Australia has some of the deadliest animals in the world. Their attacks on humans are often extremely dangerous. Here are the top ten animals.
10: The Great White Shark
Also known as “The White Death,” the great white shark is the largest predatory fish on earth, often growing as large as 21 feet long & weighing over 7,000 pounds! These sharks are typically found in huge numbers along Australia’s southern coasts, where it attacks its victims that are snorkeling, diving, surfing, or swimming. While humans do not make ideal prey for sharks, as they tend to prefer actual marine life, great whites account for a high number of unprovoked attacks against humans compared to most other shark species.
Since 2012, there have been nearly 300 reported unprovoked great white attacks against humans. These sharks have killed 74 people overall since these types of attacks have been documented. They’ve also been known to attack small boats as well by tipping them over & spilling its passengers overboard.
But since 1999, the Australian government has actually been working to conserve the great white population in the country, as they were becoming vulnerable to sport fishing. According to a 2010 report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (or IUCN), there are fewer than 3,500 great white sharks worldwide.
9: The Tiger Snake
The tiger snake is one of the country’s most venomous snakes found particularly in the southern regions. They often grow up to 10 feet long & usually sport scale patterns similar to tiger fur, hence their name.
Tiger snakes find their prey on Australia’s farms & outer suburban houses, where they attack unsuspecting victims in the dark. Their bite has a mortality rate of about 45 to 60% if left untreated. Studies have shown that envenomation occurs in roughly 60% of bites, which is significantly higher than most other snake species.
Their venom is among the most potent of all snakes in Australia. When bit, a person will likely begin experiencing intense pain in their feet & neck as well as tingling, sweating, & numbness all over. As the venom seeps deeper into the body, the victim will have trouble breathing & may even experience paralysis. If treatment is not sought, their venom will cause muscle weakness, kidney damage, or death due to renal failure.
8: Funnel Web Spiders
This spider resembles a tarantula with deadly fangs that can penetrate both your shoes & nails. Their venom is fatal & causes death by attacking your nervous system & altering your organs’ functions. In fact, their venom is so powerful that experts claim it can kill within 15 minutes. By this metric, it can be considered the deadliest spider in the world.
There are a total of 35 Australian funnel web spider species, most of which carry this deadly venom. The Sydney funnel web spider in particular is known to pose a grave threat to humans. When they bite, they strike several times & almost always release venom into their victims. Children are particularly vulnerable to these spiders as they account for 42% of severe envenoming cases. Some estimates state that they’re responsible for at least 14 deaths per year.
7: The Blue Bottle
Also known as the Portuguese Man o’ War, the blue bottle stings 10,000 people every summer with venom that travels up your lymph nodes & causes severe allergic reactions. Because they’re often mistaken for jellyfish, their stings are commonly mistreated & victims consequently have more harm done to them due to erroneous treatment. They also experience red welts around the sting that last for days on end.
When you spot one blue bottle in the water, there are often several more lurking nearby. It’s also not uncommon for one of these creatures to get washed ashore, causing the entire beach to temporarily close to the public. But even detached tentacles from dead blue bottles can be just as harmful, as they still induce a painful & venomous sting.
Populating the coastal regions of Australia, stonefish are among the most poisonous fish in the world. As such, they present a very lethal threat to humans.
Victims often misstep on this well-disguised fish as it oftentimes camouflages itself as a rock. Its venom—which damages your heart, respiratory system, & nervous system–is so severe that many victims demand their limbs be amputated in order to escape the pain. The skin around the sting will often change colors as oxygen decreases. Victims may also suffer from abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, & vomiting while damage to the nervous system will cause one to faint, contract a fever, & suffer headaches, paralysis, & seizures.
In some cases, such a sting can be fatal. In 1915, for example, Dr. Joseph Leathom Wassell was killed by a stonefish on Thursday Island. Dr. Wassell was a well-known medical practitioner who earned his acclaim by saving lives during the Spanish Influenza outbreak. But after being a victim of a stonefish sting, he was unable to save his own life & died from the venom soon after. A monument was later erected in his honor on Thursday Island.
5: The Blue-Ringed Octopus
The blue-ringed octopus is regarded as one of the most poisonous marine animals on the planet, with powerful venom capable of killing humans. Despite their tiny size, these small creatures are distinguishable by the blue & black rings on their yellow skin; hence its name.
This octopus releases a paralyzing neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin, which causes death due to cardiac arrest. In fact, this toxin is 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. A person doesn’t even have to be bit for it to kill them because just touching it is enough to end one’s life.
Victims that come into contact with tetrodotoxin may experience nausea, heart failure, blindness, & paralysis. The paralysis is only temporary but can often prevent a bite victim from signaling for help. To make matters worse, there’s no known antivenom available to treat its bite. Treatment, therefore, simply involves artificial respiration & keeping pressure on the wound.
4: Saltwater Crocodiles
Reaching up to 22 feet long & weighing as much as 3,000 pounds, saltwater crocodiles are the largest living reptiles in the world. They’re responsible for at least 1-2 deaths & 4-10 nonfatal attacks in Australia every year.
As an apex predator, these massive reptiles are capable of ambushing & killing any mammal it sets its sights on. They’re not picky about their diet & kill anything that wanders into their territory or poses a threat.
With jaws powerful enough to crush skulls, crocodiles are known for their infamous “death roll” in which they use their powerful bite to snatch their prey then proceed to rotate their bodies until the victim is either dead or a part of them is completely ripped off.
While some attacks on humans are the result of simply protecting their territory, crocs are known to sometimes prey on us as well. Predatory attacks are more likely to be fatal than territorial attacks. Experts urge that humans avoid crocodiles at all costs as many of them consider it to be the most dangerous reptile on the planet.
3: The Inland Taipan
The inland taipan is the most venomous snake in the world. Just one bite is enough to kill 100 grown men. The venom it secretes can kill within just 45 minutes by damaging major organs & causing the body to quickly deteriorate. This includes the kidneys, blood, nervous system, & muscles. Fatality rates are just over 80% if left untreated.
As their name might suggest, these snakes populate the inland regions of Australia. They’re unique among snakes in that they specialize in hunting mammals. While they do not prey on humans, their venom is particularly deadly as it is designed to kill warm-blooded species. Their quick strikes & accurate aim leads snake handlers to recommend handling them with extreme caution.
2: Honey Bees
To many people’s surprise, honey bees are responsible for more annual average deaths than spiders, snakes, or sharks. They’re extremely lethal to those who are allergic to them since they cause shock, cardiac arrest, unconsciousness, & death within minutes.
In most cases, a honey bee will deploy a painful sting in order to defend its territory. This usually means a series of painful pricks for humans followed by an uncomfortable rash. After they sting, they actually send out a signal to other bees, who then respond to defend their colony. Bees will often swarm anything that they feel is a threat. Though they may cause death to those who are allergic, honey bees die as well shortly after delivering a sting as their stinger—along with other vital body parts—are left inside the victim.
1: The Box Jellyfish
Also known as the sea wasp, the box jellyfish is regarded as the “most lethal jellyfish in the world.” Its venom causes cardiovascular collapse within two to five minutes, meaning that if you don’t die from drowning after being stung, then you may still drop dead from cardiac arrest long before professional medical help even arrives.
Additional side effects include headaches, rash, severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, & sweating as well as intense anxiety & a sense of doom.
Patients suffering from box jellyfish stings are said to feel sure they are going to die & have been reported to beg doctors to kill them.
The most dangerous aspect of their stings is what’s known as the “suckerpunch,” which comes from the fact that many victims do not actually realize they’ve been stung until after it’s already happened. There were a reported 660 stings in Australia alone over a 14-year period & just in 2002, there were 160 people stung that February.