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Nasties of nature - A presentation by Dr. Chris Andrews (RSPB)

Many were not prepared when Chris enlightened us on the darker side of Nature’s Nasties. They had expected the vagaries of the red ant or an argumentative wasp (these were covered later), not the gripping capabilities that a six foot Manta Ray eel has on a scuba diver, nor the disgusting table manners of the Star fish. The Star Fish eat shell fish by prising them slightly open. They then inject stomach acids before consuming the resulting soup through a straw in its mouth….

The RSPB covers the whole of the British Isles, so it is only representative that life forms within its coastal waters are included as well as those on land. Chris took us from the Blue shark to the Great Fen Spider which unsurprising lurks closely in our area of the country.

Poisonous plants (hemlock, deadly nightshade, yew berries) were described and the thirty odd types of deadly fungi were also covered. A particular favourite of Chris’s was the Death Cap mushroom which if eaten causes terrible pain and sickness on day 1, increased pain and sickness of day 2, a sense of recovery on day 3 and death on day 4 due to major organ failure. Who said nature has no sense of humour!

We thank Chris for again giving us such an enthusiastic and interesting presentation.

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