Australia is known for a lot of things – its wildlife, its beaches and its language – but, it is also unfortunately known for its long list of things that might freak a person out, or just plain give them the heebie-jeebies. Yes, these wonderful creepy crawlies are found across the country and are often on many travelers’ “beware of these in Australia” lists (here’s a good example). But, don’t worry – not all of these bite!
The topic of spiders in Australia is probably one of my favorites, which is strange because they also frighten me more than anything else on this list. Australia is home to some of the biggest, ugliest and also the nastiest spiders in the world. There’s the elusive red-back spider, the funnel web spider and even the white-tailed spider to worry about. These guys are actually a bit on the dangerous side, but if it’s creepy and non-dangerous that you want then there’s plenty of those, too! The huntsman spider, for instance, can be found crawling up the wall of your home any day of the week.
On a list of the most dangerous animals in Australia, snakes dominate. The Taipan snake makes its way to the top as it is poisonous enough to take out 100 men in just one bite. Following in its tracks are the tiger and brown snakes. There’s a reason locals stress proper footwear and precautions before taking a bushwalk, and it is because the wrong move or step can involve coming across one of these guys. Of course, not all snakes are poisonous, yet it is probably worth your while to learn about some of the ones that are before heading outback.
What lies out in the ocean is often left to the imagination as you just never really know what’s around the corner. The surprise factor alone is enough to make you jump, but to be confronted with one of these creatures just might make you scream. Jellyfish are common in the waters off of Australia, and many people are stung each year by the likes of harmless (yet still painful) blue bottles. But, there are even some, such as the box jellyfish, that are potentially deadly without treatment.
There are over 75 species of bats living across Australia, and, even though the various flying foxes are pretty adorable in the day time, it is still easy to get a little creeped out when viewing them flying across the night sky. Other species are difficult to deal with even in the daylight. In fact, some people often liken bats to “rats with wings”, so it is no wonder why we immediately think of them as pests.
Cockroaches make the list of things in Australia to make your skin crawl because there are just so many different species, over 400 actually, of them here. Not only that, but the warmer climate makes it so cockroaches have a habitat within which to thrive. These pests reproduce quickly, and are very hard to kill, so chances are you will have an encounter at one point or another down under.
Australia is one of few places where there are leeches that actually live on land. So, instead of only being susceptible to these blood suckers wading in water, you also have to worry about them when out walking the bush.
You’ve most definitely heard about a grub once or twice, and you’ve also probably squirmed at the idea of eating one for dinner. However, that’s a feasting pleasure for the natives of Australia who simply eat them raw or after roasting them on the barbie. The witchetty grub in particular is the large, white larva of a ghost moth that is only available in the outback deserts of Australia.
With over 500 species in the country, lizards make their presence known in Australia. There’s everything from geckos and frill-necks to legless lizards that more resemble snakes. These lizards are generally harmless to humans, but they can cause a fright as they tend to scurry about when least expected.
Scorpions roam around all areas of Australia. For a while, a friend of mine was frequently finding tiny ones in her Sydney bathtub. Australian scorpions can range from 2 to 12 centimeters in length, and they come in about 26 different species. As creepy as they are, they may cause a bit of pain, but are less harmful than many other creatures in this country.
Cane Toads are a non-native species to Australia, but they have seemingly made themselves at home by swarming areas in the north. They’re big, they’re ugly and they’re even toxic. Originally brought in to Australia to solve a pest problem, they have now become a problem themselves, so much so that there has been talk of opening tours to people who just want to have a whack at them.