I had heard so much about dangerous animals in Australia before venturing in my first trip to Australia and I must admit that most of the times the information was simply exaggerated.
Some people think of Australia like a place where venomous spiders and snakes are just everywhere, but in reality, the situation is far from that. In +14 years of solo travel adventures in Australia, I rarely saw spiders, snakes and crocs.
Unless you are out in the bush often and spend a lot of time in the wilderness, it is not common to get close to dangerous animals when travelling around Australia.
Although you are unlikely to make this kind of close encounters here you can click to learn about the list of the top 30 dangerous native animals of Australia.
The most dangerous animals in Australia – the saltwater crocodiles
These are 2 species of crocodiles in Australia, Freshwater Crocodiles and Saltwater Crocodiles. Freshwater crocs are harmless and live in freshwater rivers. The Salties as the Aussies call the saltwater crocodiles instead are very aggressive and belong to the top 3 deadliest animals in the world.
They are huge reptiles and can reach up to 7-meter length (23 feet) and their jaws can produce massive pressure. These animals are really dangerous. Unfortunately every year in Australia a crocodile kills a few persons.
Home of the saltwater crocodiles in North Australia, the Top End and the Tropical North Queensland. Here all areas are patrolled and monitored by park rangers, especially is they are visited by tourists. The wet season is the time when saltwater crocs are more active and therefore during these months all gorges and waterfalls are closed. In the dry season the official rangers first make sure no crocodiles are left in there.
No more crocs mean green light to open access to those gorges and waterfalls again!
Best practice on how to stay clear of saltwater crocodiles in Australia
- Watch crocodiles warning signs this is the first simple rule to follow. Whenever you see one of those croc signs, the simple tip is to stay away from that area. And first and foremost do not swim in the water and do not camp close to that area as a precaution. In case you are unsure ask the park rangers or phone the visitor centre.
- Stay away from deep muddy waters as crocodiles usually tend to hide, spot and attack their preys, cattle and other animals. Small creeks, waterfalls and rock pools are usually okay. If unsure whether the area is safe, ask the local rangers or get in touch with the visitor centre.
- Never venture off the beaten track if you intend to do so, ask for advice first. And always stay away from water as a first rule, especially during the wet months.
- Do not walk or stand on water’s edge so avoid walking along the river bank or at the shore. Saltwater Crocodiles move extremely fast (they can reach 40-60 km/hour) and can jump and snap out of water within seconds. When walking it is always better to face the water and never walk at night close water.
- When camping in Australia pay attention to place the tent away from water and do not leave any food scraps around your camping place. Be careful especially at night, never walk away from your camping place.
Venomous Australian Snakes
Snakes are very common in Australia and it is true, Australia is home to some of the most venomous spiders to be found in the world. But they are not as dangerous as you may think. Because of all the wrong and misleading information, it is very easy to get an exaggerated image of dangerous animals in Australia. Australian snakes are aggressive but they never stalk and attack you, unless provoked. Of course, if you tread on a snake, it will attack you and most likely bite you.
Rules to avoid snake encounters in Australia
These are the basic rules and tips to avoid snake encounters in Australia.
- never walk barefoot on grass especially at night.
- always watch where you put your feet when you are walking outdoor.
- use a torch or a headlamp when walking outside in the night.
- always wear sturdy shoes when bushwalking or walking in the outdoors.
- When spotting a snake outdoor, do not panic, just stay calm and do not move, do not touch it. Snakes do not like humans, just wait till it disappears.
The Australian Spiders
Australian spiders are not deadly. There is only one spider which is considered to be deadly and this is the Sydney Funnel Web Spider, a large black web spiders to be found in the area of Syndey, in the 150 km radius area of the city.
However since an antivenom has been introduced in the early ’80, none has died of this spider bite. If you are bitten you should go to the doctor and if need it you will be treated with this antivenom. Some people do not even get any severe symptoms at all.
Another spider is the Red Back Spiders which are to be found everywhere in the country, especially in warm urban regions. They look very similar to the venomous Black Widow Spider, with a distinctive red stripe on the back.
These spiders are venomous but most people do not react at all if they get bitten; the first aid you should get is an ice pack placed on the bite and see a doctor if the symptoms get worse and you get nausea and sweating, very few people develop these symptoms though.
I hope you find this checklist about the Australian dangerous animals will be useful when preparing for your trip.
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How to plan your trip to Australia
The best way to organize your trip around Australia is self-drive. Camping is one of the best ways to fully soak in the amazing Australian landscape. However, is not for everyone and it requires time.