If you're living pretty much anywhere in either Canada or the United States right now, you're probably hearing a lot about the polar vortex and extreme cold. (And if you'd like a quick primer on just what the polar vortex is—and why it's not a sign that global warming doesn't exist—we've got you covered.) In short, it's hard to imagine any place that would be envious of the freezing temperatures that most of North America is experiencing now. But we think we know of one: Australia. In terms of extremes, Australia is currently as hot as Canada is cold. As an example, Port Augusta, South Australia just broke its own temperature record with a blistering 49.5°C (121°F). All across the country, overloaded power grids are shutting down and animals are desperate for sources of shelter, shade, and water. How desperate? Snakes are sleeping in toilets.
No, really. You can use the bathroom first!
It should be noted that Australians are generally used to sharing their land with snakes. After all, there are around 140 species of land snake in the country. Once spring begins in September, it's not uncommon to find snakes on people's lawns, patios, and, yes, sometimes inside their homes. (Let's just say that being a professional snake catcher in Australia is never dull!) But even in a country that has over five times as many snakes as in Canada, these latest home invasions add a freaky extra wrinkle to what is already an unpleasant time. The super-hot and dry temperatures lead snakes to seek out places that are both cool and moist. Cue a trip to the nearest toilet or shower stall.
Nothing to fear ... right?
Obviously, this is nightmare-inducing stuff for many of us. And did we mention that of those 140 snake species, over 100 of them are venomous? Agghhhhh!!! But despite this, wildlife experts in Australia insist that there is no reason to be afraid. After all, while there have been some scares, there have been no deaths from snake bites during the recent heat wave. In the end, these animals are only looking for shelter and water, and generally aren't interested in attacking humans. Given the option, the reptiles always opt for a quick escape rather than a showdown. As long as people give snakes space and call a wildlife professional when necessary, everyone is going to be just fine.
Even though Australia has a reputation of having some of the deadliest species of snakes, spiders, and jellies on the planet, they aren't as big a threat as you might think! Check out this video from ABC News below for more on that.