The Bee Gees
Australia is home to some of the deadliest species of snake, spider and sea life in the world. Some of these include .....
More than 110 species of snake are found in Australia, however only a few are dangerous to man. Amongst these, however, are the 10 most deadly in the world.
Listed as 9th deadliest is the Common Death Adder which is found throughout most of Australia. Its cousin, the Desert Death Adder, is found mainly in the desert regions of central and Western Australia.
The largest venomous snake is the Taipan. Found in northern Australia, it is extremely poisonous and grows to an average of 2 m. Listed as the third deadliest snake in the world.
A close relative of the Taipan is the Fierce snake. Sometimes called the "broad-headed snake" this is the most deadly snake on the planet, but is a rare species which lives in the arid areas bordering the eastern States.
The most common of the black snakes is the King Brown, the second deadliest snake. It is a large copper coloured snake found throughout the mainland States and is the most venomous of the black snakes.
There are approximately 35 species of sea snake, however these usually bite only if they are handled or provoked. The most venomous of these are the Sea Kraits, ranked 6th deadliest.
One of Australia's most venomous spiders, the Red-Back is found through out the country and lives under logs, stones, rubbish, houses and along fences. The female possesses a very toxic venom and is much larger than the male, growing to about 10 - 22 mm, while the male grows to approximately 3 - 4 mm. The male does not bite. The female has a large, bulbous, dark-brown or black abdomen with a broad red stripe running along the upper surface. The male is light brown with a red streak on the upper abdomen and some red colouring below. The spider is most active at dusk and during the night, building webs close to the ground.
Female red back with smaller male
Funnel-webs are found only in Australia. While there are at least nine species, the best known is the Sydney funnel-web - the deadliest of all Australian spiders. This is the only member of the Dipluridae family whose venom is known to be fatal to humans. Usually black , although sometimes reddish brown in colour, the spider has glossy front parts and long, sharp fangs. As the fangs are parallel hinged which move vertically downwards, the spiders must rear up on their hind legs before striking. The fangs are powerful enough to penetrate a fingernail. Generally the funnel-web are ground-dwellers, living in burrows or silk-lined tubes under rocks or logs. Average size is about 2.5 cm for males and 4 cm for females, however they can grow up to 6-7 cm. The males venom is 5 times more toxic than the females. The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in Melbourne developed an effective antivenene in 1981.
The Blue-Ringed or Banded octopus lives in rock pools around most of the temperate and warm temperate coastline. While it does not attack humans, if handled it can deliver a fate bite. The octopus is about 10cm across the extended tentacles and its pale pinkish-brown skin is covered with irregular blue rings and markings which, when the octopus is distressed, turn a brilliant blue. A paralysing venom is injected by the parrot-like beak on the underside of the body. No anti-venene has been developed to combat the poison.
Sometimes called the Sea Wasp, the Box Jellyfish is claimed to be the most venomous marine animal in the world. It is distinguished by the box-shaped body with groups of tentacles, each 3 m in length, hanging from the corners. The Box Jellyfish season across the top of northern Australia starts with the onset of the wet season, usually around October and lasts until April. Further south along the northern Queensland or northern Western Australian coast the season is usually from November to March. The Box Jellyfish sometimes appear further south and sometimes a few weeks beyond the official close of season before disappearing until the next wet season. The Box Jellyfish uses its tentacles to kill its prey. If a swimmer makes contact with the Box Jellyfish's tentacles, perhaps only 6 or 7 metres of them, death may result, sometimes as quickly as 2 - 3 minutes after contact. Children may die after even less contact. The severity of the sting is relative to the size of the Box Jellyfish, the sensitivity of the victim's skin, and the amount of tentacle that has come into contact.