Friday, December 2, 2016 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Australia’s Most Dangerous Animals

Australia lands on many people’s bucket list and rightfully so. From the Great Barrier Reef to the modern city adventure of Sydney to the rugged Outback, there’s something for everyone. If you think it’s going to be just like home because they speak English here, think again. Australia is home to some of the deadliest animals on the planet. While natives may take their wild company in stride, you might want to watch your step.
 
Crocodiles

Let’s face it – the crocodile is one of the scariest looking animals out there. With their fearsome teeth and rugged armor, you just know they are to be avoided. They have existed unchanged for almost 85 million years because they are perfectly adapted as a fierce predator. Australia has not one, but two varieties of these prehistoric monsters – the saltwater and fresh water crocodiles. Which means you could run into them just about anywhere. With the numbers of crocs rebounding due to protections, attacks are up in recent years, especially in the Northern Territory.
Crocodile
 
Giant Snakes

Snakes are pretty much everywhere in Australia. And they can be HUGE! As if constrictors aren’t scary enough, now they’re big enough to eat an entire crocodile. This python managed to constrict this giant crocodile and calmly worked on swallowing it whole while bystanders gawked in amazement.
Giant Snakes
 
Sneaky Snakes

And when they’re not humongous, Australian snakes can come slithering up through the toilet. They also like to hang out in pools, hide in garages and gardens, or even the middle of the street. The toilet problem is so common that there are signs posted in some places reminding people to flush before taking a seat. Just in case.
Sneaky Snakes<
 
Mega Bats

Is everything bigger in Australia? These huge creatures are known as flying foxes, but are actually fruit and nectar- eating mega-bats. The grey-headed variety is the largest with a wingspan of over 3 feet. They don’t use sonar like other bats but they can see as well as cats in the dark.
Mega Bats
 
Great White Killing Machines

Great Whites are the deadliest variety of shark in the world and they are present off the shores of
Australia – whether you see them or not. The waves of Australia attract thousands of surfers but how many think about the company they’re keeping? This photo may make you rethink your dream trip to surf in Australia.
Great White Killing Machines
 
Angry Birds

Cassowaries are like the angry, crazy cousins of the larger ostrich and emu. They mostly eat fruits and seeds but will happily grab small animals like fish, mice and frogs. They are very protective of their territory and won’t hesitate to charge and attack a human that comes too near. Their powerful legs, sharp claws, and mean beaks can cause severe injury and even death.
Angry Birds
 
Spiders, Spiders, Everywhere

All spiders have venomous bites and Australia is home to a LOT of them. From tiny patu digua spiders to the giant Huntsman spider, Australian spiders are everywhere! One of the world’s most dangerous, the Sydney Funnel-Web can even bite through your fingernail or toenail! Fatalities from spider bites are rare, but many cause severe infections and abcesses.
Spiders, Everywhere<
 
Blue Ring Octopus

This small gorgeous creature is potentially one of the deadliest creatures in the sea. It is the only octopus that can be fatal to humans and there is currently no antivenom to counter its venom. It prefers warm waters of the coral reefs and tide pools of the Australian coast. When provoked, its brown patch darkens, giving fair warning to steer clear.
Blue Ring Octopus
 
Hidden Stonefish

The stonefish lies in wait for unsuspecting fish to pass by so it can attack. Its superb camouflage makes it look like a rough rock or coral. Its highly venomous spines are primarily a defensive mechanism to protect it when if attacked. While humans aren’t its target, the stonefish can cause painful, dangerous, and even fatal, results when a person steps on one. They can also survive out of water for 24 hours, so watch your step both in and out of the water!
Hidden Stonefish
 
Creepy Crawlies

Ok, they don’t have quite a hundred legs, but the Giant Centipede is still one of the creepiest things out there. With over 40 legs and a venomous bite capable of killing snakes and small mammals, the centipede is one Australian native you’ll want to avoid. Luckily, they’re mostly found under logs and leaf debris and don’t get aggressive unless provoked.
Giant Centipede
 

Australia has some of the deadliest, craziest animals in the world, but that’s part of the appeal. There’s something thrilling about knowing that you’re walking (or swimming or surfing) with creatures that can eat you for lunch. Don’t let this stop you from visiting Down Under, but be sure to use common sense and caution.

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