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Most Terrifying Creatures Found in Australia
Australia is notorious for its strange, almost-mythical animals, but you’ll hope to never cross paths with these ones.
10 – Box Jellyfish
The box jellyfish doesn’t get its name for taking people into the ring but for its box-like bell. However, even if this jelly did challenge its prey to the boxing ring, very few would be able to survive even the first round. It’s one of the only types of jellyfish that don’t go with the tide flow but instead swim through their waves in search of their targets. With up to 15 tentacles at each bell corner alone, it has as many as 60 tentacles to cling to and envenom its prey. That venom is no joking matter as it’s evolved to directly go after the heart and nervous system, at the very least instantly stun its victims.
One type of box jellyfish, the irukandji, is only 3cm long but is so terrifying that it has a syndrome named after it. Irukandji syndrome causes the jellyfish’s victims to feel an overwhelming sense of impending doom as their brains hemorrhage. It’s safe to say that if you see a “marine stingers” warning sign while taking a beach day, it’s best to steer clear of those waters entirely.
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9 – Common Death Adder
The name of this snake speaks for itself. The common death adder is a patient but highly effective predator, camouflaging itself in wood and scrubland foliage as it waits for prey to come within striking distance. Unlike the rattlesnake, which shakes its tail to warn predators of its dangerous presence, the common death adder’s tapered tail wriggles like bait to lure unsuspecting prey. The adder’s neurotoxic bite means that paralysis quickly spreads throughout its victim’s body, stopping all motor and sensory functions — including necessary ones like breathing.
Before antivenom was created in 1958, an estimated 50% of people bit by the common death adder experienced just what its name suggests. That number has dropped significantly since then, but the antivenom isn’t useful to more than humans. A death adder bite is a pet owner’s worst nightmare in Australia.
8 – Paralysis Tick
Vampires have gone from being terrifying monsters to beloved, misunderstood creatures, but some bloodsuckers are just as dangerous as they’ve always been. In the eastern coasts of Australia, the paralysis tick burrows into the skin and drinks its fill from its hosts. However, it’s not the blood drinking you should be afraid of. The tick only drinks a few milliliters from its host at most. It’s the bite’s saliva you should worry about.
The Australian paralysis tick is unusual for the dangerous potency of its bite, which causes localized but severe paralysis in its victims. While its natural prey, such as koalas and bandicoots, have evolved countermeasures against it, those historically less common hosts are much more susceptible. Every year, tens of thousands of cats and dogs don’t survive their time as blood donors. Although much less severe, more than 20 humans have fatally succumbed to the tick’s neurolytic toxin as well.
7- Cone Shell
If you’ve ever watched SpongeBob, then you’re well aware of the sea snail. However, the Australian cone shell sea snail is a lot more dangerous than Gary could ever hope to be. While it may be as slow as its landside brethren, the cone shell is nothing to laugh at. Its prey often have no idea that they’ve been struck by its venomous bite, as they are nearly instantly numbed and paralyzed. Hours or days can pass before its meal truly understand what happened, but most don’t have that long. They’re unaware of their doom even as the barbed end of its tongue pulls them close enough to swallow whole.
Humans aren’t a regular part of this animal’s diet, but those trying to add to their pretty shell collections should beware. The sting of a cone shell can still cause numbness, nausea, vomiting, and worse for those unlucky few who come across it. Only a few milliliters of cone shell venom can fell up to 10 people. If you ever find yourself visiting the Australian beaches, watch your step.