As you likely know, Australia is home to a wide range of dangerous animals. Each year, the Australian Museum in Sydney puts out a listing of the most dangerous creatures in our country, based on the threat level each poses and the likelihood of encountering one in its natural habitat. Here’s what you need to know about the most dangerous animals that made this year’s list.
The box jellyfish comes in at the top of the list, thanks to its 2-metre tentacles that deliver painful stings. The creature’s venom paralyses its prey, immobilising the nerves and restricting breathing. If you sustain a bad sting, the venom can induce cardiac arrest in mere minutes. In addition to box jellyfish, you’ve also got Irukandji jellyfish to worry about. This tiny variety of box jellyfish is only about the size of your fingernail, but its tentacles can stretch up to a metre. They tend to prefer deeper waters, though, so you are unlikely to find them close to shore other than during breeding periods.
You might be surprised to find out that the humble honey bee ranks second on the most dangerous animals list. Although bee stings are relatively innocuous for most people, causing only mild discomfort, they can be fatal for those who are allergic. Even if you are not allergic to bee stings, you could be at risk of death if you encounter a large swarm.
There are many different varieties of shark that call Australian waters home. The most dangerous of these is the bull shark. These sharks are known for their aggressive nature, and they make their way inland through estuaries, rivers and harbours. Although they do hunt for food, they’ll also scavenge, so take great care in the water if there are any whale or other marine animal carcasses in the water or on the beach.
Several snakes rank in the top 10 most dangerous animals in Australia, including the eastern brown snake, coastal taipan and common death adder. Both the brown snake and death adder can deliver fatal bites. Always be on the lookout for snakes any time you go out into the bush. Though the coastal taipan won’t kill you, its bite can still be incredibly painful and can also cause nausea, headaches and vomiting.
Many species of crocodile live in Australia, and you can find them in both saltwater and freshwater. Crocodiles have incredibly powerful jaws and can make short work of humans and their pets. Whenever you travel, take note of local signage. If there are warnings of crocs in the area, steer clear! If you don’t see any signs, just ask the locals. They can usually be counted on to point you in the right direction.
It would take too long to list all of the dangerous spiders in Australia, so we’ll suffice with the country’s most dangerous: the Sydney funnel web spider. This menace is most commonly found in Sydney’s North Shore suburbs. Their bites can be fatal, as they paralyse the nervous system. Direct sunlight can kill funnel web spiders, so you’ll most often see them out of their webs at night. If you find them on your property seek professional advice.