Welcome to "My Top 5". I will be doing a new my top five every month on a variety of topics so stay tuned. The world is full of misunderstood animals. Main reasons why people become scared of animals is because of movies like Jaws, the media giving them a bad rap or just not understanding them. Below is my list for my top five misunderstood animals in the world.
Sharks are one of the most amazing types of animals but at the same time they are one of the most misunderstood. The truth is that in the last 50 years in Australia there have been 47 unprovoked shark attack fatalities (Australian Shark Attack File, Taronga Zoo). On average this is less than 1 person a year dying from a shark attack. People dying from drowning is a much bigger problem as 271 people died in Australia last year from drowning in Australian waterways.
World wide many shark species are becoming very endangered now, a large contributor being shark finning for Shark Fin Soup. What a terrible way to die. The fins in the soup add no flavour, just texture!
Sharks are very important for the marine environment because they keep animal populations in control, making sure that a certain animal species doesn't over populate and take control of the whole ecosystem. One example is when tiger sharks were completely culled off in one area seabird populations exploded because the sharks weren't there to keep their population in check. Unfortunately because of all those birds feeding on the fish in the area the fish started to disappear. But then the Tiger Sharks were reintroduced and the balance in nature was restored.
Snakes are one of my all time favourite animals but yet again are highly misunderstood. 90% of snake bites happen when someone is harassing a snake, trying to kill it or picking up a wild snake which is of cause not use to people. Snakes vision is blurry , so imagine you as a wild snake. You are laying in the sun getting warm then a massive figure is coming towards you and reaches for you. Snakes can't talk and have to strike to protect themselves. Sometimes what happens when someone is bitten by a venomous snake is that the snakes bite doesn't invenomate you (doesn't put venom into your system). This is called a dry bite. If you leave snakes alone, show them respect and wear appropriate shoes and clothing in places where snakes live, it is extremely unlikely that you will get bitten. Another misconception about snakes is that a lot of people think they are slimy but this is far from the truth. Snakes scales are actually quite smooth.
Crocodilaians are a group of reptiles that consist of crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharials. Crocodiles have a territory of a water body and 15 meters around it. If people stayed out of the territory of crocodiles there would not be a problem with them. Crocodiles are encouraged to stay around in areas where people are because of things like fishing which also make crocs think that humans are a source of food.
Bats are one of the least dangerous animals on the planet. I am more likely to die typing this blog because of the slight possibility of my computer monitor to explode then to die from a Bat. There is only one type of blood sucking bat, the vampire bat! In all of Austraila's history (250 years) only 3 people have died from bat transmitted diseases! Most people think that all bats have diseases that are dangerous to humans but very few actually do. It is usually the really sick bats that have the diseases that cause problems to humans. The main thing is to not touch or pick up bats especially sick or injured bats. Call 1300 animal which is run by the RSPCA and they will find someone that will come and rescue it. You should always leave sick and injured bats and flying foxes to the professionals because if you pick up or touch a bat it will be euthanised. The flying fox's are extremely intelligent. They get their intelligence because it is believed they are related to lemurs and are a member of the primate family! A lot of people think bats are dirty creatures but it has been known for bats to clean themselves for hours on end and when a bat needs to go it won't urinate all over themselves like a lot of peole think. They will turn upside down (upside down for a bat) and hang onto a branch with their arms and go.
Flying Foxes are a very important part of the ecosystem because bats polonate very large distances, in fact larger distances than bees. In one night a group of flying foxes can pollinate plants from an area as big as the Gold Coast to Brisbane for example. Flying Foxes are the only animals that pollinate some plants because some plants only open their flowers at night. Flying Foxes also pollinate gum trees. So if there was not Flying Foxes there would be no koalas.
I have swam with wild stingrays countless times and when ever I approach them they almost always swim away. From all my experiences I have never been in trouble with stingrays and they don't want anything to do with me or humans.
The death of Steve Irwin was a tragedy but it wasn't the stingrays fault. When Steve was approaching the ray it mistakes his shadow for a tiger shark so it took that fatal blow at his heart.
So that is my list for my top five most misundestood animals. I would love to hear what animals you think are misunderstood.
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