There are very few animals that are deemed to be threatening to life in most of Europe. Everyone knows to stay away from bears and mad dogs, but what does Australia have to offer visitors in terms of dangerous animals? Here are a few that you may well not have considered to be a problem.
These killer snails possess a neurotoxin powerful enough to easily kill a human. What’s more they have an effective delivery mechanism for this venom – a tiny harpoon. These modified teeth consist of a hollow barb that can be fired in any direction and then reeled back in by the snail. In larger cone snails the harpoon is large and powerful enough to not only penetrate human skin, but gloves or wetsuits too.
The venom of the cone snail are known as conotoxins and contain various neurotoxic agents. These can be very specific to a certain type of nerve and as such are of medical interest. Some cone snail venoms also contain pain-killing properties, which is a nice gesture when you are rapidly dying due to paralysis of the respiratory system! However, most severe stings begin with intense, localized pain. The onset of life-threatening symptoms can take several days.
Trust Australia to be home to a bird that can kill you! Second only in size to the ostrich, the cassowary is a man-sized bird. Also in common with the ostrich they are flightless, relying on enormously powerful legs to get them around. Whilst these birds may have a look of giant turkey about them the wild, staring eyes should be enough to put most people off messing with this mega-fowl.
The cassowary’s main weapon is a 5 inch (12cm) long, dagger-like middle toe.So, armed with this killer claw, capable of running at speed over 30mph (40km/h) and a track record of aggression this is one chicken not to mess with. Which is exactly what two brothers did in 1926. The teenagers attacked the bird with sticks, one was kicked and the other fell to the ground. Whilst on the ground the boy received a kick to the neck which severed his jugular vein
The Box Jellyfish
This squishy creature is one of the most lethal animals in the world. It dwells on the coast alongside the Great Barrier Reef and has a powerful venom. The stings are terribly painful and often fatal. Be sure to have a bottle of vinegar in your first aid kit if you’re heading to this neck of the woods.