Sunday, 2 October 2011

Relocation advice - Australian Spiders, Snakes and other dangerous creatures

One of the things we get asked the most is about how dangerous the spiders and snakes are in Australia. Everybody seems to be concerned about the dangerous creatures here: crocodiles, jellyfish, snakes, sharks and spiders, Certainly Australia does have dangerous creatures including spiders and snakes but many people who live in Australia would not see them or encounter them at all.

There are two types of spiders which are to be avoided and which can give you a nasty bite: the Sydney Funnel-web and the Redback. Anti-venom for these bites means that death from the bite of a funnel web has not occurred for over 30 years and from a redback for over 55 years. Yes, they can be painful but thankfully they are not as common as you may think. There are some useful tips such as  not putting your feet into shoes without first banging them on the ground, making sure you have gardening gloves on if you are poking around in dark, damp places, making you have shoes or sandals on if running around in the garden. There is a useful website which you may like to look at

Ten of the world’s deadliest snakes live  in Australia but take heart, on average there are approximately 3000 reported snake bites in Australia every year, of those, only one is fatal. Snakes are really more frightened of us than we are of them. If you make noise as you go through the bush they will usually slither away to safety. Make sure you wear boots if you go into the bush as extra protection. In the cities it is very rare to see a snake at all. Have a look at

Sharks always fire up the imagination but again are rare.. Shark netting on Australian beaches deter sharks, but always swimming between the flags on patrolled beaches and avoid swimming at dusk or evening. Try not to swim alone, far from shore, at river mouths or along drop-offs to deeper water.

If you want to see crocodiles you will need to go to the rivers and coastal estuaries across northern Australia. Always  make sure you obey safety signs and don’t swim in rivers, estuaries, tidal rivers, deep pools or mangrove shores. Also make sure you ask rangers or locals about crocodiles before camping, fishing or boating.

So  while sharks, snakes are rarely seen, and spiders are not as dangerous as portrayed there is one creature which you really must avoid. From November to April when box jellyfish are present in tropical waters in the north of Australia you should only swim within stinger-resistant enclosures, which are set up on the most popular beaches. You will also need to wear protective clothing when swimming, snorkeling or diving on the outer Great Barrier Reef. The jelly-fish has a square body and has  toxins on its tentacles which are often several feet in length. The sting is like an electrical shock . Vinegar and urinating on the spot may reduce the pain a little bit, but medical assistance is vital as quickly as possible.. The box jellyfish is responsible for more deaths in Australia than snakes, spiders, sharks, and salt water crocodiles put together.

It is always better to take precautions but if you are starting to feel worried have a look at the table below:

Human Deaths in Australia Between 1980-1990, Inclusive (from Stevens & Paxton, 1992)
Cause of Death
Total Deaths
Average per year
Crocodile Attacks
Shark Attacks
Lightning Strikes
Bee Stings
Scuba Diving Accidents
Motor Vehicle Accidents