Australias Dangerous Animals

Australia is a beautiful country and has so much to offer but it also has some of the most dangerous animals in the world. This information is intended as a guide only.
The emergency number in Australia for Police, Fire and Ambulance is 000.

First aid procedures for any venomous bites is available from the Australian Venom Research Unit. Familarise yourself with First Aid procedures before you travel.

The list below was developed by the Australian Museum in Sydney. They were rated out of 10 based on the threat they pose, combined with the likelihood of encountering one.

1. Box jellyfish - Danger rating: 10/10

These are transparent and pale blue in colour which makes them difficult to see in the water. The Australian box jellyfish is found in the tropical oceans around northern Australia. They are often found around river mouths, estuaries and creeks, particularly after rain.
The general rule that locals go by is wet season is stinger season. That is generally from October/November to April/May. This is an estimate only. They have been reportedly found throughout the year in the Northern Territory.
The sting of the ox jellyfish can have severe consequences due to its toxicity. The most important first aid action is to inactivate the remaining stinging cells. This should be done by pouring vinegar over the tentacles for at least 30 seconds. Only then should the tentacles be removed. Many popular Australian beaches where box jellyfish are present will even have a bottle of vinegar stored on the beach next to the warning signs. A bottle of vinegar is certainly a useful addition to your first aid kit.

2. Honey bee – Danger rating: 9/10

Allergies to bee venom can be serious and deadly. If you have known allergies, always carry your medication with you.

3. Irukandji

A species of jelly fish. These are tiny and almost invisible. The body is up to 3cm small, but tentacles can be up to one metre long. Irukandji appear across northern Australia beaches during Summer.

4. Bull shark – Danger rating: 8/10

One of the few sharks that are potentially dangerous to people. The bull shark will stay in fresh water for long periods of time to feed and breed. Females can give birth in river mouths were the young will live for up to 5 years. The bull shark can grow to a length of 3.4 m.
This species is widespread and can be found in tropical and warm temperate waters. The Bull Shark has been found from south-western, Western Australia, around the northern coastline and down the east coast to the central coast of New South Wales.

5. Eastern brown snake

Also known as the common brown snake. This snake is found throughout the eastern half of Australia. It is fast-moving, aggressive and known for its bad temper.
Their venom is ranked as the second most toxic of any land snake in the world. Unfortunately, they thrive in populated areas and do particularly well in rural farm areas.

The eastern brown raises its body off the ground, wind into an 'S' shape, mouth gaping open and ready to strike if disturbed. Immediate medical attention should be sought if bitten.

6. Saltwater or estuarine crocodile

"Salties," live in the brackish and freshwater regions of northern Australia. They are excellent swimmers and have often been spotted far out at sea. Please keep these guidelines in mind, partially when travelling across northern Australia.
Always observe crocodile warning signs! They are there for a reason. Just because you can’t see any crocodiles, doesn’t mean they can’t see you.

Don't assume it's safe to swim if there is no sign. Crocodiles are masters of camouflage. Always stay well away from deep, still or muddy waters.

Stay away from the water's edge, even if you are just going for a walk. Never turn your back and always face the water.

Don't feed, harass or provoke them and don't interfere with them. Leave them alone.

Don't leave any food scraps at your camp site.

If you see a crocodile sliding mark (from when a crocodile slides into the water) from a river, stay well away.

Australian crocodiles are most aggressive during the breeding season (September to May).
Be particularly vigilant at night time.

7. Sydney funnel web spider Danger rating: 7/10

The Sydney funnel-web is the deadliest spider in Australia.
It is found in New South Wales in both rural and populated urban areas. They like to burrow in humid sheltered places.
They are not often encountered but can be quite aggressive when threatened. Even though they are 1.5-3.5cm, their fangs are larger than a brown snake's and can pierce through toenails.
If bitten, apply first aid and seek immediate medical attention.

8. Blue-ringed octopus

There are two species of blue-ringed octopus:
Hapalochlaena lunulata - grows up to 20cm (8 in) across its stretched tentacles.
Hapalochlaena maculosa – smaller and more common, weighing a tiny 28 grams. They are found in the shallow coral and rock pools of Australia.

When resting, the Blue Ring Octopus is a pale brown to yellow colour. The blue rings on its body will light up when the animal feels threatened.
NEVER pick one up. The beak is strong enough to penetrate a wet-suit and it carries enough poison to kill 26 adults!

The Blue-ringed octopus is found in Southern Western Australia, to southern Queensland and Northern Tasmania.

There's no known antidote to its painless bite. The only treatment is hours of heart massage and artificial respiration until the poison has worked its way out of your system. Reported injuries have only occurred when an octopus has been picked out of its pool and provoked or stepped on.


9. Coastal taipan

The colouring of the coastal taipan is usually light olive to dark russet brown but sometimes dark grey to black. The coastal taipan has a cream belly and is usually marked with orange or pink flecks. It can grow up to 2.9 metres.
It is found in northern and eastern Australia. It is known from north-western Western Australia, the northern Northern Territory, across Cape York Peninsula and coastally through eastern Queensland to Grafton (New South Wales). In southern Queensland it is common near Beaudesert, Esk and Gympie.
The coastal taipan lives in forests, coastal heaths and grassy beach dunes. It also favours cultivated areas such as cane fields. It remains active during the day and early evening during hot weather.
It is known to be the third most toxic land snake venom known. If bitten, apply first aid and seek urgent medical attention.

10.Common death adder

The common death adder has a short, stout body with a large triangular head. The tail tip is cream or black and the body colouration varies between grey to reddish brown. Its belly is whitish and flecked with black or brown.
It is found from the Gulf region of the Northern Territory across to central and eastern Queensland and New South Wales, southern parts of South Australia and Western Australia.
Common death adders rely on cover in their habitat, particularly deep leaf litter, logs, rock piles and bushy shrubs. A secretive snake, it can lay concealed for hours or days at a time using colouration to avoid detection.

If bitten, apply first aid and seek urgent medical attention.