5. The Stonefish
The stonefish or dornorn is officially considered the most venomous fish in the world. It takes its name from the fact that, well, it looks like a stone. It can blend in well in the shallow tropical waters it inhabits, mostly in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The nasty part of the stonefish is on its dorsal fins. There is where you’ll find a row of spines filled with a toxic venom.
If you have the bad luck to get stuck with one of the stonefish’s venomous fins, you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt. The venom hurts so much that some people who’ve been stung have wanted the limb amputated. It can cause shock, paralysis, tissue death, and even fatalities if not treated within a few hours. The stonefish has at least one beneficial use. It’s a very expensive sashimi called okoze in Japan.
4. Blue-Ringed Octopi
There are three species of the blue-ringed octopus, all of which live in the Pacific. They’re all small, beautifully colored octopi, and they’re all some of the most venomous animals in the world. The octopus usually stays camouflaged, waiting to prey on its preferred dinner of small crabs and shrimp. Provoke it though, and it’ll quickly turn yellow and show off its bright blue markings. Then it will sting you and you’ll die. Okay, you might not die, but the tiny octopus carries enough venom to kill 26 adults in its body.
The most dangerous effect of the blue-ringed octopus’s venom is respiratory failure. If you’re stung by the octopus, you’re probably going to need rescue breathing until you can start to breathe on your own, which might not be for several hours. Nasty stuff.
3. Inland Taipan
The inland taipan’s nastiness can probably be inferred by its other name, the fierce snake. It’s the most poisonous snake in the world, with a single bite containing enough venom to kill up to 100 adults. Not only is it deadly, but it’s a quick killer too. It can kill you in less than 45 minutes.
Fortunately for you, I doubt you spend too much time wandering the deserts of central Australia. Even more fortunately, there are no actual documented human fatalities. The snake is particularly timid, won’t bite if left alone, and there’s an antivenom. So wander around the Australian deserts with confidence, secure in the knowledge that only several dozen other animals might kill you.
2. Brazilian Wandering Spider
The Brazilian wandering spider is the most toxic spider in the world, more than earning its Greek name of murderess. This spider is really creepy for several reasons. One, it’s fierce. This is not some wimpy spider that will run away at the first sign of a human, allowing careless hikers to escape a painful death without even knowing they’re in danger. No, these spiders will attack anyone and anything they see as threatening. They’re both deadly and aggressive. Second, they’re not incredibly easy to avoid. They get the “wandering” part of their name from the fact that they roam around, rather than live in a particular web or tree. In densely populated areas, you can imagine how many people get bitten by an aggressive spider that wanders all over the place.
Brazilian wandering spiders are responsible for more cases of venom intoxication in Brazil than any other animals. Thankfully, even if the spider bites you it might not inject venom. Only about a third of its victims receive venomous bites. But if you do get any venom, you’re really going to regret it. It’s reportedly one of the most painful venoms in existence, thanks in large part to a high concentration of serotonin in the venom. While the venom is potentially fatal, the worst thing the Brazilian spider can cause would probably only make you die of embarrassment. The venom can cause priapism, an erection that won’t go away and might actually cause impotence. There is an antidote to the venom, but since it is so fast acting you’d better be carrying it on you if you’re out in the South American jungle. You’re not getting to a hospital in time.
1. The Box Jellyfish
The box jellyfish or sea wasp is probably more dangerous than any of the other animals on this list. They’re not technically jellyfish, though they look a lot like them to me, but they are arguably the most venomous creature in the world. Tiny nematocysts on the animal’s tentacles contain the powerful venom and stick to their victims. Of all the creatures on this list that could sting me, I would fear this one the most. Its venom is so painful that there are several reports of people who passed out from the pain but kept screaming long after losing consciousness. They also kill more people per year, mostly in Australia, than any other animal on this list. Since records started being kept in 1884, it’s killed more than 5500 people.
If you’re ever stung by one of these jellyfish, you’ll probably not be able to remember any tips. Here are a few anyway. Vinegar, due to its acetic acid content, will prevent any more venom from releasing into the bloodstream and should be applied to affected areas and any remaining tentacles immediately. If you can make it to the shore, not always a given when stung by one of these creatures, you might make it as there is an antivenom. Probably the best thing you can do to avoid stings, besides not swimming in box jellyfish infested waters of course, is to wear pantyhose. Seriously. A thin layer of nylon, such as pantyhose, will prevent the stingers from attaching to your skin and hurting like the dickens. Some men would think it girly to wear pantyhose at the beach, but if it’s good enough for Joe Namath I figure it’s good enough to save me from immense pain and death.
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