Australia: the deadliest place on earth?
… my homeland, down under is a really big country …
The world’s largest and only island continent & 6th largest country…
Home to some of the deadliest species on our globe.
There are close to 520 extremely venomous snakes, spiders, insects, marine life and animals in the land down under.
Most of the most venomous spiders and snakes in the world live on or under the sunburnt country or oceans surrounding our island of Oz…
From a very young age, we are taught what to look for, how to deal with, and how to respect our most incredible wildlife.
Deadly Australia’s everything
The letter S… personally, it’s the 4 s‘s… snakes, spiders, sharks and sun that freak me out the most:
- 🐍 21 of the 25 world’s most venomous snake species can be found in the outback as well as in the city, in shops, homes or toilets. All 31 Australian sea snakes are venomous.
- 🕷 The majority of the world’s deadly species of spiders live in Australia, many very common to city living.
- 🦈 Sharks can be found in both oceans and rivers. Special shark nets are placed off beaches to protect swimmers, but every year people die from shark attacks.
- ☀️ The Sun – Australia lies under a hole in the ozone layer, and ultraviolet rays burn the skin like nothing else. That’s why Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.
Here are just some of the highlights:
Found worldwide in coastal waters, you’re most likely to come across the bull shark in estuaries, harbors and rivers. It’s a very good scavenger, as well as a predator, so you certainly don’t want to be swimming near any dead animal or fish carcasses. It’s also responsible for most of the dogs that go missing from the water.
|Mainland tiger snake
Found along the SE coast, from NSW and VIC to TAS , including metro Melbourne. Mainland tiger snakes are responsible for the 2nd highest number of bites in Australia. They are banded, with stripes varying in color from pale yellow to black along a solid body that can grow to 2m. When threatened, they flatten their necks and strike low to the ground. Bites are fatal if untreated, causing pain in the feet & neck, tingling, numbness & sweating, followed by breathing difficulties & paralysis. The venom also damages the blood & muscles, leading to renal failure.
These extremely poisonous, spineless, floating blue translucent fish are camouflaged, so you cannot see them in the water. They are the most venomous marine animals known to mankind, and their sting is typically fatal. Found around northern beaches all year round. It has 4 distinct sides. Human encounters occur most often when the box jellyfish comes close to shore to breed. A sting can be unbelievably painful. The venom is designed to paralyze, so it immobilizes your nerves and affects breathing and movement. Can cause cardiac arrest and death within minutes.
|Sydney Funnel-Web Spider
The funnel-web spider, is one of the most venomous on the planet. They build funnel-shaped webs, which they use as burrows or to trap prey. The venom of this spider is toxic and fatal. Early symptoms of a funnel-web spider bite include tingling around the mouth and tongue, facial muscle twitching, nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating, salivation, and shortness of breath.
There are about 4 species of blue-ringed octopus around the Australian coast. They are normally brown and innocuous looking, but when disturbed, iridescent blue lines and rings appear. Most bites have occurred when the octopus was picked up. Once bitten by this octopus, symptoms can appear within minutes, depending on where you’ve been bitten. Because it contains neurotoxins, the body starts to shut down and becomes increasingly paralysed. Usually victims die because they stop breathing,
These crocs wreak havoc in the sea and defy logic by eating pretty much anything. The swamps, rivers, and estuaries in Northern Australia are home to these huge, ancient amphibians. Males can reach up to 4,400 pounds and can be over 20 feet long. When a saltwater crocodile attacks, it’s incredibly strong tail enables sudden speedy lunges out of its watery hiding places. Its powerful jaw is filled with 64-68 teeth, ready to bite down with the greatest bite pressure measured in any living animal.
Around two metres (6.4 feet) on average, the coastal taipan is not an aggressive snake, but it’s very able to defend itself with a fast and accurate strike. The coastal taipan’s venom is designed to work on mammals such as rats and works very quickly. The venom attacks the nervous system and blood. If bitten, you might start to bleed internally, as well as suffer headaches, nausea and vomiting.
This unsuspecting marsupial (from the rat family) is the outback’s most cuddly killer. While spreading disease and vermin, ‘Roos can reach speeds around 44 mph over short distances, and can be very dangerous to men. It’s never a good idea to approach them, and we should always exercise caution when in the vicinity. Female kangaroos are fierce when carrying a joey in their pouch and will fight pedestrians who approach to protect their offspring.
This seemingly benign-looking mollusk literally sucks. It evolved a radular tooth that can launch out of its mouth like a harpoon at unsuspecting prey, including your foot. These snails are found near Indo-Pacific ocean reefs and are most likely encountered when they are stepped on. Because stings can be painless, people may not realize they have been stung until it’s too late. Their snarpoon will pump you full of neurotoxins that affect vision and speech.
|Inland taipan (fierce snake)
Found in cracks and crevices in dry rocky plains where the Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Northern Territory borders converge. Reclusive and rare, the inland taipan hides out in its remote, rocky habitat. Has highly toxic venom, considered to be the most potent of any land snake in the world; it has the potential to kill an adult human within 45 minutes.
|Coastal taipan (eastern taipan)
Found in along the east coast from northern New South Wales to Brisbane and northern Western Australia. They are common in sugarcane fields. Extremely nervous and alert, they put up a ferocious defense when surprised, ‘freezing’ before hurling their body to inflict several lightning-fast snapping bites. Before the introduction of a specialized anti-venom in 1956, taipan bites were always fatal and caused many human deaths. The venom affects the nervous system and the blood, with nausea, convulsions, internal bleeding, destruction of the muscles and kidney damage. Death can occur in just 30 minutes.
|Great White Sharks
These mega-fish are the kings of the ocean and eat whatever they can wrap their 222 razor-sharp teeth into. That’s pretty much anything that moves. These hunters are equipped with the ampullae of Lorenzini, a magical death adaptation enabling them to detect electromagnetic fields emitted from anything with a pulse. Some surfers are even arming themselves with electromagnetic devices to repel them.
Inhabiting the nightmares of everyone, everywhere, the giant centipede is able to grow to a whopping 6¼ inches. The squirmy insect is naturally equipped with a pair of venomous claws that sting its victims. It can cause severe pain in humans, which can last for several days.
|Common death adder
Quite widespread in Sydney bushland, it relies on camouflage rather than evasion to protect itself. While other snakes will slink off when faced with a threat, the death adder freezes, so it’s easy to get bitten if you’re walking through a bushy area and step on one. Its fangs are long and can penetrate quite deeply. The common death adder’s venom causes loss of motor and sensory function — you go numb and your respiration starts to slow, and eventually, paralysis and death can occur.
The humble honey bee, which is not native to Australia, is common and deadly to small subset of people. Being stung by 100 or so honey bees could put anyone at risk of a fatality, but for those who are allergic, even a single sting can be a life-threatening situation. The honey bee has barbed stings, so it can only sting once. You’ll suffer a sharp, burning pain and minor swelling, unless you’re allergic, in which case a sting could cause swelling and severe breathing difficulties, among other symptoms.
The coconut crab pictured is indigenous to islands across the Indian Ocean through parts of the Pacific Ocean east of Australia. The coconut crab is the largest land-living arthropod in the world and is capable of breaking human bones.
This spider is the most venomous in Australia. And watch out because they like to live in walls, building materials, clothes, and shoes. Taking the pain of a redback bite for granted, the venom is so potent that you will need an anti-venom within 45 minutes to reverse its symptoms.
|Mulga snake (king brown snake)
Found throughout Australia, except in Victoria and Tasmania. The mulga is the heaviest venomous snake in Australia and has the largest-recorded venom output of any in the world – delivering 150mg in one bite. northern specimens throw their heads from side to side and hiss loudly. Mulgas bite savagely, even hanging on and chewing as they inject massive amounts of highly toxic venom, which destroys blood cells and affects the muscles and nerves. Anti-venom is needed urgently to treat a bite.
They look goofy, and because they can’t fly they take it out on humans. It has been named the world’s most dangerous bird in the Guinness World Records. Found in the rainforests of Australia, this cross between a turkey and an ostrich can slice you with a single kick They grow to 6 feet tall, run at speeds of up to 31 mph, and jump to heights of 5 feet. They are also excellent swimmers, so there’s no escape if you piss them off. Not to be confused with the more placid Emu.
|Red-Bellied Black Snake
The red-bellied black snake is one of the most identifiable snakes in Australia. It is common in urban areas, and likes to find a home in shoes. It is distinguished by its red underbelly. As a warning, it will lift its body up to show off its fiery stomach, just so you know it’s not fooling around. Bites from this snake require a trip to the hospital pretty quickly. Vomiting, diarrhea and intense pain are the main symptoms.
They resemble a rock, but it’s actually a super poisonous fish covered in needle-like dorsal fin spines. They hang on rocks to camouflage themselves, confusing swimmers with a grey, mottled color similar to that of a stone. It is one of the most venomous fish known. If you step on one, their sting can cause extreme pain, and possibly death.
The small, orange fruits that grow on the strychnine tree happen to house toxic seeds, which can be fatal to the nervous system if eaten by humans. At best, it can cause convulsions; at worst, it can be fatal. And that’s just the fruit! The bark and blossoms of this tree are poisonous to humans, too.
Dingoes are wild dogs that roam the outback in packs. Most of the reported attacks have been caused by tourists mistaking the animal for a dog and attempting to feed it. Dingos are bad news for livestock and farm animals. So much so that a 5,614 fence was constructed in Southeast Australia for the sole purpose of protecting livestock from dingoes.
This minuscule jellyfish proves that size doesn’t matter when it comes to packing a killer punch. They mostly live in the waters of North Australia and grow to a cubic centimeter. Unlike other jellyfish, these can fire venom from their stingers to inject humans. The venom can cause muscle cramps, nausea, and nearly always requires hospitalization. Getting stung will bring on Irukandji syndrome. Taking about 30 minutes to set in, the syndrome can be marked by severe lower back pain, cramps, sweating, anxiety, nausea and other more fatal symptoms.
|Eastern Brown Snakes
This slithering killer found in highly populated areas throughout eastern Australia is the world’s most venomous land snake. Known to have caused many deaths — a bite delivers 2–6 mg of venom and can cause cardiac arrest, but more often leads to uncontrolled bleeding, with symptoms seen within 15 minutes. The eastern brown snake’s bite can initially be painless and difficult to detect. That’s a problem, because if bitten, you’ll need medical attention straight away. Its venom can result in paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding.
Lionfish are found on the east coast of Australia and are classified as a venomous marine fish. They are only dangerous to humans if they consider you a threat, kind of like bees. They house a nasty venom in their fin rays that can cause incredible pain, as well as vomiting and sometimes paralysis. These fish are not to be messed with.
If the above doesn’t kill you, the sun, heat, bushfires, outback or ocean riptides will.
I still call Australia home.
( and watch out for the drop bears )