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Travel in Australia and New Zealand

A Guide to Dangerous Marine Life in Australia

When one thinks of Australia, they tend to think of cute little koala bears or humorous kangaroos, but the truth is that there not all of its animals are friendly. If you are planning a visit to the “land down under”, you should be aware of the critters that you should avoid. Australia is home to some of the planet’s most deadly creatures. And while visiting Australia is definitely an experience that you will remember for lifetime, getting out of Australia in good health with a minimal number of stings and bites as possible should be the goal. A rundown of the top-offenders:

• Blue-ringed octopus. This small octopus is less than 12 inches in diameter, and is quickly spotted by the blue rings that it is famous for. A sting from the tentacle of the blue-ringed octopus can make you really sick at best, and at worse, kill you.

• Salt water crocodile. Some Aussies say that the only good croc is one that is no longer breathing and that has handles and a metal clasp (a crocodile purse). The salt water crocodile found in Australia is the same type that is found in Florida and is the world’s largest reptile. You can find salt water crocs inland for up to 80 kilometers, their trademarks mouths large enough to easily tear off a limb or two. The salt water croc is a protected animal in Australia.

• Sea wasps. The sea wasp is also known as the box jellyfish, and this terrifyingly dangerous critter makes his home is the beautiful waters that surround Australia. If the tentacles of this beautiful creature touch you, the heart can stop within three minutes. The sea wasp or box jellyfish is the cause of more deaths in Australia each year than snakes, alligators, and sharks combined. You will recognize this deadly creature by its square shaped body (thus the name, box jellyfish). Unlike some other types of jellyfish, the sea wasp has regular eyes with lenses, retinas, and corneas. It is found in the Northeastern waters, mainly in the Great Barrier Reef, although it can live elsewhere and has been confirmed in other waters in Australia. Some Australian beaches are set up with jellyfish nets to protect swimmers from being stung. The sea wasp or box jellyfish is more active in Australia in May and October. Further, the box jellyfish comes near the shore to reproduce in the four days following a full moon, so it is best practice to avoid the water during this time.

• Stonefish. This horrid little critter’s name is derived from the fact that it looks like a stone – which is the perfect disguise to hide it from predators. The stonefish is found in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, typically in shallow waters. Its color is brownish red, and the venom that it delivers with the thirteen spines found on its back can kill you within a couple of hours. Usually, a victim standing in shallow water steps on this fish and gets stung. The stonefish will not attack humans, but if they are unfortunate enough to come into contact with its spikes, then you will need anti-venom right away.

Avoid these critters during your visit to Australia and you’ll have a much more enjoyable time!

Jessica Ackerman, writes for WallDecorandHomeAccents.com and offers aspiring home designers the opportunity to decorate with art and large wall art.

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