10 Things in Australia That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

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!


Sydney Funnel Web

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.

Jelly Fish


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.


Flying Fox

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.


Terrestrial Leech

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.


Witchetty Grub Shell

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.


Lizard in Sydney

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

Cane Toad

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.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

7 thoughts on “10 Things in Australia That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

  • Dina

    Our encounters with them:

    Cockroach: Our worst encounter with cockroach ever was in Sydney. It was inside our noodle dish in a Chinese restaurant somewhere downtown. The inner part of it (the liquidy part) looked like already integrating with the rest of the noodle sauce, that we ate a half. But we were quite confidence no cockroach shell was eaten…

    Jellyfish: Ryan just got stung by one of them when snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef last week.

  • James Cole

    I have to agree spiders are my least favourite on this list. They would be very closely followed by scorpions. However, the rest of the creatures on this list don’t bother me so much, especially the lizards. Call me weird but I just find them cute.

    When I was staying in Port Douglas, I had a little gecko staying in the room with me. It was fun watching them scurry across the walls catching insects. I also noticed that because of him, there weren’t a whole lot of spiders around. Anything that gets rid of spiders is okay in my books.

    As far as the spiders go, even though they’re not poisonous, Huntsman are definitely the creepiest. I almost put my hand on one the other day and being the big, tough, manly man that I am, I squealed like a little girl… Possibly should have shared that in a public comment.

  • Melissa

    Couldn’t you have just said, “Australia has all the same kinds of ugly and disgusting creatures found in other parts of the world but packed with enough venom to drop a horse.”? 🙂 The fact that Australian bugs could drop a horse with the amount of poisonous venom they spit seems like the most ironic case of overkill, doesn’t it? Seriously, though. All travelers should be aware just because of the poison factor. On the off-chance someone gets bit, they need to see a doctor because what might barely hurt could be deadly, so thanks for this post, sometimes I need to be reminded too!

  • Jade

    So true! When we were
    near Daintree, our guide told us about all the different things in the area that could kill us- it was scary! we couldn’t go in the water because of the jellyfish. There’s a plant called “goo badegy” (that spelling is not correct!) that has glass like poisons that can kill you. There are the wild boars that will kill you. The croc’s can kill you! It was almost like… what will NOT kill me?!

  • Caz Makepeace

    It’s always the spiders for me. We used to get dirty big huntsmen running around our house, that would freak me out and leave me frozen in one spot until Craig (my hubby) returned home from work to dispose of it. My best friend had one drop from her roof onto her when she was sleeping!!!
    When we lived and worked on a Pearl Farm in Broome, we used to have all sorts of wildlife running around camp. Our favourite was the green tree frog that liked to hang out in the toilet bowl. A lot of the time you didn’t see him until after you flushed and a big green blob would get rolled around in the toilet surf and come out spluttering. Imagine if he decided to jump before you had finished your business!

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