Australia’s Killer Creatures and Death

How many people die?

Yes, Australia is an extremely scary place, isn’t it, how can you possibly expect to survive? Well, so far I have and I’ve been here since 2007! Not bad eh?

grizzly bear 300x257 Australias Killer Creatures and DeathSeriously, I know we’ve got snakes, spiders, sharks, crocodiles, killer jellyfish and a whole host of other venomous critters, but look on the bright side. At least we don’t get lions, tigers, elephants, grizzly bears, hippopotamus or buffalo’s.

Now let’s really get serious. Fear of Australia’s creatures shouldn’t even be a consideration. Let’s look at the facts.

  • Snakes: With 41 recorded deaths between 1980 and 2009, snake deaths in Australia average out at less than two per year.
  • Spiders: Nobody in Australia has died from a spider bite since 1979 after the successful introduction of antivenom for all native species.
  • Sharks*: Accounted for 25 deaths between 2000 and (March) 2012 in Australia, about 2 a year.
  • Crocodiles: Historically, crocodiles account for less than one death per year here in Australia, although that is increasing slightly as the crocodile population rises following the ban on crocodile hunting in 1971.
  • Blue Ringed Octopus: Just 3 recorded deaths in the last century.
  • Stonefish: One unconfirmed death by stonefish in 1915.
  • Cone Snails: I could find no recorded deaths from cone snails in Australia whatsoever.
  • Killer Jellyfish: Jellyfish account for (at time of writing) 66 deaths since records began in 1883. The box jellyfish was responsible for 64 deaths, and the Irukandji the other two. It sounds a lot, but still less than one death per year, more like just half a death per year.

* Updated 5.4.12. with latest shark death figures.

There, I think I’ve covered them all. Equalising it out, Australia’s dangerous creatures kill about five people a year.

If I’ve missed anything out, got anything wrong, or if anyone has an update on these figures, please do comment below.

Australia’s worst killers!

  • Here in Australia, about 20 people a year die from horse riding accidents.
  • Around 10 people per year in Australia die from European Honey Bee stings after going into anaphylactic shock.
  • And around 300 people a year drown.

So the best advice I would give anyone about staying safe in Australia would be nothing to do with avoiding scary creatures. It would be “swim between the flags” if you are going to take a dip in the sea.

Does that put it into perspective?

Thinking of moving to Australia but scared of snakes?

Check out this link:

More useful links:

I have loads of posts about Australia’s wildlife; in fact I have an entire category about them called Australia’s Bad Things.

Yes, initially it was supposed to be about all things bad, but the more I got to know about Australia’s wildlife, the more I realised that most of it just adds to the sheer beauty of life in Australia.

But here are some of the posts specifically about Australia’s killers….

Of course, the world’s ‘biggest’ killer critter is the tiny mosquito. We have those too and they are a whole lot worse than all the above put together. But nobody says ” Don’t go to Australia, they got mosquitoes!” do they? You can read more about mosquitoes here…….

Had enough yet? No! Good, because I’ve got a couple more for you. Firstly, it was my privilege to be bitten by a Redback spider…….

And secondly, I was honoured when a snake, yes, a real live snake, wandered into my house…..

And don’t forget to swim between the flags!

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

carla clark December 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm

wow thats alot better then i expected !!!!!!!!!!!

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BobinOz December 9, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Yes, it is, isn’t it?

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carla clark December 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm

wow thats alot better then i expected i want to move there now !!!!!!!!!!!

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BobinOz December 9, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Come on then!

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kieran norway December 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

smd!!!!

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BobinOz December 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm

smd? Is that a word?

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ashley April 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm

wosh. so excited to go to austalia knowing that i will be safer than i originally assumed.
what about scorpions though???

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BobinOz April 24, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Yes, we’ve got scorpions. I’ve never seen one, and so far, nobody in Australia has been killed by one. So, no worries then eh!

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Ayran May 14, 2012 at 11:39 am

Thanks very much for all that very useful and interesting info !!

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BobinOz May 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm

You are welcome Ayran!

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jatinder bhatia July 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm

good sharing thanks

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BobinOz July 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Thanks!

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Roger July 15, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Sharks*: Accounted for 25 deaths between 2000 and (March) 2012 in Australia, about 2 a year.

How does this come to 2 per year? It looks like about one per month.

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BobinOz July 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Still looks like 2 a year to me, one of us is misreading something.

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Roger July 17, 2012 at 12:15 am

Oops, I misread. I read it as 2010 to 2012. Sorry.

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BobinOz July 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I did wonder, no worries! It could have been worse, you could have been right :-) Then none of us would ever go into the sea!

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Chris (Amateur Traveler) September 7, 2012 at 4:56 am

But you didn’t mention vending machines. In a typical year vending machines kill and average of 9.1 Australians… more than all the others combined.

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BobinOz September 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm

No! Really?

I tried to check it out, but I couldn’t find anything to back that up, although vending machines do kill occasionally. It’s usually people trying to steal food out of the machine or going crazy because they’ve lost their money, apparently. I read about a couple of deaths in the US, but nine a year in Australia? Where did you read that?

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Roger September 8, 2012 at 12:55 am

This got my curiosity up so just had to check it out. I found several sites that stated there are an average of a bit over 2 people a year killed by vending machine tipovers in the U.S. One was an insurance site, two others were urban legend sites. None dealing with Australia, but I don’t know why this wouldn’t hold true there as well.
And then there’s the question of 9.1 Australians per what time period. Year? Decade?

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BobinOz September 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Well it’s supposed to be 9.1 a year according to Chris the traveller, I really can’t see it, can you? We would have seen it on 10 News by now, wouldn’t we? I saw the figure for two in the US, that would equate to about one decade for us, wouldn’t it?

In a perverse way, I think it would be cool if vending machines killed more people than snakes here. No more Venomland tag, Vendingland! But I can’t see it being true.

Chris, what’s your source?

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Roger September 9, 2012 at 1:06 am

If it was 9.1 I’m sure it would be in the news about everywhere. I don’t know how that would equate to one decade for y’all, if you’re referring to Australians.
And frankly if you think about it Australia wouldn’t want a “Vendingland” tag. It would give the impression that the people thieves and stupid. Besides, it would take years of research to come up with an “anti-vendom”.

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BobinOz September 10, 2012 at 12:24 am

Well, what I was thinking, was there are about 20 times more people living in the US than here in Australia, so if two die a year in the US in one year, then it would take 20 years for the same two people to die here in Australia. That’s one a decade.

If, on the other hand, 9.1 Australians are really dying every year here, then that makes us 4.55 times more stupid than Americans were in the US in that one year. Maybe I’m over analysing this?

Scientists though, given time, will surely come up with an antivendom, which I’m not sure is such a good thing. People would end up punching vending machines, trying to get a free can of Coke and there will be no real consequences. That’s not a society I want to live in.

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Ella January 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Haha.. You never updated the shark attacks. There were 14 in 2012. Sure, only two out of 14 died… But that’s two too many… and they were both in Perth, WA. Which is where I live. Which made everyone a bit scared to swim. lol

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BobinOz January 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm

As the page says, the figures are up to date as at March 2012, but I know it’s been a very bad year over in Western Australia, I wrote about it in a post about Australian Sharks and Death. And it’s got even worse since then as well, I think I’d be a bit scared to go into the sea over your way as well!

Cheers

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Dillon January 18, 2013 at 9:38 am

now that i think of it australie isnt that bad of a place.

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BobinOz January 19, 2013 at 1:02 am

I like it!

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Dillon January 18, 2013 at 9:38 am

sorry for the spelling

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BobinOz January 19, 2013 at 1:03 am

That’s ok.

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Dillon January 19, 2013 at 10:33 am

my email is (removed) if u want to talk i like your website a lot

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BobinOz January 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm

I removed your email address from your comment Dillon, save you ending up with lots of spam messages. Glad you liked my website, we can talk on here :-)

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Dillon January 20, 2013 at 4:56 am

k

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clark January 31, 2013 at 12:19 am

thanks that help me relax. im going to oz for first time sono

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BobinOz January 31, 2013 at 4:12 pm

See you here soon then Clark :-)

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Joe February 23, 2013 at 12:30 am

Thanks for this,

I’ve been thinking of moving to Australia in a few years time once I’ve built up enough years work experience to qualify on the Skilled Occupation List but the idea of all these animals was freaking me out.

You’ve definitely put things in perspective. I’ve had a look into some UK stats and was interesting to see that over 100 people are bitten by the venomous adder each year.

Cheers

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BobinOz February 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Yes, there are dangers living in just about every country in the world, I’ll settle for the ones we have here in Australia, they really aren’t as bad as all that. Glad you enjoyed the article, hope to see you here in Australia soon.

Bob

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Cara May 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm

I have lived in australia for 13 years and have seen 2 redbacks. That is it

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BobinOz May 11, 2013 at 1:03 am

I’ve been here over five years and I’ve never actually seen one, which is interesting, because I know at least one has seen me. The little critter bit me!

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Laura Evans June 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Wow, i have always had a fear of spiders and although it sounds a bit stupid, that’s one thing that’s always put me off coming to Oz! I’m a lot better than i used to be but i still loathe them. But now, you’ve made me want to come to Oz ASAP! :) Nice one!! x

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BobinOz June 11, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Well that’s made my day Laura! Nobody should avoid moving to Australia because of silly old spiders, so I’m really pleased to hear I’ve talked you out of that. See you in Australia soon :-)

Bob

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Lucinda June 14, 2013 at 12:58 am

Excellent info thanks. I think it would be good to add deaths by motor vehicle accidents plus deaths as a result of drugs and alcohol. Cheers, Lucinda

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BobinOz June 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Good idea, I’ve already written a post about road deaths in Australia compared to the UK, and Australian road deaths are way too high. As for drink, drugs and even smoking, well, I’m pretty sure deaths due to those vices would be massive compared to those caused by our Australian critters.

Cheers

Bob

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Aussie August 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Oi, you forgot about the Drop Bears! :P

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BobinOz August 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Some things are just so scary they should never, ever been mentioned :-)

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Tomek September 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Great job! I shared this site with Polish friends who want to live in ur country because they are so scared about animal killers in Australia. How we see, more dangerous are horses :)

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BobinOz September 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Thanks Tomek, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing it with your Polish friends. Can you now share it with the rest of Poland? :-)

Cheers, Bob

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brack December 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm

You forgot death by ants. Those damn jack jumpers….

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BobinOz December 16, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I’ve not heard of anyone dying from ant attacks here in Australia, but those jumpers, they are pesky.

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Mat Britton February 16, 2014 at 9:39 am

Hi Bob, do you have any stats on how many people are killed by dogs each year in Australia?

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BobinOz February 17, 2014 at 5:28 pm
Tony March 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Anyone know of a complete list of deaths per cause for whole of Australia?
E.g. heath x
Cars y
Houses z
Etc

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BobinOz March 5, 2014 at 1:00 am

Search ‘Australian deaths ABS’ and I’m sure the Australian Bureau of Statistics will have a ton of information there, the trick is finding it. There is a mass of information on the site, it will be in there somewhere.

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