So, was talking to a foreign friend today and she asked me: "Hey, is it true that pretty much everything in Australia can kill you?". I was like: "Naaaaah, just..." before proceeding to list things.
When I needed a second hand, I started seeing her point. When I reached double digits, I really started to get worried. Maybe I've never had to sit down and count them but, yeah, my country quite clearly wants me dead. Let's review the things that made my list, shall we? Rundown time!1. Snakes.
There are over 100
different kinds of snakes in Australia. Don't worry though -only a dozen or so
can actually kill you. This is only the highest number of deadliest snakes in a single country that exists in the world
but whatever, right? King of the 'mess-with-me-and-die' is the Inland Taipan which is also, incidentally, the most venomous snake in the world. In fact, in the list of Top Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World, HALF
are from Australia. Yay?
Here's the Inland Taipan
2. Spiders. Spiders are creepy and we have lots that can kill you. Like, subspecies of species. I can't give you a number, which is just depressing. The Mouse Spider, Redback Spider and Sydney Funnel Web are the ones that made the World Top Ten List, with the Funnel Web getting gold as the most deadly. I grew up checking my swimming pool for them because occasionally they'd fall in and they could lay in wait, for hours, at the bottom. Not checking = get bitten = hospital. I still check in pools today before I jump in.
Sydney Funnel Web
Red Back Spider
3. Sharks. The one that the movie 'Jaws' made famous. While this movie exaggerated the size of the Great White Shark, their hardly cuddly teddy bears. Also, in Australia, it is rarely the Great White that gets you. More likely you'll be bitten by Bull Shark or a Tiger Shark than a Great White. But Great Whites are, without doubt, the most dangerous of them. Your less likely to be bitten by one but your more likely to loose a limb or you know, die, if you are are bitten by one.
Great White Shark
4. Blue Ringed Octopus. Yeah. We have an octopus here that can actually kill you. It's small and actually quite pretty, with lots of lovely blue dots. If you think I'm stretching the truth, I'm not even. They have enough poison to kill 26 people. Bring a few friends along, folks!
Blue Ringed Octopus
5. The Cone Snail. A SNAIL. A FREAKING SNAIL!! It has little stinger things that it uses to paralyse fish. They're poisonous enough to kill 15 people.
6. Saltwater Crocodile. Wanna avoid sharks and play it safe by swimming in creeks or streams? Yeah, no. We have crocodiles too! Big ones!! Most common in Queensland and in the Northern Territory, they can be ferocious creatures. Please do not try to tackle them. I had a friend once that found a crocodile in her swimming pool. Seriously.
7. Stone Fish. If being killed by a venomous snail isn't embarrassing enough for you, try being killed by a fish. Known as the most venomous fish in the world, the stone fish lives on the bottom of reefs and pretends to be a rock (hence the name). It has lots of lovely spines on its fin which cause shock, paralysis and tissue death. Isn't that just lovely? Best of all, wearing driving equipment does exactly nothing -the spines pierce right through! Thanks, fish!
8. Stingrays. Made famous by becoming the animal that killed Steve Irwin, stingrays are quite dangerous and should be left well alone. It's hard to be killed by one, because their big spikey spears have to hit you in just the right (that should be wrong) place. Steve got struck in the heart which is why it was fatal for him. In reality, they kill very few people per year -but kill people they do. So watch out!
9. The Box Jelly Fish. This is the KING of things that can kill you. Not only the most dangerous animal in Australia, it is one of the most dangerous animals in the world. Get this: there have been 80 jellyfish deaths since 1883. 78 of those were caused by the box jellyfish. If you get stung by one, your life expectancy is reduced to a few minutes. I can't even stress how dangerous these are. Best of all -there is currently no known anti-venom. So if you get stung, you are pretty much screwed. On the other hand, look how pretty!!
I think I'll stop there because hopefully you've got the idea. Quick disclaimer -though all these things WILL kill you, honestly the truth is.... they very rarely do. I not sure the snakes, for example, have enough kills to reach double digits, despite being in the top ten. And even the dreaded Box Jellyfish -80 deaths since 1883 is around 1.6 people killed a year. Looking at it logically, cars have a higher death toll.
Still, bit unnerving to be practically surrounded by things that can kill me. I suppose, strangely, this is one of the reasons I love Australia. Just going outside is a risk! Seriously though, the wild life here is weird and wonderful and, yes, deadly.
If I haven't turned you off ever visiting and the thought of coming here doesn't instil terror or make you break out into hives, do your homework before you come and read up on what can kill you wherever it is that your going. Snakes and spiders are the things you're most likely to encounter. I've only ever seen a shark once, and it was decidedly unimpressed by me.
And to the friend that asked me the question in the first place the answer seems to be a resounding 'YES'
. But we have Koalas too!! Cutie!!
Thoughts? Comments? Let me know what you think!