From poisonous snakes to man-eating crocodiles, Australia is infamous for its dangerous wildlife. With more deadly snakes than any other country worldwide, it isn’t surprising that you might even think that every deadly creature is ready and waiting to pounce on you.
It’s true that Australia is notorious for being a menagerie of deadly creatures. The Box Jellyfish, the Blue-ringed Octopus and the Inland Taipan are in the top ten most venomous animals of the world, and all live in Australia.
And you might be right to be concerned. The Fierce Snake or Inland Taipan is generally regarded as the world’s most venomous snake. One drop of its potent venom is enough to kill 100 adults in about 30 minutes.
The box-shaped carnivorous jellyfish just misses out on having the most potent venom, but it is probably the deadliest. A large sting from the highly venomous Box Jellyfish found in the tropical waters of Australia can induce cardiac arrest and kill within a few minutes.
Then there’s the Blue-ringed Octopus. It looks harmless and is small enough that it would fit in the palm of your hand. But it is more toxic than many land animals. Its venom could kill 20 adults in just a few minutes.
Though sharks, spiders, and snakes get the majority of bad press, it is actually the awesome array of predators and venomous creatures that have earned Australia its fearsome reputation.
Join me as we learn more about these deadly creatures in Australia, and discover what is the unexpected and most dangerous encounter of all – and it’s relevance to each and every one of us.
Over 130,000 people around the world die from snake bites every year. This astonishing fact shocks us and generates a huge fear of snakes. Now what’s surprising is that 20 of the 25 most venomous snake species live in Australia.
And with approximately 170 land and sea snake species swimming, sliding and slithering throughout this great southern land – of which 100 are likely to be venomous – it’s easy to see why people are afraid.
The most venomous snake in the world and epic predator of the Australian outback, the Inland Taipan, is otherwise known as the Fierce Snake. And the thought of stepping on one of these snakes while walking in the bush almost paralyses many people.
Just one bite from an Inland Taipan, or Fierce Snake as they are known locally, has enough venom to kill 100 adult people. By volume, it’s the most venomous animal in the world to humans.
But to look at this snake, you would think it was harmless. It’s a slender snake, about 2 metres long, with a shiny brown coat of smooth scales and a creamy belly. It’s found in the north, the east and the inland of Australia and is respected because its venom can kill a person in a short period of time. But the good news is that they are rarely encountered, and there are no recorded deaths.
Another Australian snake that is included in the top ten venomous snakes in the world is the common Death Adder. It is notorious for having the longest fangs and the fastest strike of any snake. Its potent toxin can cause paralysis or even death within six hours of the bite.
Now the Death Adder is around 1m long, with a thick brown body covered in red and black bands and a creamy underside making it the master of camouflage in the loose-leaf litter and debris where it lives.
Surprisingly the Death Adder is mostly found in Sydney bushland and the grasslands of the eastern coast of Australia, though most residents of these areas would never see one and certainly don’t want to see one! Over the past 150 years, only 14 people have died from a Death Adder snake bite and the last recorded one was in 1975.
In fact, the Death Adder is facing its own crisis. Although the snake is still widespread, it is suffering from the loss of its habitat and the increasing threat from the ongoing Australian Cane Toad invasion further south. The toad eats young Death Adders, and adult Death Adders that eat the toads are poisoned by the toxic glands on the toad’s skin.
Now another very dangerous snake in Australia is the Eastern Brown Snake. It’s on the top ten deadliest snakes on earth, and it’s responsible for the most fatalities of any Australian snake. The venom causes paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding.
This snake is a thin brown snake with a pale-yellow belly. It grows up to 2 metres in length and lives in the open grass and woodlands of eastern Australia, where most of the population lives. The National Coronial Information Service reports that between 2000 and 2016 the brown snake was responsible for 23 of the 35 deaths from snake bite in Australia.
Let’s look at another one of the world’s most venomous land snakes, the mainland Tiger Snake. So, if you think you are safe in the cooler climes of Australia, think again. This species is potentially fatal to humans and lives in southern Australia, including Tasmania. It grows to about 1.2m in length and has banded patterns over its body. These tiger snakes have been responsible for three known deaths in Australia since 2000.
Now what is really surprising is that more than half of these snake bite fatalities occurred in or around the victim’s home, ¾ were male and 20% were trying to pick up a poisonous snake or kill it.
While it’s natural to be frightened of snakes, the reality is the number of deaths from snake bites in Australia is very small. Given that there are 140 species of land snakes living both in the cities and in the bush in Australia, snake bite fatalities are really very rare.
Approximately 550 people in Australia are admitted to hospitals with snake bites each year, but there is only an average of two deaths per annum. To put that in perspective, the World Health Organization estimates that at least 130,000 people die from snake bite globally each year and only 2 of those 130,000 are from Australia.
Another land creature that causes a lot of anxiety is the spider. Many deadly species of spiders live in Australia, but it is the Sydney Funnel-web Spider that’s renowned as the world’s deadliest spider. It is famous for being aggressive and has fangs that can even pierce toenails. And its venom can kill an adult in less than an hour.
Now what is really unbelievable is that the Sydney Funnel-web Spider is found in the bushland and beneath logs or bricks in the backyards of the Sydney metropolitan area. It is the male funnel web spider that has the toxic bite and has been responsible for 13 known deaths in Australia. So beware when gardening in the Sydney area.
And if you thought that you might be safer in the water in Australia, think again. The animal that is considered to be the most dangerous animal in Australia and most likely to kill a human, is the Saltwater or Estuarine Crocodile.
It is an aggressive and territorial animal and is the largest reptile in the world in terms of their mass. They are known to reach over 5-7 m or about 8 yards long with heavily armoured dark green skin and weighing up to 1000kg or 2000lbs.
So, if you are anywhere near a river or estuary near the ocean in northern Australia – then beware. There are warning signs at river crossings and estuaries to alert you to be careful as you are in the crocodile’s habitat. And if by chance you are attacked by this monster, try to escape the water and run. Hopefully you are faster on land than the crocodile is!
The Environment and Heritage Protection Register reports that since 1985 there have been 33 crocodile attacks in Queensland alone, with 11 being fatal.
So, is it safer to swim in the beautiful blue oceans around Australia? Well, yes and no. Records show that the Great White is the most dangerous shark in Australia with a recorded 314 unprovoked attacks on humans. This is followed by the striped Tiger Shark with 111 attacks, Bull Sharks with 100 attacks and Blacktip Shark with 29 attacks.
In 2020, Australia was the deadliest location for shark attacks in the world with 8 fatalities. To keep swimmers safe, many beaches have shark nets to deter sharks. However, to reduce your risk of shark attack, it’s always smart to avoid swimming alone, at dusk, in river mouths and a long way offshore. The safest place to swim is always between the red and yellow flags of the lifeguards.
But the greatest risk to swimmers at Australian beaches is not actually the sharks, but is in fact, the dangerous strong underwater currents, called rips, which can drag swimmers out to sea. These rip currents are one of the greatest, and most common hazards on Australian beaches. On average, rip currents are responsible for at least 21 drowning deaths in Australia each year.
Thousands of people flock to the white sandy beaches every day in Australia. So how can swimming in Australia not be safe? Well, at certain times of the year, it is even totally prohibited to swim in the tropical waters because of deadly marine species.
One of these marine animals is the small mollusc, the blue-ringed octopus found in rock pools and on coral reefs. It is a pretty little animal that is only 5-20 cms long, but it can be lethal to humans. Its venom which is strong enough to kill 20 humans, is contained in the salivary glands and is passed on when the octopus bites you. Unfortunately, there is no antidote, so when you see the warning sign, blue-ringed octopus, stay away from the water.
The good news is that the blue-ringed octopus won’t bite unless they feel provoked or picked up, that’s when the glowing blue lines and rings appear on their bodies. Fortunately, the blue-ringed octopus usually stays hidden away during the day and only comes out at night, which isn’t a good time to be swimming anyway.
The next marine animal on the coast of Australia looks innocuous, but its sting can prove fatal. The small Irukandji (Irr-e-kan-jee) jellyfish has an almost transparent bell that is less than 3cm across and has four tentacles up to 1 m long.
It is the smallest and one of the deadliest box jellyfish in the world. Amazingly it is even able to fire its stingers into its victim.
But this little jellyfish is nothing compared to its larger cousin, the box jellyfish. It is one of the most venomous marine creatures known, actively hunts its prey, and can kill a healthy adult in minutes.
Now the box jellyfish is shaped like a box about 20cm long and has tentacles that reach about 3m. Most box jellyfish have 15 tentacles in each of the four corners, and each tentacle has about 500,000 venom injectors. In other words, a single box jellyfish has about 30 million venomous stingers! Venom is delivered by millions of tiny, harpoon-like stinging cells on up to 60 tentacles, and an encounter is said to be excruciating and cause cardiac arrest.
This jellyfish is found in northern Australian waters during the warm summer months. There are signs on the beaches to warn swimmers of the box jellyfish. Since records have been kept, more than 66 deaths from the box jellyfish are listed.
Yes, Australia appears to be an extremely scary place. How can you possibly expect to survive? Well, it turns out that, even though Australia is home to a wide variety of “dangerous” wildlife, it’s not what it seems.
Australia has got snakes, spiders, sharks, crocodiles, killer jellyfish and a whole host of other venomous critters, but look on the bright side – at least we don’t have lions, tigers, elephants, grizzly bears or hippopotamus wandering in the bush too.
Now here is another surprising statistic. Around 400 tourists to Australia encounter a catastrophe during their visit to the land down under, that’s about one a day. But, although Australia is famed for having some of the most dangerous animals in the world, statistically speaking you’re unlikely to be killed by an animal here.
You’re much more likely to become a statistic in a road accident or swimming at one of the beautiful beaches, than you are to be attacked by an animal.
In fact, if you’re really worried about dangerous animals in Australia, your best bet is to give horse riding a miss. Horses and cows kill the most humans every year. In Australia, horses and cows have killed 77 people between 2008 and 2017, that’s far more people than any other animal, even the notorious saltwater crocodiles, the box jellyfish and the fierce snake.
What is even more surprising is that the much-loved icon of Australia, the kangaroo that is not even considered a danger to anyone, has been responsible for 60 deaths by road accidents in the past nine years. That’s more than any of the 10 most deadly and dangerous animals in Australia.
So, although Australia has got the world’s most venomous species of land snake, snakes are well down the list of causing deaths. Let’s look again at the statistics of these dangerous creatures.
Snake deaths in Australia average out at less than two per year.
Nobody in Australia has died from a spider bite since 1979 after the successful introduction of antivenom for all native species.
From the year 2000 in Australia, on average there’s about 2 fatal attacks a year.
The crocodile population is on the rise following the ban on crocodile hunting. So since 1985 there have been 34 attacks and 11 fatalities.
The Blue Ringed Octopus has caused 3 deaths in the last century.
But the real killer is the Box Jellyfish. It has caused 66 deaths since records began in 1883. That’s about 1 death every 2 years.
So sometimes the least expected animal is the most deadly. The one we don’t see, or the one that doesn’t have the aggressive reputation. Let’s also look at these surprising figures from the National Coronial Information System (NCIS) that records unexpected deaths in Australia.
It shows that on average, 248 people die from drowning every year and 1,195 lose their lives in road accident deaths during the same period. These numbers are far higher than any attack by a deadly animal.
So sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between what is deadly and dangerous and what isn’t. And as we have seen it isn’t always a wild animal that causes a fatality. Now as deadly as these 10 animals are, there is a far more deadly force that we all encounter every day of our lives.
Have you watched or read the news lately? The images are startling: people attacked, fatal car accidents, riots, deadly viruses, brawls, coups, terrorist attacks, family tragedies. It’s a constant reminder that we are living in a sad and violent world.
And after every news release, we might sometimes ask the questions, Why is this happening? Who is responsible? What is the source of all these terrible events and deaths? And, how will it all end?
So, how did evil, violence and destruction begin in our world? Well surprisingly, it all began in Heaven. Yes, in heaven. All the evil, hate, anger and bloodshed that we see in our world today had its origin in heaven. Here’s what happened.
God created the angels and the leader of these angels in heaven was named Lucifer. He was beautiful and charismatic, but his heart was filled with pride. He wasn’t happy just being the leading angel, he wanted to be God. He desired to take the place of God. And when that didn’t happen, he rebelled against God.
Lucifer gathered his followers around him. A third of all the angels joined his ranks and rebelled against God. This amazing angel, Lucifer, and his followers fought against God. Can you imagine that? A galactic battle in heaven – a real life Star Wars. But Lucifer and his angels lost the battle and were thrown out of heaven. Let’s read what the Bible says in Revelation 12:7-9.
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.
The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:7-9.
Now the question is, where did they go and what are they doing? Well, all the evil, conflict and strife around us tells us where Lucifer and his angels ended up. Yes, on earth, our earth, right here where we live.
But there were consequences for his rebellion in Heaven. Lucifer didn’t get away with his disobedience and rebellion. He is no longer Lucifer the first angel, his name is now the devil, the enemy of God. Now the Greek word for devil is diabolos, which means “to split.” And that is exactly what the devil is: a splitter, a divider, a wedge driver.
He divided Adam and Eve from God in the garden of Eden. Instead of a daily walk with God, Adam and Eve felt ashamed of what they had done. They tried to hide from God. And Satan has every intent of doing the same to you. He rebelled against God and wants you and me to do the same. He wants us to think God doesn’t care for us.
He wants us to think God is a tyrant. He wants us to think God is behind all the catastrophes and evil in the world. The Bible tells us what Lucifer is now doing. In I Peter 5:8, we read, “The devil, your enemy, goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV).
Satan is on the prowl. He has many strategies and tricks to destroy us. He’s cunning, he’s subtle, he’s smart. He is far smarter than we are. Satan is trying to create chaos, distractions, and destruction in our relationships and everywhere in the world. In every quarrel, riot, war and violent act, an unseen spiritual war is going on behind the scenes.
Satan is the mastermind of destruction and one of his favourite tricks is to create the toxic feelings of unworthiness that overwhelm us. We feel unworthy, we feel alone, we feel isolated, we constantly compare ourselves to others and come up wanting. We are plagued by self-doubt, and feel defeated by events in our lives.
We feel inferior to our friends, workmates and family. We find ourselves constantly replaying our regrets in life. They cause such negative feelings and we find solace in places and activities that are even more damaging to us.
These feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy are Satan’s simplest tricks to get us to feel that God doesn’t care about us. Satan wants us to follow his lead and rebel against God, to blame God for what is happening and to reject God’s love and plan for our lives.
This is a war for allegiance and control of the minds of every man, woman and child on planet Earth. And creating low self-esteem is one of the most effective tactics that Satan uses to tear you down. His greatest desire is to damage and destroy our lives. He uses many nefarious ways to make us feel inadequate, unworthy, under-valued and separated from God’s love.
He wants to steal your peace, to kill your dreams, to destroy your future. So, Satan is no laughing matter. He hates you. He wants to destroy you, your marriage, your family, career, finances, and life. You won’t have peace in your life if you think you’re just fighting or contending with another person when conflict arises.
You are fighting against Satan, against powerful spiritual forces, the forces of darkness. He is behind the scenes, taking every opportunity to produce conflict in your life. Satan incites, persuades, binds, and rules. And you’ll never defeat or outsmart Satan by yourself. So how do you fight against this kind of power? How do you defend yourself? How do you get the victory?
Well, there is only one way to escape from the clutches of Satan. Even though you were born into a cosmic battle between good and evil, you are born to win – because Jesus loves you and has come to your defence. He’s already defeated the devil at the cross of Calvary. He’s acted on your behalf. And by accepting Him, His victory becomes your victory.
God wants us to feel loved. He wants us to be successful. God wants us to have strong personal relationships. He wants us to feel worthy. He wants us to feel special. So, one of the best ways to counteract Satan’s attack on you and to overcome, is to read the Bible and start believing what God says about you and His plan for your life. Do you know what God thinks about you? Well, here it is.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11.
And here’s the really good news. Jesus is returning soon to this earth to end all suffering and pain and to destroy sin and Satan forever. And Jesus is going to take us to live with Him forever, in a perfect environment where there will be no more deadly animals, no more pain, no more suffering and no more death.
If you would like to know more about Jesus and how to have a relationship with Him. If you would like to experience lasting peace and happiness in your life, then I’d like to recommend the free gift we have for all Incredible Journey viewers today.
It’s the small but popular book, ‘Steps to Christ.’ This booklet is our gift to you and is absolutely free. I guarantee there are no costs or obligations whatsoever. So, make the most of this wonderful opportunity to receive the free offer we have for you today.
If you’ve enjoyed our journey among Australia’s ten deadliest, and our reflections on the deadliest encounter of all that we face, then be sure to join us again next week, when we will share another of life’s journeys together. Until then, let’s put our faith and trust in God who has defeated our deadliest enemy. Let’s pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, We thank you that we have a God in Heaven who loves us. We pray that you will protect us from the deadliest dangers of this world and also from the attacks and deceptions of Satan. Father, please keep us and our families safe and grant us a place in your kingdom, where there will be no more pain, suffering and death. We ask this is Jesus’ name. Amen.