Australian wildlife is so deadly that it has killed Peppa Pig. Twice.
“Mister Skinny Legs”—an episode in which Daddy Pig incorrectly tells Peppa Pig that spiders “can’t hurt you”—was censored by Australia’s national public broadcaster in 2012, after a viewer complained that it was “inappropriate” for an Australian audience, seeing as how spiders in Australia very much can hurt you. This time around, the episode was shown on Nick Jr, which is available to Australian viewers through Foxtel.
In the episode, Peppa’s little brother George finds a spider—the titular Mister Skinny Legs—in the sink and decides to put it in his sister’s dollhouse. Peppa is understandably distressed by this, but Daddy Pig reassures her that there is “no need to be afraid.” Peppa then has a tea party with the smiling arachnid, with both children picking the spider up.
A Sydney mother complained to Nickelodeon, but they originally refused to pull the controversial episode, justifying the decision in an email which stated: “The context of the way the spider is portrayed in the episode lessens any impact of scariness or danger; the spider does not look real, it has a smiley face and is shown in context of a show with other talking animals and therefore in an environment where the animals and creatures are not shown acting out their real nature.” Because the spider is smiling.
Nick Jr has now pulled “Mister Skinny Legs” from its Aussie rotation, after being contacted by media outlets.
There are very few poisonous spiders in the UK, where Peppa Pig is produced, with the episode aiming to put children at ease around household spiders. Australia, meanwhile, is home to some of the world’s deadlist spiders, including the funnel-web, the redback, and the white-tailed spider.
But actually, Peppa, the risk of being killed by a spider in Australia is relatively low, despite widespread Australiarachnophobia (among the many living creatures that can kill you in Australia, spiders seem to be the ones that most disturb Americans). Only one person has died from a spider bite in Australia since 1981.