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?
Seriously, 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 or hippopotamus.
Now let’s really get serious. Fear of Australia’s creatures shouldn’t even be a consideration. Let’s look at the facts, as at 2011 when I created this page:
- 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. Update: In 2016, Jayden Burleigh was widely reported in the media as having died following a redback spider bite. A severe abscess had formed under his left arm affecting his glands. He was treated in hospital and released after four days with a course of antibiotics; he died two days later. A further complication was he was involved in a car accident a few weeks earlier and had only just recovered from his injuries. An official cause of death has never been recorded, as far as I’m aware. More from The Guardian.
- 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. Update: I stand corrected here. If you check the comments below, on December 22, 2016 K.Glasheen describes how Charles Garbutt, in 1935, died after being stung by a cone snail. I did find confirmation of this online, so we need to amend the figures for this critter; let’s call it one death in about 100 years.
- 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….
- Spiders – There’s Good News and There’s Bad News
- Now the Good News About Spiders
- Snakes in Australia. The Bad News
- Australian Snakes and Death: Continued
- Spiders and Snakes of Australia: A Conclusion
- Dangerous Creatures of Australia: Cone Snails
- Dangerous Australian Sealife Continued: Stonefish
- Meet the Most Venomous Animal on the Planet!
- Another Australian Killer: The Blue Ringed Octopus
- Australia, Salt Crocodiles and Death
- Australia, Sharks and Death
- Scared of Australian Snakes and Spiders?
- Death by Dangerous Creatures in Australia 2009
- The New Most Venomous Creature in the World
- Snakes in Australia: My First Real Live Encounter
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!