Some people know it as the world’s smallest continent, some recognize it as the surfer’s haven, but the thing that makes Australia truly unique in the world is its highly peculiar, but also quite deadly fauna. From poisonous snakes and spiders, to highly aggressive birds, Australia is considered to be the home of the most dangerous animals.
Not the largest, but the most aggressive
Although the Great White Shark is the largest brother in family, Australia’s Bull Shark is actually the biggest troublemaker. It is so aggressive that it tends to attack anything passing nearby when hungry. Its diet consists of any living thing that passes through its jaws, and it is even documented that Bull Sharks tend to resort to cannibalism. According to National Geographic, Bull Sharks possess special glands that enable them to inhabit freshwater which makes them especially dangerous for humans who don’t expect to find sharks in local rivers.
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Looks like a peacock, but kicks like a mule
From Australia’s tropical forests in the north comes a bird so unique that it looks like a creature from prehistoric times. It has bright colors and it cannot fly, but it can run really fast. It is the second largest, but the most dangerous bird in the world, the southern cassowary. The reason this funny-looking bird has a place on this list is because the southern cassowary is very aggressive and territorial. So, if you happen to stumble upon a cassowary in nature, do not try to approach it because you will probably get a powerful kick in the chest which is usually deadly because of Cassowary’s dagger-like claws.
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Underwater disco ball
Its name comes from neon-blue rings scattered all over its body which glow when the Blue-ringed Octopus is in danger or hunting for pray. The octopus weighs less than 30 grams but it is still the most dangerous cephalopod on the planet. The reason this little critter is deadly is because it possesses a highly dangerous toxin called tetrodotoxin (1200 times stronger than cyanide) which is not produced, but actually gathered from various toxic bacteria in the ocean and then stored in its saliva, MarineBio reports. The Blue-ringed octopus usually inhabits shallow reefs along the coast of Australia, so adventurous swimmers and divers should be alarmed if they encounter this little guy.
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A living “dinosaur”
This monstrous creature couldn’t have survived more than 500 million years if it truly didn’t belong to our list of Australia’s most dangerous animals. Meet the Sydney funnel web spider, a creature that had been one of the worst nightmares of Sydney-area inhabitants until an anti-venom to its deadly bite was developed in 1981. Its trademark fangs are the largest spider fangs in the animal kingdom. It is said that a funnel web can pierce even a human toenail.
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A deadly sea mosquito
Victims of this Australian resident can experience vomiting, headaches, high blood pressure (potentially lethal) and a feeling of impending doom. Can you even imagine that these symptoms can be caused by a jellyfish which is only 0.2 in (5mm) long? It is the Irukandji jellyfish that can cause all these problems. Their sting is nothing more than a mosquito bite, but the consequences people could experience if they were to disregard their sting could be deadly. These sea critters inhabit the clear waters of Queensland, so swimmers beware, even a tiny sting can be dangerous in Australia.
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And you thought it couldn’t get any scarier
In Australia it certainly can. Meet Irukandji’s big brother, the Box jellyfish. Its name comes from the shape of its body which is much larger than the Irukandji's, and, therefore more dangerous. The Box jellyfish has tentacles ranging up to 10 feet which are covered in small darts containing a very deadly poison. Within minutes, its human victims can experience paralysis, cardiac arrest and even death. According to National Ocean Service, Box jellyfish are more advanced than its relatives. They possess eyes on each side of their body which gives them the ability to actively swim and hunt their pray and not only rely on sea currents.
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And, of course, the snake
The eastern brow snake, as its name states, inhabits the eastern part of Australia where the human population density is the highest. For that reason the eastern brown is considered the most dangerous snake in Australia with average death rate of 8-10 people per annum (after the development of the anti-venom). Despite its bad reputation, Australian farmers treat the eastern brown snake as a helpful asset since its diet consists mostly of small rodents which are considered farm pests. Although it has the color brown in its name, this snake’s color can range from a really pale hue to black. For this reason, people who are bitten by this snake have trouble recognizing the attacker.
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“The biggest and the baddest”
Truly an animal worth reviewing in the popular documentary starred by the biologist/explorer Niall McCann. The saltwater or estuarine crocodile is the largest and most dangerous crocodile in the world and it inhabits a huge area ranging from India to, of course, Australia. This monstrous predator is very aggressive and therefore known to attack anything in their sight from buffalos and wild boars to sharks. Humans are also on their menu. About 3 saltwater croc attacks per year are fatal for some unlucky humans.
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Who would have thought?
With all the snakes, crocodiles and spiders who give Australia its bad reputation, the deadliest animal of all mentioned above is actually a common European honey bee. The bee is not aggressive, it does not contain deadly poison, but it still manages to kill at least 2-3 people every year. The reason for that, as stated in Australian Geographic, is that around 3% of Australia’s population is allergic to the honey bee’s sting. Therefore, when stung, an allergic person becomes bloated and requires immediate medical attention.
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In conclusion, Australia may be the home of some very scary animals who can quite often be lethal. But, in comparison to casualties caused by car accidents, drowning or just falling off a horse, the likelihood of a person being attacked by a raging cassowary in the wild is extremely low. So, if you wish to move to Australia, better watch out for those forest fires during summer, they are a much bigger threat than any animal from the list.
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