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August 23, 2016 How to scare tourists: Australia’s deadliest creatures

For some reason, people from overseas are terrified of coming to Australia. Not because of us or the weather, but because we have the most efficient murdering machines in the world.

Our wildlife will mess you up so quickly that you won’t even have the chance to complain… and that’s just the swooping magpies.

So next time you want to freak out an American who’s bragging about bear attacks, drop some of these stats into casual conversation (or say something about how our footballers are too tough to wear helmets – that always gets them).

The Fierce Snake Lives Up To Its Name

Habitat: Where Queensland, SA and NT

Also known as the inland taipan, this is the most deadly snake in the world. Around 2m long, these killers generally feast on small native rodents, but one dose of venom is enough to kill 100 grown men. Apparently they’re quite shy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t lash out if you’re giving them trouble – and even if you don’t die from respiratory failure, cerebral haemorrhage, renal failure and/or an intense allergic reaction, it’ll still take weeks to recover. Just be thankful you’re not a small rodent.

An Irukandji Jellyfish Doesn’t Care About Your Nets

Habitat: The northern waters of Australia

If you visit Darwin, you’ll notice there aren’t heaps of people swimming along their beautiful beaches. In fact, there’s a human-constructed wave pool right near the sea. Why’s this? Because of the hordes of little, invisible jerks lurking in the salty ocean, just waiting to annihilate the unwary swimmer.

Irukandji jellyfish have tiny bodies (as in, 1cm³) trailing ridiculously long tentacles (up to 1m) that will cause you immense pain and possibly even a brain haemorrhage. Even though the government built nets along the coastline to keep them at bay, there’s no guarantee one won’t slip through the cordon. Oh, and they can fire stingers like little video game bad guys, just to be extra evil.

Sydney Funnel-Web Spiders Slaughter Humans By Accident

Habitat: Swimming pools, garages and backyards

The massive-fanged males of this species are often out wandering, on the hunt for females to mate with, when they come across human victims. They love water, so they sometimes end up falling into swimming pools, where they hold their breath until some unsuspecting person rescues them – then they unleash the venomous fury (and claim it’s all in self-defence).

A funnel-web bite is stupidly painful, and by some accident of evolution their venom is very dangerous to humans. Of course, there haven’t been any fatalities since we discovered modern first aid and anti-venom, but the Americans don’t need to know that…

A Blue-Ringed Octopus Wants You Dead

Habitat: Shallow coastal areas where tourists swim

Apparently these eight-legged villains are docile, minding their own business in tide pools and coral reefs, but those beautiful blue rings are surely designed to draw in unsuspecting tourists… then BAM! A tiny, painless bite you might not even notice until the tetrodotoxin it delivers stops you breathing and fully paralyses you.

Unable to move but fully aware of your surroundings, that’s when you learn there’s no antivenom available, and your only chance of survival is artificial respiration until they get you on a ventilator. So, ahhh, don’t touch pretty blue things.

Great White Sharks Kill With Curiosity

Habitat: From central Queensland, all the way around the southern side of Australia to WA

An “investigation bite” doesn’t sound too bad, but when it comes to great white sharks, humans aren’t likely to survive this initial probe. While a bull shark will take a limb and leave you to your business, great whites have way too many teeth, leading to fatal blood loss. And the worst part is, we’re too bony for their tastes so they don’t even want to eat us. Rude.

Saltwater Crocodiles Are Hungrier Than Ever

Habitat: All across the northern outback

The largest of all living reptiles on the planet, saltwater crocodiles are nothing to be played with. If you’re not paying attention, you’ll be ambushed then dragged into the water, rolled, drowned and eaten in pieces over time.

These modern-day dinosaurs are angry and aggressive, with no fear of humans and jaws so powerful they’re like being crushed by several tons. Even the babies look evil. Fortunately, we can eat them back – crocodile meat is delicious and tastes like vengeance.

Dropbears Eat More Tourists Than Any Other Creature

Habitat: The trees

A more ferocious cousin to the sleepy koala, dropbears are always hungry for flesh, and don’t care which species it comes from. They ambush ground-dwelling mammals from above, waiting for hours in the trees until their prey wanders underneath – that’s when they drop metres to stun their victim and start tearing away at the throat.

Rubbing Vegemite behind your ears or wearing forks in your hair are two ways to keep these violent predators at bay. Make sure you tell your tourist mates this info when they’re going bushwalking…

Shane Cubis
is a contributor for A•STAR