Australia is a breathtaking continent. The sovereign country consists of the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, along with numerous other smaller islands. It’s an incredibly diverse country with landscapes consisting of deserts, mountains, tropical rainforests, and beaches — but don’t let its beauty fool you. Australia is one of the deadliest places on Earth in terms of the environment, wildlife, and geography. Don’t believe us? Here are the different ways that Australia will either kill you or come very close to doing so.
There’s more to worry about than just sharks in the water.
The Box Jellyfish Sting Can Be Fatal In Minutes
Beneath the oceanic waters of Australia, be extremely wary of the box jellyfish. Recognizable by their cube-shaped medusae, these little guys aren’t afraid to unleash their extremely potent venom. Their translucent appearance makes them incredibly difficult to see, usually until it’s already too late.
The sting from a box jellyfish has been described as one of the most painful in the world, and can even be fatal to humans in some cases. Although there are only a few species in this class of jellyfish that have been known to kill, it’s common for many Australian beaches to be surrounded by netting and have first aid kits to treat stings on the beach.
Funnel Web Spiders Are No House Spider
When walking around in Australia, it’s crucial to watch where you step. While Australia is home to countless deadly species of spiders, the most poisonous is the Funnel Web spider. They earned their name for building funnel-shaped burrows where they trap their prey.
However, for humans, a bite from a Funnel Web contains over 40 different toxic proteins which cause a massive electrical overload in the body’s nervous system. Fatalities are usually from a heart attack, pulmonary edema, or the victim drowning in their own lung fluid. Thankfully, due to the advancement of anti-venoms, there hasn’t been a Funnel Web spider-related death in Australia since 1980.
Yes, Saltwater Crocodiles Exist
Just when you thought that sharks were your biggest problem in saltwater, Australia proves that’s not the case. Down under, saltwater crocodiles have been known to live in marine environments such as swamps, estuaries, lagoons, and stretches of rivers. They are the largest of all living reptiles and are the largest riparian predator in the world. Males can reach over 20 feet and weigh more than 2,500 pounds although females are much smaller.
Residing in northern Australia, the saltwater crocodile is a hypercarnivorous predator that is opportunistic in nature, ambushing its prey and drowning or swallowing them whole. Due to their size, aggression, and distribution, they are considered the most dangerous crocodilian to humans, along with the Nile crocodile.
Even the insects are horrifying.
Kangaroos Aren’t Always Cute and Cuddly
While kangaroos might look like one of Australia’s cutest and most innocent marsupials, it’s important to never let your guard down when around them. They are incredibly strong and have been known to become aggressive at times, especially when males are fighting over a female. If a human attempts to interrupt the fight for some reason, the two males may perceive them as a threat and begin attacking together.
Mothers protecting their joeys are known to be aggressive to humans attempting to approach their offspring. Running away isn’t an option either, as they can reach speeds of around 44 miles per hour in short distances — much faster than any human.
Cone Snails May Seem Harmless But Are Far From It
While this small ocean snail may appear harmless, that’s what makes it so dangerous. Cone snails come in various sizes, with the sting of the smallest being no worse than a bee sting, but from the largest can prove fatal. All cone snails are venomous and poison their prey by using a hypodermic needle-like harpoon that they shoot from their mouth to paralyze their prey before consuming it.
Cone snail venoms are primarily peptides with the venoms containing numerous toxins that vary on their effect depending on the snail. Although some venoms have serious effects on humans, their toxin has begun to show promising advantages for medicine.
Giant Centipedes Straight From a Nightmare
The Ethmostigmus rubripes, or giant centipede, is the largest Australasian and Asian centipede. They have a body length of over 6.4 inches with orange-yellow coloration, usually followed with black bands and long antennae. They are typically found in both dry and moist habitats and usually in sheltered places such as under rocks and logs.
They have modified claws that are used to deliver venom to its prey. It is toxic to both mammals and insects, although it doesn’t appear to be enough to kill a large mammal quickly. The sting has been known to cause severe pains that can last for days in some instances and has killed more than once.
Of course, Australia has the biggest snakes around.
Horrifyingly Large Crabs
The coconut crab, otherwise known as the robber crab or palm thief, is the largest land-living arthropod in the world. They weigh up to 10 pounds with a length of 3 feet 3 inches from leg to leg. They can be found on islands across the Indian Ocean and used to be found on the mainland of Australia.
Adult coconut crabs feed on just about anything they can find, including the flesh of dead animals. The pincers of a coconut crab can cause significant pain to a human and they are known to hold their grip for extended periods of time, causing damage to unlucky handlers.
The Redback Spider Is Bad News For Insects and Humans
The redback spider is a species of highly venomous spider believed to have originated in the South Australian or West Australian Deserts. The adult female can easily be recognized by the red stripe on the upper side of her abdomen and an hourglass-shaped red-orange streak on the underside. If it an insect is bitten, they will become paralyzed. The spider will then wrap her prey in a cocoon before liquifying and sucking out the insides.
If a human is bitten, they will experience excruciating pain along with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, headache, and agitation. Although anti-venom is often described as being useless, it’s still crucial to seek medical attention.
Impossibly Sized Pythons
This photo looks like something straight out of a horror movie. If it’s real, Australia really is the scariest place on earth. However, a real threat is reticulated pythons, the world’s longest and heaviest snakes and reptiles. They are nonvenomous constrictors that suffocate their prey by crushing them with their bodies and then ingesting them whole.
These snakes can be extremely dangerous and have been known to eat large mammals, crocodiles, and in some cases, even humans. They can be found in the Indo-Australian Archipelago as well in other places in South and Southeast Asia.
Don’t forget about the sharks!
Be Wary Of Cassowaries
Often referred to as "the world’s most dangerous bird," cassowaries are flightless birds that are native to the tropical rainforests of New Guinea, the surrounding islands, and northeastern Australia. For the most part, cassowaries are omnivorous, feeding on fruits, seeds, invertebrates, and small vertebrates. Although shy, when provoked, they are capable of causing serious damages to animals and other humans.
They have been known to kick with their giant, razor-sharp talons, easily cutting through flesh, with the ability to gut those that they are threatened by. In a 2003 study, out of 221 cassowary attacks, 150 had been on humans that had provoked the bird, in one case killing a young boy.
Red-Bellied Black Snakes Are One Of The Most Well-Known Snakes
The red-bellied black snake is native to eastern Australia and is one of the most recognizable snakes in the region. It can commonly be found living in the woodlands, forests, swampland, and sometimes urban areas along the east coast of the country. Although they live on the land, they also have the capacity to swim underwater, staying submerged for 23 minutes.
The red-bellied black snake is accounted for 16% of snake bites in Australia, and although the snake’s venom can cause serious complications, it is not the most venomous snake in Australia.
Great White Sharks
Although great white sharks can be found in numerous other locations around the world, they are particularly threatening in Australia. In 2018, new research revealed that there are around 5,500 great white sharks along the waters of Australia’s east coast.When counting juvenile sharks, the number could even go as high as 12,800.
So, if you thought that maybe you could take to the sea to get away from all of the killer insects and other animals on the mainland, you might want to reconsider with how many great white sharks call the coast of Australia their home.
Even the weather can turn deadly.
Oversized Bats Carry Diseases
The grey-headed flying fox is a megabat that is native to Australia. The grey-head shares the mainland with three other species of flying fox although they are much smaller and look a lot less threatening. The grey-headed flying fox is the largest bat in Australia with a wingspan of up to 3.3 feet and weighing up to 2.2 pounds.
The citizens of Australia’s view of the bat has become more and more negative over the years as they carry a series of viruses that can be potentially fatal to humans. These diseases can be transmitted from a bat roosting in someone’s fruit tree or coming into contact with a human.
The Dreaded Stonefish
The stonefish is a species found off the coast of Australia and other Indo-Pacific regions. They are extremely well camouflaged, which makes them difficult to spot and easy to step on or touch if you aren’t careful. When threatened, they excrete an extremely potent neurotoxin from glands at the base of their dorsal fin which sticks up.
The sting is known to be extremely painful and can become fatal if not treated. Most stings occur by stepping on the fish and they can even survive on land for 24 hours, making them a threat on land as well. For obvious reasons, the stonefish anti-venom is the second-most administered in Australia.
The Strychnine Tree Is Poisonous All Around
Also known as nux vomica, poison nut, semen strychnos, and quaker buttons, the strychnine tree is a medium-sized tree native to Southeast Asia and Australia. The tree grows orange-colored fruits that contain highly poisonous seeds that can affect the body’s nervous system leading to convulsions, paralysis, and even death.
The tree’s blossoms and bark are also poisonous and contain the harmful alkaloids strychnine and brucine. However, health benefits from the plant have been discovered and in small doses can be used to promote appetite, help with digestion, and other homeopathic remedies. However, don’t ever even go near one unless with a professional.
Golf Ball-Sized Hail
If the animals and insects in both the mainland and the water don’t get you, then the weather might. Aside from being extremely dry and arid in some regions, there have been numerous times in which hail larger than golf balls has fallen from the sky.
These severe hail storms have been known to seriously injure pedestrians, damage houses and buildings, and genuinely terrify anyone caught in storms such as these. if you’re in Australia and a massive storm begins rolling in, it might be time to go inside.
Even the smallest things are the deadliest.
Dingoes Aren’t Like Your Family’s Dog
The dingo is a type of dog that is native to Australia. They are considered to be feral although they are descendants from their once domesticated ancestors. They are medium-sized with a hard body that is built for speed, agility, and stamina. Although Dingoes are rather large and hunt in packs, they try to avoid conflict with humans for the most part.
While the most well-known attack was when an infant was taken from a campground, dingo attacks aren’t all that rare. Many of the attacks have proven to be minor, but some can be severe, and others can be fatal. For the most part, Australian tour guides recommend that people distance themselves from dingoes whenever possible.
Traveling In The Outback is No Walk In The Park
"The Outback" is the vast and remote interior of Australia. The region extends from the northern to southern Australian coastlines and is known for its extremely low population, natural environment, and brutal conditions. The climate is hot and dry, and if you plan to travel through the Outback, you must come prepared without enough fuel, water, food, and survival gear in case the worst happens.
There are hundreds of miles of roads with no services so if you run out of fuel or water, you might be out of luck. Cell phone service is also limited, so if you find yourself in a crisis, you won’t be able to call for help either. This place wants you dead.
Irukandji Jellyfish Is Small But Deadly
The Irukandji jellyfish is an extremely venomous species of box jellyfish. With an adult being only the size of roughly a cubic centimeter, they are the smallest and one of the most poisonous jellyfish in the entire world. For the most part, they inhabit the marine waters of northern Australia. They have the capability to fire stingers into their victim, causing symptoms that are known as Irukandji syndrome.
The syndrome includes highly painful muscle cramps in the arms and legs, pain in the back and kidneys, burning, headaches, nausea, and psychological phenomena of the feeling of impending doom. The symptoms can usually last from hours to weeks and usually always require hospitalization.
The ocean can kill you with ease.
Koalas Aren’t Always So Cute
Although it may seem unbelievable, but this adorable tree-dwelling animal has a bit of a dark side. While they may spend 22 hours of their day eating and sleeping, sometimes they wake up on the wrong side of the branch. Koalas have been known to get into conflict with other koalas and have gone after dogs and even humans.
In 2014, an Australian woman named Mary Anne received a severe bite while trying to defend her two dogs from an angry koala. The koala sank its teeth into her leg and wouldn’t let go until Mary Anne physically pried its jaws open with her hands. The attack landed her in the hospital and proved that even the cutest animals can be dangerous in Australia.
The Heat Waves Will Bring Anyone To Their Knees
The summer months in Australia can reach dangerously high temperatures. In the Australian Outback, temperatures can reach up to 122° F and continue to rise each year. In that kind of heat you can literally cook and egg on the sidewalk, although you probably won’t find too many in the Outback.
The summers have been getting worse and worse due to climate change with hospitalizations and fatalities due to heat increasing every year. In 2009, 374 people died in Australia during an extreme week-long heat period in January.
Eastern Brown Snakes Aren’t Just Found In The Wilderness
The eastern brown snake, or common brown snake, is an extremely venomous snake that is native to eastern and central Australia and southern New Guinea. It is the second-most poisonous land snake in the world and is commonly found in farmlands or the outskirts of highly populated areas.
The snake is responsible for 60% of snake-bite deaths in Australia and has led to 21 deaths since 2000. the venom causes diarrhea, dizziness, convulsions, renal failure, paralysis, and at times cardiac arrest. Without treatment, the bites can often be fatal, so you don’t want to run into one of these guys in the wilderness.
Lionfish Already Look Scary Enough
Pterois, also known as a lionfish, is a venomous marine fish that is characterized by their very bright warning coloration, as well as their venomous spiky fin barbs. Although they are popular aquarium fish, their venom is potent enough that they are a serious threat against fishermen and divers. In humans, a sting from one of these fish can lead to extreme pain, fever, vomiting, difficulty breathing, numbness, and redness in the affected area.
Although rarely, they can cause temporary paralysis, heart failure, and even death. However, fatalities are common among small children, the elderly, or those with weak immune systems or those allergic to the venom.
Waves That Will Humble Any Man
While both professional and amateur surfers travel from all over the world to try their hand at some of Australia’s legendary waves, that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Waves can grow to over 40 feet tall and are incredibly unpredictable which can be a death sentence for even the most experienced surfers.
So, while you’re being held down by some of the most powerful waves in the world, you have time to think about all of the things that can kill you underneath the water as well. Australia truly is unforgiving.
There’s more than just the great white shark to keep an eye out for.
The European Honey Bee Is an Invasive and Dangerous Species
There are countless highly dangerous species that call Australia home — but you probably wouldn’t think to place the European honey bee on that list. First brought to Australia in 1822, the European honey bee kills at least two people a year in Australia, more than some spiders.
While for many people a bee sting only causes some minor pain and maybe swelling, over 3% of the population is highly allergic to their venom. Those that are allergic and are without the proper equipment or those who are unaware of their allergy can go into anaphylactic shock within minutes of being stung and die as a result.
Bull Sharks Are a Huge Concern
The bull shark is a requiem shark found in Australia and other parts of the world in warm shallow waters, along the coast and in rivers. They are feared for their aggressive nature and ability to live in both fresh and saltwater ecosystems.
It is assumed that over 500 bull sharks live in the Brisbane River in Australia. One was even seen swimming in the flooded streets of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia during the 2011 Queensland floods. Even greater numbers of these highly dangerous sharks are thought to reside in the canals of the Gold Coast, Queensland.
The Common Death Adder Has The Fastest Bite In Australia
The common death adder is a species of snake that is native to Australia. And as if down under wasn’t terrifying enough, the death adder is one of the most venomous snakes in the entire world. The snake is distinguished by its red band, thick body, and triangular head. The snake is commonly found over much of eastern and coastal southern Australia – Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.
The bite from a common death adder contains a highly potent neurotoxin which can cause paralysis and even death. It has the fastest bit of all venomous snakes recorded in Australia and can kill a human within six hours of the initial bite.
Tiger sharks are a species of requiem shark that can grow to be over 16 feet long. They are commonly found in many tropical and temperate waters in Australia and around central Pacific islands.
The tiger shark is a solitary, nocturnal hunter, that is known for eating a wide range of prey including crustaceans, birds, seals, dolphins, other sharks and even man-made products which linger in their stomachs. The tiger shark is second to the great white in recorded fatal attacks on humans and are considered to be apex predators.
Better hope you’re not allergic to any insect stings.
The Portuguese Man O’ War
The Portuguese man o’ war, or man-of-war, is a marine hyrdrozoan that can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Although it may appear so, the Portuguese man o’ war is not a jellyfish, but a siphonophore.
It is a colonial organism made up of individual animals that are attached to each other and cannot survive independently. The organisms long tentacles deliver a sting which is venomous enough to easily kill a fish, and in some cases, humans too.
Freshwater Crocodiles Aren’t Friendly If Threatened
While you have to worry about saltwater crocodiles in Australia, you can’t forget about the freshwater ones either! These crocodiles can be found in the northern regions of Australia and vary from their relatives, the saltwater crocodile. They are much smaller than the saltwater crocodile with males growing to be just below 10 feet long.
They are not known man-eaters, causing few injuries and fatalities each year. However, they will attack in self-defense, so don’t ever get the idea to corner a freshwater crocodile or you may end up losing a limb!
A Bite From a Paralysis Tick Will Make You Very Sick
Ticks are organisms that feed on the blood of animals and humans. There are over 800 species of ticks worldwide with over 70 found in Australia, 16 of which reportedly feed on humans. The Paralysis Tick is found on the eastern seaboard of Australia.
Commonly referred to as the grass tick or seed tick, these little insects are responsible for over 95% of tick bites in eastern Australia and are the cause of most tick-borne illnesses which can lead to paralysis and even death.
The Bull Ant
The Myrmecia is a genus of ant that was discovered by zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius in 1804. They are part of a large genus of ants that comprises at least 93 species and can be found in Australia and its coastal islands. The ants are unusually large, incredibly aggressive, and deliver painful stings that pump its victim full of toxins.
The venom from the ant is one of the most potent in the insect world. Those who are allergic to the toxins can lead to anaphylactic reactions with many deaths being recorded.
Collett’s Snake Is No Pet
Also known as Collett’s black snake, Collett’s Cobra, or Down’s tiger snake, the Collett snake is a venomous snake that is Native to Australia. Although the snake’s venom is not as toxic as other Australian snakes, it has the capability of delivering a fatal bite. At the moment, it’s the nineteenth most venomous snake in the world.
Symptoms after receiving a bite include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea anticoagulant coagulopathy, with the risk of rhabdomyolysis and acute renal failure within 24 hours. The snake can usually be found in the dry areas west of Queensland.
The Smooth Toadfish
The smooth toadfish is a species of fish in the pufferfish family. They are native to shallow coastal and estuarine waters in Australia, where they have a very large population. Growing up to only 6.4 inches, unlike most of its relatives, it does not have the distinctive spine, although it can inflate itself with water or air.
As a defense, the fish has a highly poisonous neurotoxin in its body which can kill if the fish is eaten. For this reason, the fish is often discarded by anglers and has few predators that dare to eat it.
The dugite is a species of venomous snake that can be found in Western Australia. These snake can be grey, green, or brown, making their coloring an unreliable way of identifying them.
The dugite can live in various habitats ranging from coastal dunes to woodlands although they are often found on golf courses and agricultural farmlands. Although they tend to shy away from humans, the snake’s venom is one of the most dangerous in the world with the last death occurring in 2015.