Australia is the dream country to live in. With over 10 thousand beaches, picturesque scenes, beautiful cities, friendly folks, and relatively friendly weather, there are many reasons to visit or live in Australia. Besides being the No 2 country in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) list and having 3 of its capital cities in the list of top ten liveable cities in the world, Australia is great for raising a family or for a vacation.
The continent is famed for its beautiful flora and fauna. It has great wildlife offerings such as kangaroos, koalas, and wombats among others. Alongside these beautiful creatures, Australia is known to be home to some of the most dangerous animals in the world too. However, the country has good safety records – recording an average of 3 wildlife-related deaths in a year. In fact, you are many times more likely to die by falling off your bed at night than through animal attacks.
That notwithstanding, it is important to be on the lookout and to take necessary precautions while touring Australia’s wildlife centres or beaches. We have assembled a list of the 10 most dangerous animals to watch out for and avoid in Australia. These include…
Australia has many species of deadly snakes. The most likely to hurt and kill you is the Eastern Brown snake. These snakes are, however, not found in big cities like Melbourne and Sydney. They also bite only in self-defence and that happens when you step on them or pick them up. To avoid them, it is best to avoid tall grasses or move with thick leather shoes and make enough noise while passing through. Do not also put your hands readily in any hole or hollow trunk you see. If you get bitten, anti-venom is readily available.
The only two deadly spiders in Australia are the redback and the funnel-web spider. They are quite rare and it is unlikely you will see them during your stay in the cities. They only bite in self-defence and are almost always found sitting quietly on their webs. Bites from spiders are rare and there has been no recorded death due to spider bites since 1970 when the anti-venom was introduced.
Australia has shark-infested waters. Despite that, however, shark attacks are very rare. In fact, the chance of being killed by a shark is one in 3.7 million – almost the same as is obtainable everywhere else. Even at that, most popular beaches have shark nests as an added protection. Others have warning signs to indicate when it’s safe to swim at the beach. To be on the safer side, stick to patrolled beaches and do not go far out when at an unpatrolled beach.
This is about the only animal actively out to kill you as they hunt and eat just about anything fleshy that moves. These crocs are majorly found on the northern coastline of Australia which means you are safe in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne. If in Queensland or Darwin, you should avoid riverbanks or seek local advice before going near them. While they are very slow on dry land, you should nevertheless look out for them when in croc country.
Marine stingers like the box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, Irukandji jellyfish, cone snail, stonefish and stingrays are quite common in tropical waters and are very deadly. While some folks consider them beautiful to see especially when snorkelling, they can be harmful when disturbed, and the box jellyfish is the most deadly creature in the country. Folks stay clear of the ocean during stinger season (November to May) unless when wearing a stinger suit. Most beaches have stinger nets, however, and you are most likely to see a warning sign if a jellyfish has been sighted.
The heaviest bird in Australia and the most dangerous bird on the planet is very rare. There are about 1300 of them still around in the world, and they are believed to have descended from the dinosaurs. You are unlikely to come in contact with them unless around Mission Beach in Queensland. The bird has a dagger-like 12cm long middle claw which it uses as a dagger when confronted. It also head-butts or pecks visitors who try to touch or feed it. The last recorded death from its attack was in 1926, however, you are perfectly safe if you just let it be.
Bugs and Insects
There are numerous biting insects and bugs in Australia. Bites can be very painful and cause swelling and other discomforts. It is very unlikely that you will die from an insect bite/sting, except if you encounter a swarm of about 100 honey bees and they all decide to take out their anger on you. The harmless insects are also huge in size and move in droves too. Before going out in the bush, it’s best to use insect repellent. Also, remember to dial 000 when you start feeling dizzy or weird after a sting.
These are the dangerous groups you should certainly avoid. There are other less deadly animals that can also cause serious harm when confronted.
Male kangaroos, also known as boomers, have kicks powerful enough to break bones. While checking them out, you should look out for the male and try to not anger it. Magpies can be very territorial when breeding and tending to their young. Best to keep your distance from their nests. The sharp claws of wombats can do quite the damage when they are in beast mode.
Australia is beautiful and quite safe to move to. If you heed warning signs and communicate with locals when necessary, you can spend a lifetime without experiencing any animal attacks. If you are moving to Australia from New Zealand, ample moving info and guides that will help you adapt quickly to the country are available. Make the most of your stay in Australia!