Image: Flickr/Herman Yung
Australia is a beautiful and prosperous country, but the down side of Down Under is that it’s also where you can find a deadly spider in your slippers or a lethal snake in your bed. Among its potentially fatal menagerie, these 20 animals are undoubtedly the deadliest.
Image: Jens Petersen
20. Lionfish (Pterois Volitans)
If you’re foolhardy enough to touch a beautiful lionfish, its spine-covered fins will put you in a world of pain. You’ll probably survive the vomiting, convulsions, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties, but if you’re very young, elderly or have certain allergies, your chances dramatically decrease.
19. Man o’ War (Physalia Physalis)
Otherwise known as the floating terror, the man o’ war’s names say it all. Its tentacles brand painful whip-like stings on up to 10,000 swimmers each year and, although it rarely kills, its venom replicates allergic reactions and can have a detrimental effect on the heart and lungs of victims.
Image: Flickr/Natalie McNear
18. Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake (Pelamis Platurus)
Bitten by something in the sea with no obvious side effects? Seek medical help quickly, since the yellow-bellied sea snake’s highly potent and slow-acting venom seems harmless before turning into an organ-failing, muscle-destroying agent of paralysis that has been known to kill.
Image: via Fallows C, Gallagher AJ, Hammerschlag N
17. Great White Shark (Carcharodon Carcharias)
With up to six rows of teeth and a mouth like the gateway to hell, the great white shark was made all the more infamous by the movie Jaws. But the real-life version almost lives up to its fictional portrayal. It’s the shark species responsible for attacking the most humans to date, with 272 recorded encounters by 2012.
Image: via Benjamint444
16. Tiger Snake (Notechis Scutatus)
You know a snake is going to be a bad-ass when it’s named after a ferocious giant cat. Characterized by the striped patterns on its body, the tiger snake’s neurotoxin causes numbness, sweating, paralysis, and, if it’s untreated, the venom has a 40-60 percent chance of killing you.
Image: Albert Kok
15. Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo Cuvier)
Move aside Jaws, there’s a new game in town. Tiger sharks are not picky eaters and will take a bite out of anything… including humans. Although it’s reckoned they have killed fewer humans than the great white, they have also attacked fewer, so actually have a higher kill rate.
Image: Flickr/Rahul Alvares
14. Red-Bellied Snake (Pseudechis Porphyriacus)
Australian snakes can do some nasty things, and the red-bellied snake is no exception. No deaths have been recorded from its venomous bite, but that’s little consolation when you’re suffering from vomiting and diarrhea while urinating whole new colors thanks to your muscles being ravaged. Now there’s an image.
13. Mulga Snake (Pseudechis Australis)
As if Australians didn’t have enough to worry about – unlike many other snakes, which don’t tend to attack unless deliberately or unwittingly provoked, the Mulga has been known to bite victims while they sleep. And often, it doesn’t just bite, but has a good old chew in order to inject more nerve- and muscle-dissolving venom. Oh, and the wound bleeds profusely, too. Sweet dreams, Australians.
Image: via Reptile Trader
12. Dugite (Pseudonaja Affinis)
The dugite is common in urban areas and has a nervous nature. A bad combination, it would seem, because this snake is responsible for around two-thirds of hospital-treated snake bites in Perth, Western Australia. Fortunately, despite its venom being capable of causing hypertension, bleeding, and blood clots, the dugite has only made one documented kill.
Image: via Regal Tribune
11. Cone Snail (Conus)
The cone snail is a slinking horror, creeping across the ocean floor with paralytic venom 1,000 times more powerful than morphine. That’s potent. The cone snail hunts fish using a biological harpoon to inject its poison. Each snail contains enough of the poison to kill 15 people… but thankfully, only one death has been recorded so far, and that was back in 1935.
10. Death Adder (Acanthopis Antarcticus)
With a name like this, it’s not going to be cuddly. The death adder lives up to its billing, with a paralytic bite that shuts down its victim’s breathing system if left untreated; and before the availability of a working anti-venom, around 50 percent of bite sufferers died. Oh, and did we mention it’s also the fastest-striking snake in the world?
Image: Denise Chan
9. Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus Acutellatus)
One of the deadliest snakes worldwide (thank you Australia), the coastal taipan’s venom is highly toxic and the first person to have caught one alive was also one of its victims, dying from its bite the very next day. Its neurotoxic poison attacks the nervous system and causes blood clots.
Image: Flickr/Rickard Zerpe
8. Blue-Ringed Octopus (Genus Hapalochlaena)
One of the most deadliest creatures in the world, if you were bitten by the blue-ringed octopus you might not even notice it until the blindness, complete paralysis and respiratory failure kick in. The venom administered by its often painless bite is so powerful that it can kill in minutes… and there’s no known anti-venom.
7. Sydney Funnel-web Spider (Atrax Robustus)
Spiders are nightmare-fuel for many people, but this one has fangs bigger than some snakes do and they are hard enough to pierce through shoes and toenails. The Sydney funnel-web spider is an eight-legged terror capable of bringing death through respiratory failure with its neurotoxic bite and has been known to have killed a child in 15 minutes.
6. Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus Porosus)
Reaching lengths of more than 20 feet and weighing in at up 3,000 lbs of scaled muscle, saltwater crocodiles are deadly survivors from a prehistoric age and they aggressively prey on humans foolish enough to wander into in their patch. Hugely fast and powerful, there is only one way to avoid attack: stay away. Far away. I hear Norway’s nice at this time of year.
5. Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja Textilis)
As Indiana Jones asked: why did it have to be snakes? The eastern brown is one of the deadliest in the world, though it rarely uses venom in defensive bites, so only 10-20 percent of untreated attacks lead to death. That’s fortunate, since its poison can cause convulsions, renal failure and heart attacks.
Image: via New HD Wallpapers
4. Bull Shark (Carcharhinus Leucas)
With a mouth bristling full of dagger-like teeth, a quick temper, and – most importantly – its preference for shallow water, the bull shark is considered more dangerous to humans (who also prefer shallow water) than both the tiger and great white shark. Quick to bite swimmers, around 30 percent of its attacks are fatal.
3. Irukandji (Carukia Barnesi)
At around a cubic centimeter in size, the entire body of this tiny, fragile-looking jellyfish is covered from bell to tentacle-tip in stingers it can fire at victims. Its stings carry venom potent enough to cause deadly hemorrhaging of the brain and result in up to 100 hospitalizations each year.
Image: Gilles San Martin
2. Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera)
Among all of Australia’s deadly sharks, snakes and spiders, the humble honeybee ranks as one of the most dangerous creatures on the continent. Although its sting is painful and can swell up, it’s the anaphylactic shock induced in some people by the bee’s venom that can lead to death if treatment isn’t forthcoming.
1. Box Jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri)
Looking as beautiful as it does alien, the box jellyfish is the most dangerous creature in Australia and has caused more than 80 deaths since the 1880s. The creature’s translucent body makes it almost invisible in the water and its stinging tentacles can inject enough venom to kill you in just two minutes.