Lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my! When I think of deadly animals, my mind conjures up images of big bad beasties like these. But I recently encountered on of the world’s deadliest animals, and it looked like it should be in a Finding Nemo movie and not the harbinger of death.
I have a secret to reveal. When I first started to travel, New Zealand wasn’t going to be the first country I traveled to. No, when deciding where to go for my first trip abroad, I was going to choose Australia for my first a working holiday.
Why didn’t I go to Australia?
Right as I was about to book my package through BUNAC, I saw a show on the travel channel that was “Top 10 World’s Deadliest Animals” of course narrated in an ominous voice. When I saw that 8 out of the 10 deadly animals were in Australia, I decided my first trip better be to a country where nocturnal fluffy kiwi birds were the biggest threat.
There is a line that I’ve heard often repeated about Australia, “Everything here can kill you“. A laugh about it will follow after someone says that, but that laugh is half-joking and half serious. It’s more of a nervous chuckle. Why? Because it is true, that Australia is home to some of the world’s deadliest creatures from snakes to spiders to sharks.
Most Australians will tell me there isn’t anything to worry about with the deadly creatures of Oz, and majority have never seen any of them in their entire lives. Farther north is where some of the more wicked creatures dwell like snakes and spiders, but on bush walks and camping, you just have to be careful and check your boots.
Snakes will scurry off if you make enough noise along a path or use a stick to swat the grass ahead. I’ve been told that Victoria, or in the Melbourne area at least, don’t have many deadly creepy crawly things. There’s one spider that has a wicked bite but isn’t deadly. So I thought I was quite safe coming here.
And then there is the animal we stumbled upon while at the beach that is probably the worst of them all.
Up until that point, the craziest thing I’ve come across was a giant shiny blue and green wasp that looked frightening enough, and an ant the size of my thumb that tried to attack me. Not too bad. I’ve been on hikes and gone off the trails around parts of Victoria and haven’t seen anything too threatening. Just some Echidna hiding their heads from me.
These are the only creatures I’ve come across so far.
Yeah, he had some attitude issues. As this hell-spawn fire demon was carrying away a meal, he turned on my and tried to take my life. Or at least a finger.
Cute echidna eh? Though I wouldn’t want to pet the little guy. As I inched closer, head dig fiercely to hide his head in the ground for protection.
Another insect demon. Though they can sting repeatedly, this wingless wasp is pretty harmless and usually travels solo so you don’t have to worry about running into an army of them.
Those aren’t so bad are they?
My luck avoiding creatures that could kill me was bound to run out, and last week it did.
It was just another beautiful summer day in Australia, and my roommate and I decided to head to the beach for the day to explore and relax. We went down to Torquay (Tour-key) which is about an hour southwest of Melbourne and is one of the more well-known beaches in the area for the slew of surf companies founded there. Though I still have a deep fear of swimming in Australia because of, ya’ know, gnarly sharks and all, I really didn’t expect to run into anything that day.
As we walked along the beach at low tide, we all decided to run over to some rocks and check to see if we could find any crabs or cool fish trapped in the small pools. “Hey, come check out this little octopus!” my roommate called out, and we all ran over to see. She was pointing in a pool of water and it was hiding behind some algae, so I tried to lean in and splash the water a bit to make it come out. That was very stupid of me. The tiny octopus popped out, and as it swam about facing us, suddenly it’s small brown body began to light up with electric blue rings.
Yes, we has stumbled upon a blue-ringed octopus, one of the world’s deadliest animals.
As it lit up and swam about, it now seemed to have no problem coming towards us and my camera that was held close to the water. It didn’t hit me at first, but then I realized I had seen this octopus somewhere before. Turns out, I had seen it on that TV show in 2011 and was one of the reasons I didn’t come to Australia at first.
Any Google search of top deadly animals on the planet and this little guy will be in the top 5. So why is this adorable octopus death incarnate and not a beloved Disney character?
The blue ringed octopus, if it were to sting you, is certain death. The sting causes paralysis and respiratory failure until the organs shut down slowly. Yes, it’d be an incredibly painful death and there is no known antidote for the sting either. Pretty wicked huh? Another fun fact — the blue-ringed octopus carries enough venom to kill 26 full-grown adults within minutes. Glad I didn’t decide to walk in too many shallow puddles! Given how populated this beach was and just knowing how children like to play in rocks I’m surprised this little sucker doesn’t claim more lives than it does.
It’s pretty fascinating and frightening that our planet has such vibrant and beautiful creatures around, and usually the brighter the color the more venomous they are.
Advice to keep in mind for myself and for you when in Australia — watch your step!