14 Deadly Animals That Prove Australia Is The Scariest Place On Earth
Australia is home to perhaps more deadly animals than any other country in the world. This might be because it has such diverse geography ranging from the harsh Outback to snow-capped mountains. There are deadly Australian animals of all kinds - ranging from poisonous snakes to horrifying jellyfish.
Australia is known for its crazy animals thanks to people like Steve Irwin. And while this list includes all the animals in Australia that can kill you, don't worry. Most visitors to the country won't come into contact with these animals. They tend to live in harsh areas or off the more than 22,000 miles of coast. But sometimes the poisonous animals of Australia venture into populated areas, or bite people who wander into their turf.
Not all the animals in Australia can kill you, but there are certainly enough to make you think twice and look carefully, should you ever venture into a "dunny" (Australian slang for outhouse) or straight into the Outback.
- Photo: Gautsch / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
The delicate-looking box jellyfish appears harmless. And yet, it is the absolute deadliest, most venomous marine animal on the planet. All over and through their bodies are pockets of poison called nematocysts, which act like poison darts. People and animals who receive their sting suffer serious consequences, such as paralysis, cardiac arrest, and sometimes death. And these symptoms can happen in just a few minutes.
The box jellyfish name comes from their body shape, and some of them grow to 10 feet long (including tentacles) and 1 foot in diameter. They are found in the warmer waters of the world, but the most poisonous varieties dwell in the Northern Territory of Australia, and along the Western Australian coast.
In addition to being poisonous, the box jellyfish has another valuable skill. It moves very quickly through the water and can swim up to 4 knots per hour. The box jellyfish is exceptional to other jellyfish in this way, since other jellies simply float along with the tide. The box jellyfish is large and in charge, so look out if you are swimming in one of their territories.
Hidden Danger In The Sydney Funnel Web SpiderPhoto: Tirin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
The Sydney funnel web spider is named for its overwhelmingly preferred habitat location - Sydney. These poisonous spiders are found in and all around the major city, and around the New South Wales coastline, but they rarely venture beyond that. It is considered the deadliest spider in Australia.
The spider's official scientific name is Atrax robustus, which describes the spider's stocky build. It is a very sturdy, robust spider, and the male of the species has spurs on its legs. It is also highly poisonous, and a bite from the Sydney funnel web spider may prove lethal. Just as its name suggests, this spider builds a funnel-style web, which is helpful in luring prey into the spider's den. As with most spider species, the male is much smaller and, unfortunately, lives a shorter life.
- Photo: Louis Jones / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
The Australian saltwater crocodile looms large in Western legend and culture. These big guys are extremely powerful. Their large jaws are full of sharp teeth, and they are the largest reptiles in the world. Some of them weigh more than 2,000 pounds.
The male of the species is extremely aggressive and territorial, so even innocent bystanders are subject to attack. It is always a good idea to speak with local experts before stepping into any water that may be in a crocodile's territory. Fatalities from Australian crocodile attacks are not that common, usually because people steer clear of their territory. One human casualty is reported every two or three years.
The Blue-Ringed Octopus Sends A WarningPhoto: Rickard Zerpe / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
The blue-ringed octopus is very pretty. But don't let that fool you. The tiny blue-ringed octopus is one of the most poisonous animals in the world. It makes its home all around the coastal regions of Australia, and around the Pacific to Japan. Because it loves the security and food opportunities found in tidal pools, humans regularly come into contact with it.
Like a number of animals, it won't seek out a human, but if it is disturbed or stepped on, disaster can happen. There is no known antidote, and if bitten, loss of life can occur within minutes. In fact, this tiny, innocent-looking animal packs enough venom to take out 26 human adults in mere minutes.
- Photo: Terry Goss / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
While it's not extremely common for great white sharks to attack, they have been known to bite people swimming in their territory. Great white sharks swim in various places off the coast of Australia. These creatures grow to be 15 feet long and up to 5,000 pounds. Their powerful teeth can chomp through just about anything.
And while they don't prey on humans, sometimes they do confuse humans in the water with types of animals they actually eat. In 2016 alone, 23 people were attacked by sharks, but only two perished. Most of them were unprovoked attacks.
Size Doesn't Matter To The Irukandji And Its Fatal StingPhoto: GondwanaGirl / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Look at the size of the Irukandji jellyfish. It is tiny - only around 1 cubic centimeter. And yet it is one of the deadliest animals on the planet. There are 16 species of this jelly, and all are equally dangerous. It inhabits the waters of the Northern Territory of Australia.
The Irukandji has some particularly special abilities. Most jellyfish have stingers on their tentacles, but this tiny variety also has them all over its body. They can also fire venom-filled stingers directly into their prey. The sting is very severe and often fatal, causing brain hemorrhages in minutes. Its attack can cause mental illness, too. The Irukandji's venom is powerful - 100 times more potent than the venom of a cobra. Around 50-100 people are stung and admitted to a hospital every year.