Australia’s Deadliest: The Top Five Countdown

They’d had it too easy for too long. It’s incredible to think that I’ve been writing for Australia and New Zealand magazine for four years now and up until this article I’d never really mentioned Australia’s killer creatures much at all. anz feb2014

Well, it’s a glossy magazine, on sale in the UK, they really don’t want to know about all that, do they?

They want sun, sand, beaches, things to do, sites to see, fun stuff! Well, I’m very proud to tell you that for the magazines super duper bumper birthday 100th edition, which hit the shelves in February of this year, I gave them an article called

Australia’s deadliest

How have I managed to avoid speaking about Australia’s killer creatures for so long? Obviously living in Australia is fraught with danger and surely every time we venture outside we take our lives into our own hands?

What we need to know though is which creature is Australia’s most dangerous critter.

Today I will reveal the beast in Australia responsible for more human deaths than any other. First of all though, I invite you to stop reading for a second and just take a guess.

Who do you think the culprit might be? Ready?

Let’s go! Tiger-SnakeOkay, yes, snakes, good idea. After all we have some of the world’s most venomous snakes roaming the streets here in Australia.

For our answers, I’m going to refer to the National Coroners Information System (NCIS) report for deaths in Australia during the ten-year period between July 2000 and November 2010.

Looking at the animal related deaths from this list the snake only comes seventh. Just 14 deaths during that ten-year period from snakes, so between one and two a year.

It’s not snakes. Then it must be sharks, surely?

No. sharkSharks come sixth on the list with 16 fatalities in the same ten-year period. But at least we are getting closer. Hannibal the Adelaide River CrocThey say the Northern Territory is getting overrun with crocodiles since hunting them was banned in the 70s. These days the crocodile population is estimated to be somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000. Crocodiles are killing machines so surely it must be the crocodile?

No, it’s not the crocodile and we are getting colder. Crocs are eighth on the list with just nine deaths in those 10 years.

So what critter can it possibly be? spider Spiders! Okay, now we’re panicking, it’s not spiders.

Nobody has died from a spider bite in Australia since the 70s when antivenom was introduced. Spiders do not even appear on the list.

So, what do we have left? Jellyfish? No. Cone snails? No. Stonefish? No. Blue ringed octopus? No. None of these are on the list either, yet we still have five animals above the snake?

It’s time to reveal Australia’s most dangerous animal, let’s do a top five countdown.

  • The bee was in fifth by causing anaphylactic shock; same number of deaths as the sixth placed shark but alphabetically superior.
  • In fourth place is Australia’s cutest attraction, the Kangaroo! No, it doesn’t chase you down and eat you; it runs in front of your car and, for 18 people over the last 10 years, it didn’t work out too good.
  • Dogs were in third and on the rare occasions that man’s best friend goes mad, he does chase you down and try to eat you. They account for 27 deaths in those 10 years.
  • Cows, bulls and bovines were all grouped together and placed second, collectively responsible for 33 fatalities during the period, again by running in front of cars, although some preferred to trample on their victims.

So which beasts is it?

It may surprise you to hear that Australia’s most beastly killer is the horse. Neigh! Yes, it’s true, 77 fatalities in 10 years, but with the help of ponies and donkeys.


People falling off them mostly, but strangely, nobody says “I couldn’t move to Australia, not with all those horses.” Quality horse pooIf you want to know more about some of the above critters, click on the pictures above.

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Steve White June 11, 2014, 8:51 am |

    Sorry Bob but I have to disagree , surely the most dangerous beast in Australia would be mankind , in particular the very common sub-species “the tailgating/stoplight jumping motorist”. Particularly common on motorways and in busy town & city centres they regularly make the news headlines for causing chaos delay injury and death , and this is all before they’ve been to the pub!
    So in conclusion , until we finally run out of fossil fuel and are all forced to ride them on a daily basis , I think the Horse is confined to second on the list!

    • BobinOz June 11, 2014, 6:40 pm |

      You got me there, but with one slight correction, mankind is the most dangerous beast on the entire planet. They make mosquitoes look like butterflies 🙂

  • HAKIZIMANA ISSA June 11, 2014, 12:16 am |

    australia is best country over the wourld!

  • Kamma June 8, 2014, 11:13 pm |

    There is some irony, as I would like to move to Australia -for- the horses.Of course, a good question is how many of those deaths could have been avoided if the riders had worn a helmet? There’s an unfortunate trend among experienced riders, especially in hot areas, to forget that horses are big, panicky creatures and they’ll never be totally reliable, and whatever scares them certainly won’t, or they might lose a shoe, stumble and throw you, and it just takes one rock in the wrong place… ‘Cause the helmet is hot and looks really uncool, so instead they just pop on a hat. >=| Arrogance is the real killer, here.

    • BobinOz June 10, 2014, 3:58 pm |

      I don’t know what those figures are, but if I were to get on a horse, I’d want to be wearing a helmet. Still dangerous with one though, I suspect, and I’m sure many of those who have been in fatal accidents were wearing a helmet.

      • Kamma June 23, 2014, 2:33 am |

        Well, okay, you might break your neck or the horse could kick you or you might get in the way of a panicking horse, or the horse might step in a pothole and land on top of you. I see, generously, two more human errors in that list. Or donkey or pony, but horses are twitchier than either of those. Uh, more sensitive. Twitchy doesn’t sound good at all. Horses are more sensitive than either donkeys or ponies.

  • djmcbell May 29, 2014, 5:48 pm |

    That’s it. I’m scared of moving to Australia now, in case I go to the toilet and a horse bites my bum.

    • BobinOz May 29, 2014, 7:55 pm |

      Yes, that’s right, horses hiding under toilet seats 🙂

      • djmcbell May 29, 2014, 11:18 pm |

        In fact, I have to ask… does the story Black Beauty actually exist over there? I was unfortunate enough to catch a glimpse of it on TV the other day (apparently narrated by the horse itself) but does it have a more educational, public service message in Australia where the horse bites it’s master, injecting him with venom and requiring urgent hospitalisation to save the affected limb?

        Black Beauty is then captured but breaks loose and proceeds to plague the countryside for months, pouncing on unsuspecting passers-by, digging it’s razor-sharp fangs in and then dragging their bodies back to it’s nest once the poison has taken hold. It takes the Australian armed forces, led by the combined might of the late Steve Irwin and Paul Hogan, to bring Black Beauty to justice.

        Such is the way of horses in Australia.

        • BobinOz May 30, 2014, 6:20 pm |

          Whatever it is you are on, please don’t try to bring it through customs when you come here to Australia, they have sniffer dogs at the airports 🙂

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