Death by Dangerous Creatures in Australia 2009

I’m sure some of you may have been mildly interested in my video at the beginning of the week about our second full year living in Australia, the highlights of 2009, but I am sure that what you really want to know about 2009 is what did Australia’s Bad Things achieve during the year.

How many of us Australian dwelling folk were crunched by a crocodile, stung by a jellyfish, swallowed by a shark, snacked on by a snake or snuffed out by a spider? So I decided to do some research, let me share with you my findings.

Within minutes of starting my quest I seemed to find the answers to everything all in one article, the Sydney Morning Herald had it all sorted out for me. In their article entitled How Australian Killer Critters Scored in 2009 I discovered that:

  • Deaths by shark equal zero
  • Deaths by funnel web spider equal zero
  • Deaths by crocodile equal two (both victims were swimming in a swamp or river in the Northern Territory)
  • Deaths by mosquito-borne virus Murray Valley encephalitis equal one
  • Deaths by irukandji equal zero (I’ll tell you about the irukandji next week)

Unusually, the article didn’t mention box jellyfish or stonefish but my research suggests….

  • Deaths by box jellyfish equal zero
  • Deaths by stonefish equal zero

As I was going through their article, something very strange happened. I read this bit….. “Snake bites – commonly carried out by tiger and eastern brown snakes – killed about half a dozen people last summer…..

About half a dozen? Well, was it 6 or wasn’t it? I need to know a number!

So what I originally thought would be an easy and quick research job turned into a marathon. I needed to track down who had been killed by snakes in Australia in 2009. Half a dozen seemed a lot to me, especially as all my previous research and findings have suggested that on average just one or two deaths a year are down to our slippery friends.

When I wrote about Australian snakes and death, there had been 41 snakebite deaths in Australia since 1980. So half a dozen in 2009? Are we under attack?

So, as usual, I turned to Google for the truth. I searched for….

snake death
snake death 2009
snake death Australia 2009
snake death Australia
snake fatality 2009
snake fatalities Australia 2009
snake attack list Australia
death by a snake Australia
death by a snake Australia 2009
died after a snakebite
died after a snakebite 2009
fatal snakebite Australia
fatal snakebite Australia 2009

Then I turned to the newspapers and searched similar terms in…..

The Daily Telegraph
The Herald Sun
Adelaide Now
Perth Now
The Australian
News.com.au

I was exhausted! But what did I find?

One death in Carnarvon, Western Australia, 15 Jan 2009: female, 60 years old, victim of a western brown snake.

So what have we got going on here? Is it a big government cover-up? Are our national news organisations and the press banned from reporting snake deaths in Australia?

Or have the Sydney Morning Herald got it wrong?

If any of you know the truth, and I’m sure the truth is out there, I’d love to hear from you.

My research did lead me to this little video gem though. If you really are scared of snakes you just must watch this. Don’t be scared, just hit play. It’s only 57 seconds long and it is suitable for children too……..

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Brittany April 21, 2013, 11:30 pm | Link

    Hi Bob – Loving all of your amazing information. Thank you so much for all of the time and effort you have put into providing such detailed knowledge for others to read about while considering the move to Oz. My husband and I have been glued to your blog trying to soak up all of the knowledge we possibly can before making a decision on a job my husband was recently offered. We are from Texas so we have been around snakes our entire life, we just dont come into contact with them too often living closer to the city. We moved into a new house about a year ago, and what do you know…. within our first week we were outside talking to a neighbor and here comes a snake, ‘slithering’ out of the tree we were standing under. YIKES!!! Luckily it was harmless and my husband actually picked it up! He’s not affraid of snakes at all and actually had them as pets when he was young. But I’m a dift. story. So I have to say that I am SOOOO glad you posted this video! I am EXTREMELY scared and grossed out by snakes, and lets not forget spiders, creepy crawlers and sharks! I think with the snakes it’s mainly due to the fact that I can not predict or sense what they will or will not do. But after reading all of your wonderful info. and seeing the GREAT video – I must say it has put me at ease, well, somewhat. haha!! As for the spiders I will certainly stock up on RAID, and have the house sprayed before I even enter it! And sharks, well, I think that’s just a fear that I am going to have to face head on! I love the ocean and cant wait to snorkel at the GBR – but I’m going to have to ‘put on my big girl pants’ and get in the shark infested water to see all of the other beautiful sea life that lives there. Thanks again for letting us into your lives, as it has truly been so helpful to hear honestly, and factually about The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly! 🙂

    • BobinOz April 22, 2013, 3:52 pm | Link

      Hi Brittany

      Glad you are enjoying my website, and thanks for posting this comment, I’d forgotten how funny that video really is. If you do come here and you happen to see a snake though, please don’t act like that rabbit did 🙂

      If you do decide to go for it, I hope your move goes well.

      Cheers

      Bob

  • Aviram January 8, 2010, 2:27 am | Link

    We are too dangerous for ’em!

  • Stephanie January 7, 2010, 10:24 am | Link

    Wow Bob, thank you for shedding some light on this topic.

    I did a little research of my own and it seems like you are just about as unlikely to be killed by any one of the following animals from Canada/North America:

    Bears
    Cougars (Mountain Lions)
    Coyotes
    Wolves
    Massassauga Rattlesnakes

    OR

    North America’s West Nile Virus which is spread by common mosquitoes. In Canada, 42 people have died from the virus since 2002.
    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/09/10/f-west-nile-virus-background-facts-figures.html

    • BobinOz January 7, 2010, 8:28 pm | Link

      Hi Stephanie

      Yes, here at BobinOz I gave mosquitos the award of “Australia’s biggest baddest thing” – probaly the worlds biggest baddest thing too. Surprised you get them in Canada, I thought it’d be too cold.

      But you’re right, these dangerous animals rarely kill us humans. Which is nice.

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