Australia goes by several names, with Oz and The Land Down Under being two of the most popular. This is a stunningly beautiful country, home to Uluru, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and of course, responsible for showing the world Crocodile Dundee! However beautiful Australia may be, and it really is stunning, we can’t deny that it’s also home to some rather dangerous animals and plant species.
Whether on land or at sea, there are more species in Australia that could kill you than anywhere else! Did you know there are more than 500 different types of insects that could bite you and cause you a very nasty trip to hospital? Let’s not talk about the snakes, the sharks, and even the surprisingly aggressive kangaroos!
Yes, for every wonderful sight that Australia has, Mother Nature has a consequence. Of course, you can be careful and avoid injury or sudden death, and it comes down to being prepared. To help you enjoy your trip to Oz, let’s check out a few of the dangers you might come across (hopefully not).
Beware of The Jellyfish
You might assume that sharks are the only thing you need to be aware of in Australia’s oceans, but the box jellyfish could give you a serious sting. In fact, this particular creature’s sting is one of the most painful in the world. Ouch!
Thankfully, this 10 year old managed to survive a boy jelly fish sting, although it has left a rather nasty mess on her leg. The worst thing? You can’t really box jellyfish because they’re translucent!
If You Didn’t Have Arachnophobia Before
You do now! The funnel web spider is super-venomous, and in some cases, could even be life-ending. Be aware of funnel-shaped webs, which you’ll find in gardens and anywhere with plenty of vegetation. These webs are supposed to trap pray and you’ll find the spider not too far away.
You’ll certainly know about it if you’re bit by one of these eight-legged freaks. The bite is painful, and symptoms begin fast. Check for vomiting, trouble breathing, sweating a lot, and twitching in the face. Who knew something so small could cause so much trouble?
Big, Bad, And Vicious
Of all the crocodiles in the world, the saltwater crocodile is the most aggressive. Of course, you wouldn’t want to get too close to any type of crocodile, but if it’s a saltwater? You’re in trouble. They love meat of any type and they’re not choosy.
They’re huge, heavy, and they move very fast. For something so large and muscular, you’d be amazed at how fast they can go. Oh, and they have up to 68 razor-sharp teeth that can cut into literally anything. Avoid at all costs!
Skippy The Vicious Kangaroo
They look cute, but they’re not! With super-fast speeds that reach up to 44mph, a kangaroo with an attitude could do some serious damage, especially if it’s a female carrying a joey. It doesn’t help that kangaroos also live in huge mobs, literally.
Kangaroos often fight with each other, especially if it’s to do with matters of the heart! If you get in the middle of a kangaroo fight, you could be seriously hurt. Avoid trying to pet a joey, as the mother will protect that baby at all costs.
Cone Snails Really Suck
Snails are pretty harmless, right? They move slowly. They keep to their own business. Not cone snails! These have a huge tooth that they can launch at anything it wants to eat. If you’re walking in flip flops, you could end up with said tooth stuck in your foot. Painful to say the least.
A cone snail’s sting doesn’t hurt immediately, but the damage has already been done. The sting injects neurotoxins into your, causing slurred speech and double vision. Head to the hospital ASAP!
Man! That’s Centipede is Ugly!
Giant centipedes certainly aren’t the cutest insects in the world, and they’re not going to treat you well for thinking it either! These centipedes are able to grow over 6” long, and they have a claw which stings and injects venom.
If you’re stung by one of these creatures, you’re going to experience pain, which may even last for more than a few days. The pain can be super intense in some cases, and the image of seeing that centipede is likely to be the stuff of nightmares too.
Crabs The Size of a Trash Can?
We’re used to seeing crabs in the sea, cute and small and walking sideways. However, there are crabs which are actually as big as a trash can – no lie. The coconut cream is the biggest on the planet, and it can be found on the islands just off the coast of Australia.
This crab isn’t something you would want to get into a fight with, as it’s claws could break your bones. It’s better just to let them carry on walking sideways and keep out of their way. It’s not like you can miss them – they’re huge!
Redback Spiders Give You More Than Redness
Home to several venomous spiders, Australia is also famed for its rather large population of redback spiders. Steer clear. They’re one of the most poisonous in the country! These critters might be small but their bite sure packs a punch.
Once a redback spider sinks its fangs into your skin, you’ll need to get to hospital for anti-venom treatment ASAP. The pain is intense, and the redness, swelling, and numbness is just the start. The worst thing? They’re more common than you think, and they love to hide in shoes!
That’s One Hungry Snake
Yes, you are seeing that right – a snake has just swallowed a crocodile whole. An actual crocodile with many teeth. This is the degree to which Australia’s wildlife operate! This snake is a huge python, and they’re found in the Australian bush.
Of course, not all pythons are as big as this one, but it shows you what they’re capable of. It’s likely this snake didn’t need to eat for a while afterwards either. Did we mention there are many other snakes in Australia too?
Steer Clear of Kung-Fu Cassowaries
Cassowaries are birds, but they can’t fly. They’re not happy about it either, and it seems they have a temper. If you get too close to one of these seemingly “harmless” birds, they’ll sprint, jump, and karate chop you into next week.
They look a little like an ostrich and a little like a turkey but they want to be known in their own right! They can also reach 6’ tall, and they run at over 30mph. More bad news? They can jump high too, to about 5’. It gets worse – they swim too. There’s no escape!
Heed The Warning of The Red-Bellied Snake
If you see a slithering animal that raises up and shows you a patch of red, don’t be tempted to get any closer. The good news is you can spot it pretty easily. The bad news is that they’re very common and often found in towns and cities.
A red-bellied snake bite probably won’t kill you, but it’s going to hurt and you will need to go to hospital for anti-venom. To make it worse, you’ll probably also experience diarrhoea and vomiting alongside the pain. Check inside your shoes before wearing them.
Jaws Lives in Australia
The Great White Shark. Just think about that name for a moment. Do we really need to go on? Yes, this rather famous creature is found in abundance around Australia, and whilst shark attacks are relatively rare, you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of one.
Great Whites have 222 teeth, very sharp teeth, and they’re one of the most well-equipped hunters on the planet. They can sense movement, hear the smallest sound, and sniff blood from a great distance. Get out of the water!
Doing Its Bit For Virus Control
Flying foxes may look sort of cute, but they’re also known to carry infectious diseases. So, maybe this huge python is swallowing the flying fox whole because it’s trying to help humanity? Or perhaps, more likely, he’s just hungry.
Pythons sneak up quietly on their pray and wrap themselves around them, constricting until they die. Of course, they then swallow the body whole, sometimes before it’s dead or maybe after, depending now hungry it is. What a biology lesson that was …
Is It a Stone? Is It a Fish?
The stonefish is able to hide and camouflage itself excellently against stones and rocks, hence its name. The stonefish is extremely venomous and is covered with small needles across its entire body. You’re most at risk of encountering a stonefish when you’re swimming.
Standing on a stonefish or leaning against one will give you instant and extreme pain. If you don’t get out of the water fast enough and to hospital, the sting could be fatal. When swimming, stay away from rocks and large stones and, of course, keep your feet clear too.
Even The Trees Want to Kill You!
You would think that you would be safe with trees. Safe are beautiful and calming, right? Not the strychnine tree! The small fruit that hangs from its branches is bright orange and very inviting, but you must resist at all costs!
The seeds inside the fruit are extremely toxic and will affect your nervous system. The worst case scenario is pretty bad – death. That’s not all; the bark of the tree is dangerous for humans, and the blossom isn’t great either.
Wait, The Weather Too?
The animals are trying to eat you, the trees are inviting you, and the weather is now joining in on the fun. Hail that is the size of a pool ball. Yes, really. This particular violent hailstorm happened in 2013.
Storms aren’t unusual in Australia, especially during the summer months when temperatures can soar. However, hail that could potentially give you a head injury is pretty rare. How would you even hide from this? Surely it would smash a car window?
Not All Dogs Are Cute
Dingoes are wild dogs that love to roam around in multiples, creating their own packs. They might look cute and very domestic dog-like, but they’re far from friendly. Look at the teeth! Dingoes don’t particularly go out looking for trouble, but you will find it if you upset one.
Most dingo attacks happen when a human doesn’t realise that they are dealing with a dingo and not a wild dog. Attempting to pet a dingo will end in a very nasty bite and possibly even worse as they’re never wandering solo.
The Red Wilderness And It’s Hidden Dangers
The Red Centre of Australia, aka The Outback, might be super-famous and picturesque, but stay out there too long, and you will die. The sun is hot, there is no water, zero service stations, and phone service? No chance.
If you miscalculate how much fuel you’re going to need to get from A to B and break down, you’re probably going to be there a long time. The chances of someone driving past are slim. You could literally perish there, so plan carefully and take plenty of water!
A Tiny Creature With a Huge Punch
The Irukandji jellyfish is so small you’ll probably never actually see one. However, if you get stung by one, you’ll certainly feel it. You’re more at risk of being stung by one of these little guys in the northern reaches of Australia.
At only 1cm in size, these jellyfish are probably one of the smallest in the world, if not the smallest but if you’re stung by one, you’ll need to go to hospital. The venom is injected beneath the skin and causes pain, cramps in the muscles, and sickness.
Aww a Cute Koala – Woah!
Now that is one annoyed koala right there! Luckily, this image is actually Photoshopped and isn’t an original koala, but that doesn’t mean you should try and venture towards one if you see one out in the wild.
Some koalas can be aggressive, and a bite could land you in hospital. Of course, they also have pretty sharp claws too. Koalas also carry several diseases, with the most famous one being chlamydia. However, catching this from a koala is, thankfully, extremely unlikely.
Baked By The Sun
The summer in Australia is the opposite to the Northern Hemisphere, which means the hottest temperatures happen between November to February. At this time, the mercury can hit the 40s with ease. This picture isn’t a mock-up – you really can fry an egg on the floor during a heatwave in Australia.
Climate change is making Australia’s summers hotter year on year. In 2009, 374 people died as a result of a heatwave in Victoria. Remember to practice sun safety and stay out of the heat during peak hours. Of course, also wear a hat, sunscreen, and drink plenty of water.
A Snake That Gives You a Heart Attack
You might think that simply seeing a snake would give you a heart attack, but the eastern brown snake could actually do it with its venom. As the second most poisonous snake, the eastern brown snake is found in towns and cities.
Just one bite is enough to cause a heart attack, bleeding that simply won’t stop, and all of this begins in just 15 minutes. Getting to hospital fast enough is the difference between life and death – literally. Thankfully, bites are rare, although certainly not unheard of.
The Lionfish Doesn’t Roar, But it Stings
If you happen to be swimming or surfing on the Australian east coast, you may be unlucky enough to come across a lionfish. They look amazing, but they’re not to be trifled with. The venom that sits in their fins could paralyse you in a few minutes.
Thankfully, there is some good news. Lionfish don’t go out to hurt humans but if you try to catch one or get too close and it becomes threatened, it will unleash its venom. The best case scenario is vomiting. The worst case is paralysis.
Surfs Up, or Your Time’s Up?
Australia and surfing go together like salt and pepper; however, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of the sea. The waves and swells in Australia can reach 40 feet in some situations, and even the most experienced of surfers may find themselves in grave danger.
Of course, Australian waters are also where we often find several types of shark, including the Great White. So, if the water doesn’t wipe you out, then perhaps a shark might have a go. Perhaps we should all just stay away from surf boards?
Note to Self – Rugby is Dangerous!
Aussies love sports, and rugby is one of their favourites. However, if you’ve ever played rugby or watched it, you’ll know that it’s pretty violent! Those rugby players are huge, and when they run at you at speed? Ouch!
Perhaps it’s best to just sit and be a spectator here, rather than take part in a game. The chances of a broken bone or worse are pretty high, and you wouldn’t want to ruin your time in a plaster cast, would you?
A Snake That Could Kill 100 Men
The chances of you reaching out to touch a snake, let alone an inland taipan, are a pretty slim but if you ever feel tempted, think twice! This is the most venomous snake in the country, and it’s venom is so strong it could kill 100 men with just one bite.
The other problem is that this is a snake that can move fast, so if it’s got you in its sights, you’re really in trouble. Did we mention that the venom is strong? Oh, it can kill you in less than a minute too.
Don’t Forget, Australia is BIG
The idea of driving across Australia on a road trip is a pretty romantic and special idea, but in reality, it’s not a good one. Driving in any direction means crossing the interior of the country, i.e., The Outback.
With extreme temperatures, no water, no power, no phone service, and no fuel stations, you could easily find yourself stuck and dead within a short amount of time. Would anyone find you? Eventually, probably, but maybe not in time to save you.
It’s Not Nemo’s Cousin
This cute little guy might look like a family member of Nemo, but he’s not, and he’s not as friendly as Nemo either. The blue ringed octopus is often found in coral reefs, and a sting could leave you partially paralysed and having trouble breathing.
The blue ringed octopus is also very small, no bigger than a small ball, which means they’re easy to miss. Standing on one will be one of the worst things you ever do and even brushing against one isn’t advisable.
A Growing Tick Problem
We all know ticks aren’t ideal, but the paralysis tick could leave you with a major problem. The photo shown here is before and after – feeding! Disgusting, right? After the paralysis has injected its venom into you, you will become paralysed.
The paralysis tick is often found in the east of the country and can be a problem for both humans and pets. There are many stories of pet dogs being injected by a tick and ending up needing medical help.
Bull Sharks Have a Serious Attitude
You might have thought that the Great White was all you really needed to worry about in the shark category. Wrong! The bull shark is actually more worrisome for humans because it thrives in shallower water. It’s also one of the main types of sharks to love a bite of human flesh.
These sharks are found along the coastline of eastern Australia and particularly around Brisbane, where there are thought to be around 500 present. Oh, and they don’t mind coming inland occasionally too; they’ve been seen swimming in floodwater!
Another Taipan Problem
The inland taipan is a snake to avoid, but you have another problem – the coastal taipan. The two species are cousins, and whilst the coastal version isn’t quite as venomous as the inland version, it’s still the third most venomous in the world.
You’ll find this cheery little snake on the east coast and along the north coast of the country, and they can grow up to 6.5’ in length. The good news is that you won’t miss it easily and it’s not likely to bite you unless you corner it. Just stay away to be on the safe side!
Snakes in The Sea?
Seriously, what is it with Australia and snakes? They’re even in the sea! Swimmers along the south-west coast should be on their guard for the yellow-bellied sea snake. Thankfully they’re not that common, but if you see one swim-slithering towards you, pick up pace and get away!
Those unlucky enough to encounter a yellow-bellied sea snake aren’t likely to see another day. The venom can either cause total kidney shut-down or cause a heart attack. Neither is a great option, and both could kill you. Getting to hospital fast enough is vital.
A “Floating Terror” Indeed
If you are unlucky enough to see a Portuguese man o’war making its way towards you, move as fast as you can! This isn’t actually a jellyfish, although it often parades as one. It’s actually a marine hydrozoan, and it’s extremely prevalent in terms of stings.
The Portuguese man o’war is very unusual to look at, which is why people stick around in its vicinity for a second too long. The sting isn’t likely to kill you but man, will it hurt! The pain is overwhelming and you could end up having problems breathing.
Dangerous Things Come in Cute Packages
This pufferfish might look like the cute one in Finding Nemo, but it’s not at all cute and it’s extremely dangerous. This is the smooth toadfish, and you’ll find them in the south-east of the country, often in quite shallow water. Standing on one could end very unpleasantly.
This fish doesn’t need to sting you to cause problems; the flesh alone is poisonous. If you happen to accidentally eat one (please don’t), then you would go blind and lose your speech at the very least. See, we told you they weren’t cute.