentary about "killer trees" in Australia.

"Even the trees can kill you in Australia!" he said.

It is true Australia is home to deadly animals (and maybe trees?), but I like to argue Aussies have it a lot easier than residents of southern California.

Generally you have to be unlucky or foolish to be killed or injured by a dugite, king brown, funnel web spider or Australia's other ghastly creepy-crawlies.

Aussie killer animals do not want to kill humans. They'd rather slide or crawl away.

In LA, wild animals hunt and eat you.

You better have a good pair of running shoes and a stun gun if you go for a walk in the bush.

Cougars (four-legged ones, not Courteney Cox) stalk joggers and mountain bikers, leap out of the bush and wrap their jaws around the human prey's head.

Grizzly bears are known to sniff around backyards looking for dinner while LA residents are always fearful coyotes will come down into urban areas and snatch their pet pooches. Ask Jessica Simpson about her fluffy Maltese-Poodle mix puppy Daisy. A distraught Jess Tweeted her fans last year for help after Daisy was snatched by a coyote.

And how about bobcats? They are more interested in rats, rabbits, Vern Troyer and Gary Coleman than the regular adult population, but if cornered or startled can slice you up like Freddy Krueger.

Australia wins the deadliest snakes award, but rattlesnakes are as common on walking trails in the Santa Monica Mountains as the paparazzi are hanging outside Britney Spears' house. If you step on a rattler, which is easy to do because they are so prevalent, you likely won't die but will spend a few days in Cedars-Sinai.

Southern Californian beaches have their fair share of great white attacks so let's call that even.

If LA's wild animals don't get you, its wild humans will.

According to the LAPD there are 250 active gangs in LA and in the last five years these hoodlums committed 23,000 violent crimes including "784 homicides, nearly 12,000 felony assaults, approximately 10,000 robberies and just under 500 rapes".

Angelenos are also on high alert after last week's 7.2 Mexicali earthquake that gave LA one of its biggest shakes of the past decade. There have been more than 500 aftershocks since and there's a fear "The Big One" will soon strike and drop California into the Pacific.

With this in mind, I believe Tourism Australia should take advantage.

Instead of slapping a bikini on Lara Bingle or paying Paul Hogan to toss shrimps on the barbie, Tourism Australia should come up with a new campaign to put Americans at ease and entice them Down Under for a holiday.

Here's a couple of slogans I came up with. Tourism Australia can use them (if they pay me $1 million per slogan).

"Australia - Where The Only Cougars That Attack Are Divorced Mothers Who Hang Out At RSL Chook Raffles"

"Australia - Where You Are Less Likely To Be Killed By The Bloods Or The Crips"

"Australia - So Beautiful That You'll Be Happy To Stay For A Few Extra Weeks While You Recover From a Dugite Bite".

AAP

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