Though Australia has lots going for it – its laidback way of life being one of them – the country is known for being home to more than its fair share of creepiest animals. Here’s a look at some of the creepiest ones out there. Luckily, your chances of encountering most of these are very slim indeed!
1. Paralysis tick
These bloodsucking ticks don’t usually cause much bother to humans. The one on the left hasn’t yet fed, while the one on the right has and has become many times bigger as a result. It can take just a few of these ticks to down a calf. A female can lay up to 3,000 eggs before dying, with the bite of the female more venomous than that of the male.
2. Inland taipan
The world’s most venomous snake is the inland taipan. It’s endemic to parts of eastern Australia and it packs enough venom in a single bite to kill dozens of adults. Not only is it very agile and swift, it also envenoms nearly every animal or human it bites. Despite all this, it’s not actually considered the world’s deadliest snake since it lives in quite remote places and seldom comes into contact with humans.
The cassowary can grow up to six feet high and is quite the competent attacker. When feeling threatened or when chasing prey, it will bite, kick and use its claws to attack – as if that’s not bad enough, the cassowary can reach speeds of up to 30mph. It’s known as the world’s most dangerous birds and even seasoned zookeepers have trouble handling it.
4. Grey-headed flying fox
The largest bat in Australia, the grey-headed flying fox is not something you want to see flying overhead. Though they’re an important part of the ecosystem in the forested parts of southeast Australia, they’re under threat and efforts are being made to conserve their numbers.
5. Golden silk orb-weaver
Found in many warmer countries, the golden silk orb-weaver is known for creating intricate webs, as well as feasting on rather large animals. Most of the time, they eat insects and other smaller animals, though some have eaten things such as bats and small birds that have got trapped in their nest.
6. Giant Gippsland earthworm
These scarily long earthworms are typically between one and three metres in length, though they’re capable of expanding and contracting, which can make them appear longer. They spend most of their time underground, though heavy rain can cause them to surface. They’re found in the Gippsland region of Victoria and are actually an endangered species.
7. Giant centipede
Although these huge centipedes can’t kill humans, their bite is still potent enough to cause pain that lasts a few days. They’re the largest centipede in all of Australia and can be found in damp environments, though during the evening they like to move about and hunt for things like small creatures and other insects.
8. Sydney funnel web spider
Found in and around Sydney, as well as in other parts of eastern Australia, the Sydney funnel web spider has caused over a dozen deaths since 1927. Thanks to medical advances, there are now successful anti-venoms that can successfully treat bites. These spiders have been known to hide in shoes and other dark, dry areas in homes.
9. Stone fish
The stone fish is the most venomous fish in the world – step on one of these and you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately. These horrendous-looking fish can be found in shallow ocean waters and are really good at camouflaging themselves amongst rocks. The fish are also capable of surviving outside of water for around 24 hours, so they’ve been known to get stepped on on beaches. Around a dozen or so cases of stone fish stings are reported every year in Australia; the anti-venom is the second most administered anti-venom in the country.