The 10 Most Dangerous Animals in Australia

    When it comes to creepy crawlies and things that go bump in the night, Australia is up there with the likes of Africa. Thank goodness for the cuddly koala or we’d be in serious trouble! While you’re not likely to see a Taipan or crocodile (or any other scary creature) while walking down the street, it can’t hurt to be clued up about Australia’s most poisonous fauna.

    1. The Box Jellyfish
    This squishy creature is one of the most lethal animals in the world. It dwells on the coast alongside the Great Barrier Reef and has a powerful venom. The stings are terribly painful and often fatal. Be sure to have a bottle of vinegar in your first aid kit if you’re heading to this neck of the woods.

    2. The Taipan
    Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news is Taipans usually stay away from people, but once cornered or threatened, they strike several times. The Taipan is a large, fast and highly-venomous snake found throughout Australia. It has the most toxic venom of all the species worldwide, has a dark brown colour and is often found in sugar fields where it hunts for rats.

    3. Saltwater Crocodile
    The Saltwater Crocodile is the stuff of nightmares – it can grow up to 5.45 metres in length and is often found in Thailand, Vietnam and Northern Australia. It’s usually well camouflaged and strikes at an amazing speed. Its most powerful attack (the ‘Death Roll’) consists of grabbing its prey and rolling with it powerfully until it dies.

    4. Blue Ring Octopus
    Another serious threat for those on an Aussie beach holiday is the Blue Ring Octopus – one of the most toxic sea creatures in the world found off the coast of Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines. Even though the octopus is only the size of a golf ball, there is no known antidote for its powerful venom. It causes motor paralysis, eventually leading to cardiac arrest.

    5. Stone Fish
    This creature doesn’t win any points in the looks department. Known as the most venomous fish in the world, the Stone Fish lives on the bottom of reefs, camouflaged as a rock. It lives above the Tropic of Capricorn, but can also be found in the Great Barrier Reef. Its venom causes shock, paralysis and tissue death, depending on the severity of the sting. The pain is said to be so excruciating that it can lead to amputating the affected limb. Sorry, there’s no good news to report here.

    6. The Red Back Spider
    The Red Back Spider is famous for all the wrong reasons – it’s Australia’s most famous deadly spider. The red striped spider’s venom induces severe pain, but thankfully, deaths are rare. Thousands of people are bitten, but only approximately 20% of the victims require treatment. Generally, the children and the elderly are the most exposed to the spider’s threat.

    7. Brown Snake
    Known as one of Australia’s most deadly creatures, the Brown Snake’s venom quickly kills if left untreated. Even young snakes are capable of delivering a fatal bite to humans.

    8. Tiger Snake
    The Tiger Snake is yet another of the many venomous snakes found in Australia, particularly in the southern regions. These striped snakes are generally not aggressive and retreat whenever they have the chance. Although anti-venom is readily available, mortality rates are around 45% if the bite is left untreated.

    9. Funnel Web Spider
    Here’s another one for all you arachnophobes out there. The darkly-coloured Funnel Web Spider resembles a Tarantula and has fangs that can penetrate fingernails or shoes. It can be found in the eastern coast of Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. First aid consists of applying a bandage and wrapping the bitten limb. As with other spiders, the main treatment is the anti-venom.

    10. Great White Shark
    We’ve saved the scariest ‘til last. This exceptionally large shark known as the ‘White Death’ is the largest predatory fish on earth. It can be found in great numbers on the southern coasts of Australia. The good news is it doesn’t target humans as prey. Phew.

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    270 comments on “The 10 Most Dangerous Animals in Australia”

    1. Anna says on August 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm:

      Lots of these comments made me laugh and shake my head.
      I grew up in rural, bush NSW and I’ve probably seen three or four snakes in the wild. If you see a snake, just don’t panic and they’ll continue on their merry way.
      Depending on where you live or visit will depend on the level of spiders you’ll encounter. I see heaps but almost all are harmless, and those that are poisonous can’t do serious damage (most cases)…
      Our spiders are pretty harmless, however terrifying they appear.

      But having lived in Aus for 22 years and travelled all over, the worse thing anyone may encounter on a day to day basis are harmless huntsman spiders (big, hairy, bazillion eyes, looks like the spawn of satan) just chilling on walls.

      If you don’t intentionally go hunting for snakes, demonic spiders, crocodiles, sharks and drop bears, chances are you’ll never encounter one.
      I grew up in the bush and like previously mentioned – came across maybe four snakes in the wild.
      I think swooping magpies are more of a concern! Why aren’t they mentioned?!

    2. Michelle Dhillon says on September 4, 2012 at 10:28 am:

      I’ve been bitten by a trapdoor and paralysed down the left side , bitten by a black pinhead size spider causing unconsciousness and breathing problems and blister rash all down one arm and under it, bitten on the inner elbow by a whitetail, and bitten a whole heap by many other spiders and a centipede which made rash and nausea, wasps, bees, and a scorpion bite under the tip of my right big toe which brought out really painful swollen rings up my legs, have been chased by a taipan, stood on a redbelly blacksnake, confronted by a king brown, my hands were marched on by redback spiders which looked and felt really creepy, but i’m fine and still here. Really there is nothing much to be afraid of in australia the most you’ll usually come across is a bee wasp or harmless huntsman spider. Perhaps i’m an exception to the millions of aussies who haven’t either come across any dangerous animals outside of zoos or who were lucky to observe but not be bitten. I’m going to america and i’m more worried about bears and real bad scorpions there than the whats here . Living here is the same as anywhere else brisbane up the coast on is more subtropical so you could be more likely to encounter something, but not in general. As a parent it pays to keep a close eye on your kids even in the city suburbs if you have a dog they will usually let you know whats about and try fend it off themselves. More pets die from attacks than people but even they usually escape unharmed, so seriously the media dramatizes everything here a little too much. Welcome to oz you brave people :)

    3. Dean says on October 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm:

      Hey i am an aussie i have traveled most of Australia and have never come in contact with any of those animals apart for the red back spider but have never been bitten. They are not in your everyday life if you live in or near a city you will not encounter any of these animals if you live in the country or rural town you may see a snake or two but usually are not dangerous. And the list is not accurate the most venomous spider in the world is the daddy long legs but they cant bite or sting human but kill any other species.

    4. Papa Chook. says on January 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm:

      Hi, I live in central west NSW Australia. I live on a 1400 acre farm in the mountains surrounded by animals. They live all over the place! Under rocks, in the leaves, on the roads and in the trees. But if you read this, you will probably think, “oh my! I could never live there!” Never fear! The only animals you will find in most of NSW are kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, blue tuonge lizards, (witch by the way are compleatly harmless, like almost all lizards,) bearded dragons, brown and black snakes, (witch both flee like there’s no tomorrow,) koalas, and platupusses, witch are seen only once every week or so.
      It is true that the further north you go, the worse it gets. But as for getting bitten and eaten by man eating spiders, that is false. They will only try to bite you if you pick them up and squeeze them. Crocs, more than 60% of accidents are from being drunk, and trying to catch them. Snakes, only one person has been bitten by a Tipan in about 5 years, and he lived. But was trying to save his dog witch would have attacked it, so he picked it up. Jellies and stone fish, well you would be wise to not go into the beaches up north and can still go swimming all the time because of all the pools and waterfalls are always nearby.
      It is very easy to live here, and I have been doing so for 13 years. The only thing I was bitten by we’re ants, bees, little cousins and a possum.

    5. Bbb says on February 16, 2013 at 7:45 pm:

      We are planning on moving our family to Victoria from the UK but I worry that we are all clueless about how to respond to the insects and animals we encounter, most especially my rather adventurous boys who investigate everything! Are there any resources/sites to teach them/us how to keep safe?

    6. James says on March 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm:

      Hi all I live in Melbourne and can I have never seen more than e couple of spiders a year and the odd snake, neither have caused me any prob. I am traveling in NZ at the moment and was shocked to find out the have no snakes non
      Zip nadda. And are friendly educated people, who can’t beat us a sport, but no serprize as we are a wealthy country in comparison if some what racest and begoted lot just like the USA. Our biggest pest are people like the fat Aussie bastard (see him
      on youtube)who is very common in AU we hate our native people just like the US hates your natve people. Our animals are beautiful and unlikely to harm you.
      You and like no others in the world.

    7. Ryan says on March 27, 2013 at 5:07 am:

      Do Australians have gun control laws? We have many dangerous creatures here in the Deep South of the US, but we all have guns to protect ourselves. You guys need to put all of those creatures on the endangered species list where they belong; especially those crocs. bang bang!

    8. CamboShambo says on April 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm:

      I’m a Darwin boy born and bred from the top of the NT, and while the Box Jelly Fish (Stingers is another word we use for em up here, not sure what Queensladers call em), Crocs, Taipans, King Browns, Stone Fish, Blue Ringed Octopus and occasional Tiger Shark (no white pointers up here…they dont like the humidty *jokes*) can all be pretty deadly if encountered, the odds of you having a problem with them are slim if you use your head and do as youre told.

      As far as the Top End goes:

      Box Jelly Fish – In the Wet Season (officially Oct to May) dont swim in the ocean unless wearing a wet suit, and your not likely to have a drama with Jelly Fish. As a youngster I got stung across the legs by one when fishing in knee deep water at the beach. P1ssed on myself (almost as good as vinegar) and gently rubbed the tentacles off (then washed my hands cos I was raised well). Was camping on Melville Island and we didnt have the anti-venom handy but after a few spews, alot of water and good lie down I was fine by the following day. Get a good stinging across the chest tho and if you’re not administered the anti-venom within half an hour or so then its probably game over.

      Crocs – Dont swim in rivers…pretty much ever. Theres sure to be crocs. Big ones. (Your ‘gators’ dont come close.) Sometimes we go swimming in the rivers when we’re drunk, but thats not a real good reason to do so yourself. The heat up here makes us all a bit touched in the head. If a waterhole is known to be safe and by known I mean ‘on the day known’ as opposed to ‘was fine last time we visited’ then you should be ok. That said it is hard to ‘know’. Your best bet is to limit your swimming to the upper levels of waterfalls. Just cos there’s no sign telling you not to swim, doesnt mean you should. The NT’s a big place and the rangers cant put signs up everywhere. If a man eater croc gets you, your gone. And it wont be pretty. Remember the waterfall tip. And backyard swimming pools are pretty good too.

      When walking through the bush in long grass, make an effort to stamp your feet from time to time and you wont come across a snake by surprise. Its the surprised snakes that are the problem. This pretty much applies to all snakes in Australia. Except Fierce Snakes, and there’s alot of BS that gets spread about them so I’ll leave them alone for the sake of this article.

      When walking on the reefs or exposed rock pools by the beach, wear sturdy sandles or even better some shoes (dunlop volleys are a winner here) and look where your stepping. As the article says, a stone fish will ruin your day, a blue ringed octopus will most likely end you.

      Now in my whole life of living here I’ve seen a fair few stingers, a bunch of crocs, a few brown snakes, 1 tiger shark, a few stone fish and 2 blue ringed octopus(i?). Saw a red back spider once during the dry season, just sitting in its web on the railing of the pedestrian crossing near my school. I didnt bother it and it did the same. Never really fussed by any of them, cos for the most part, unless your a dumb sh1t, youre pretty safe.

      Only the crocs ever gave me the real heeby jeebies, and thats not cos I was in immediate danger…but because their crocs. No matter how often you fish near em, you never really get used to the site of them sunning themselves on the river bank, waiting patiently for you to spaz out and fall out of your boat.

      And this is from the most ‘dangerous’ part of Australia. All in all Australia is pretty safe. We dont have grizzly bears going though our rubbish, or mountain lions attacking people going for a jog.

      Seriously, its not that dangerous here. The biggest issue where I come from is the march flies, the sand flies and the mozzies (mosquitoes). They’l spoil a picnic like nothing else.

      Also, earwigs. They freak me out alot.

      Oh yeah and Ryan, we do have gun control here. No semi-automatics allowed (pistols aside and we monitor those pretty strongly). We learned our lesson. Bolt action rifles do the trick pretty well though I find. Especially on the odd occasion when the animals arent armed.

    9. ted says on April 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm:

      my work puts me amongst snakes spiders etc, motorists are what scares me

    10. shawn says on May 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm:

      aussie aussie oi oi oi

    11. Lisa says on June 23, 2013 at 1:19 am:

      I couldn’t help but laugh while reading a few of the comments here, i’ve lived in Sydney all my life 30 odd years and yeah i’ve seen some of the animals on the list mainly the spiders but you just leave them alone its not like their going to chase and attack you. I’d say you’d have more chance of getting killed in a car accident then by one of these animals. The perception that people have of australia never fails to amuse me.

    12. Ace says on July 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm:

      I wonder why small simple little things like spiders tend to be so poisonous?

    13. Liza says on August 1, 2013 at 10:17 am:

      I was born in and grew up in aus I grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Qld and my whole life I have seen maybe one brown snake I live next to cane fields and only see maybe one snake a year and its usually a python which will do nothing to you and lizards are more common around my area and they are usually water dragons that are small and don’t really care about you the only spider that builds its webs in the my house are daddy longlegs and they are harmless. I have also lived in Brisbane and saw nothing no snakes lizards or spiders I had more problems with flies then the wildlife. I love living here I don’t have to worry about crime like what you see on the news about the states guns arnt legal here unless you have permit which is very hard to get. Australia is a lovely place to live all you do is open your eyes and look at the signs and make sure you follow what they say unless you live out woop woop you got no problems the only way your going to see the really dangerous animals is if you go to a zoo. Last time I went camping I saw a goana I stepped near it and it piss bolted up a tree they are more scared of you then you are of them so don’t be worried I’m petrified of reptiles can’t handle them and have panic attacks I wouldn’t live here if I didn’t feel safe and I do feel safe.

    14. Jess says on September 16, 2013 at 11:59 am:

      What about the great Australian Bogan? Those crazy creatures are everywhere!!!

    15. Macca says on September 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm:

      Im a central west aussie nsw we have alot of snakes out my way in the bush such as red belly blacks, browns and tigers. The most common attack is from people mowing long grass and running over a snake thats had the shit scared out of it and probably now lost a few inches of his tale. But growing up here as a young kid you get it drummed into you not to carry on and run around like a headless chook but keep calm bandage the area and CALMLY get to a hospital and you’ll be fine. Check your shoes before you put them on and check beneath things before you pick them up and them nasty bitey spiders wont get a chance to sink their fangs into you. If your worried about croks and stingers keep south and you wont even see one. As for sharks its very very rare for them to attack you cause apparently we dont taste that good and you could always bite them back ( not recommended). Main thing is leave animals be and treat them with respect and they will do the same to you. Just cause good ole steve irwin poked them with sticks doesnt mean you should its not a good idea cause all aussies animals and people dont respond well to dumbasses

    16. Terry Baker says on January 24, 2014 at 11:06 am:

      There are several mistakes or omissions in the rating of Australia’s top ten dangerous organisms. The western brown snake is not mentioned (Pseudonaja affinis) sometimes called a Dugite in WA. The box jellyfish (Chiromex fleckeri) is found in all tropical waters and is not an exclusively Australian jellyfish. The Irukandji (Carukia barnesi) jellyfish inhabits tropical and Australian waters and its poison is more toxic than the box jellyfish. But because of its small size has caused fewer fatalities. Its bell is about 12 mm in diameter – minute by comparison to the box jellyfish. Several cone shell species are also dangerous the Geographer cone (Conus geographus) being one of the most dangerous. The toxin in the fish and crustacean eating cone shells are equally as deadly as the box jellyfish, although there has been few fatalities.

    17. PETER POTTER says on February 5, 2014 at 5:19 am:

      G’Day to yal’ ‘Noticed that sea snakes were left off the list of deadly creatures ! Enjoyed swimming with a 15 – 20 ft. long white sea snake/python (also considered venomous ) at Dingo Beach in Queensland (when that beach was definitely categoized as “a squatter’s beach” in the 1970’s).

    18. EDO says on April 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm:

      It is funny really. It is not a matter of being frightened by the 10 most poisonous animals in Australia. I live in the Northern Territory, Sydney and Victoria. Any Aussie that says he or she never saw a red back spider, a funnel web spider or a white tail spider obviously lives under a rock somewhere. These things exist but unless you happen to go to their hiding spots with the intention to touch them, they will never harm anybody. I think that most dangerous things in Australia are the snakes, in particular in Spring and Summer, they can be a problem in most parks in the outskirts of the outer suburbs. Thankfully we have hospitals that can help you provided you get to them quick

    19. Mike says on May 30, 2014 at 4:06 am:

      Great article re dangerous animals of Australia, I am sure they are all rare and human contact is limited but I am terrified of Taipans, Box Jellies and Great Whites…however they were here before me, the land is theirs and I will not be put off visiting beautiful Australia because of its exotic fauna.

    20. TAMERA HEALY-DOORMAN says on July 5, 2014 at 4:49 am:

      I’m also Australian and, wow, this article says the real truth about Australia’s most dangerous animals.

    Comments are closed.