Australia has a reputation for having more than its share of deadly and dangerous animals. But is this reputation well founded? The answer is both yes and no.
While it is true that Australia has some of the deadliest snakes, spiders, birds and marine animals in the world, the number of fatalities resulting from this plethora of deadly and dangerous animals is in fact extremely low – it averages only 13 an year. Four times as many Australians die by falling out of bed each year (56 deaths).
So whilst many Australian animals may be indeed be the most deadly and dangerous in the world, they have very little impact on the well-being of the human population of Australia.
Do Australia's Dangerous Animals Attack Humans Do Australia's Dangerous Animals Like Eating Humans?
There are no animals in Australia that deliberately attack humans. Given the choice they all prefer avoiding a confrontation and would rather flee than attack. With the exception of sharks and crocodiles none of these animals would ever consume a human for a meal. Therefore there is no advantage in them attacking something as large and tasteless as a person. Even sharks and crocodiles prefer leaving humans alone.
It is reasonable to say, therefore, that almost all confrontations with these animals are instigated by some foolhardy action of humans. These may include such actions as sticking their hands into a spiders web, swimming in waters infested with crocodiles or shakes, stepping on dangerous animals or invading an animal’s space.
Level of Danger of Australian Animals How Dangerous are Australia Animals?
There is no standard way of classifying the level of risk posed by various types of animals. We have formulated a common sense approach for determining the level of risk involved. Some animals may be in more than one of these groupings. For example, a bee sting is not deadly to most people; however, to some a bee sting can bring about a severe allergic reaction which in turn can cause death.
Deadly - Those animals likely to inflict death if untreated. The most venomous Australian snakes and spiders and the box jellyfish fall into this category.
Dangerous - Animals that can inflict significant injury on a human but who don't necessarily cause death. For example being mowed down by a wombat is really not much fun, and could definitely result in broken bones and other serious injuries.
Wondered why we use the term 'venomous' rather than the more common on of 'poisonous'?
Here is the reason.
A venomous animal injects or otherwise delivers its toxin into another animal. While a poisonous animal's entire body or parts of it may be contain a toxic substance that is harmful if touched or eaten.
Types of Injure Inflicted by Australian Animals How Do They Inflict Harm?
We have grouped animals according to their modus operandi — ie how do they inflict death and injury on humans.
Venom - Typically the most deadly animals inflict their injury by stinging or biting, and injecting toxins into their victims which results in the victim's death.
Poison - These animals do not directly inflict injury on humans themselves. If, however, these animals are ingested or rubbed against, poisoning can occur resulting in serious injury or death.
Aggression - Animals in this group are those that inflict damage by brute force such as kicking, biting, and butting their victims.
Dangerous Animals Rating Dangerous Australian Animals Rated
The dangerous animal rating used on this page was developed by the Australian Museum, where the museum staff rated animals on a score of 10 based on the threat they pose, combined with the likelihood of encountering one. This list was published in the Australian Geographic. We have added other animals to this list. (See the Dangerous Animals Rated Index above).
Deaths Caused by Animals – Statistics Domestic Animals are the Most Dangerous
A recent NCIS Fact Sheet for the period 2000-2010 states that there were 254 animal related deaths throughout Australia in this ten year period. Whilst the numbers vary from year to year, this equates to roughly 26 deaths per year overall.
Deaths Caused by Domestic Animals
Domesticated, recreational, farm animals and pets accounted for 54% of all animal related fatalities. The report states that deaths involving horses were the most common and occurred most amongst people aged between 20 and 24 years. Deaths involving dogs occurred most frequently in children under the age of 4 years or elderly people. Farming accidents probably account for the bovine related deaths.
Deaths Caused by Australia Wild Animals
Australian wild animals, both native and introduced, contributed to only 46% of all animal related fatalities. Deaths attributed to emus, cassowaries and kangaroos occurred indirectly as a consequence of collision with motor vehicles. They did not directly cause the death of any people.
Why Do Australian Animals Cause So Few Deaths? Very Low Mortality Rate
So while Australia may indeed have the most deadly and dangerous animals the death rate is surprisingly very low. The reasons for this is twofold.
Most Dangerous Animals Rarely Meet Humans
Most deadly and dangerous animals rarely come in contact with humans because they prefer avoiding humans and also in many instance they live away from human populations.
Excellent Medical Care
In recent years excellent medical care and the development of antivenom means that relief can be administered to the victim before the ill effect of the inflicted injury can cause death.
Our Other Fantastic Pages
Australia has some of the most unusual animals in the world.
Great Barrier Reef
Located in Australia it is the world's largest coral reef.
The Aboriginals were the first people to come to Australia.
The Outback is vast and breathtakingly beautiful.
Waltzing Matilda is Australia's favourite song.