When people think of Australia, a parade of fearsome, dangerous creatures often come to mind. You might think of venomous snakes, scary spiders, jellyfish, sharks, crocodiles… but the truth of the matter is that in spite of Australian wildlife’s fearsome reputation, very few people are genuinely killed by these creatures each year. www.travelrows.com
Yes, when traveling in Australia you will require a modicum of common sense. But generally speaking, if you do not bother the wildlife, then it will not bother you. You do have to be sensible about where you go and what you do, but the truth of the matter is that Australia is no more dangerous than many other places on our planet when it comes to things that bite, sting or kill.
Australia has developed a wide array of animals that can pose a threat to human beings. The evolution of these creatures has been argued to be due to the size and wildness of the Australian outback, the sheer, staggering diversity of its landscapes, its isolation from other landmasses and the climates that are found here. But Australia’s reputation for deadly animals has been exaggerated – in part by old campaigns to deter illegal immigration, and in part due to sensationalist media and television reports to titillate an international audience.
Generally speaking, visitors to Australia will find that where dangerous species are an issue, warning signs make it very clear what it is and is not safe to do. For example, you will find plenty of signs at beaches and recreation sites warning of the likelihood of encountering dangerous wildlife. For example, they will tell you clearly when it is not safe to go in the water due to box jellyfish or crocodiles etc..
Interestingly, predatory species that are amongst the most dangerous of animals can also be the most crucial to an ecosystem. The loss of apex predators in other parts of the world has been a key factor in the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of certain ecosystems. Each creature we encounter on this planet serves an important ecological function. So it is important to consider now just whether or not they might pose a threat to us, but rather to view them as the ecological marvels that they are.
Animals were not placed on this planet for us! Studying Australia’s amazing wildlife – dangerous or not – can be a wonderful way to gain a better understanding of and appreciation for the world’s natural systems. It can also help us understand how we are damaging those systems through our own actions, and what we might be able to do to help.
Invasive species can be far more dangerous – on a broader ecological level – than any snakes, spiders or other ‘scary’ creatures. One need only look at the widespread ecological damage caused by the introduction of the European rabbit to Australia to see this clearly.
When it comes right down to it, however, Australia’s most dangerous animal is clearly the human being. We have done far more damage than any other creature ever could 😉