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Dangerous Creatures

Watch Out for the Aussie Nasties


saltwater crocodile

Don't get this close to a dangerous saltie

© Australian Tourist Commission 1997

There is not a doubt that Australia is one of the safest countries to visit — but it is also true that there are dangerous creatures and this is a place where danger lurks not only where it can reasonably be expected, but also in quite unexpected places.

The average tourist will probably not even come face to face with dangerous creatures at all — unless he goes off the beaten track where he is more likely to get lost than be attacked by an Aussie nasty.

Three of Australia’s dangerous creatures we normally hear about exist in or near water. These are sharks, crocodiles and the jellyfish — and can quite easily be avoided.

The great white

First, the sharks, certainly perceived as one of Australia's most dangerous creatures. Real danger comes from the great white shark which frequents the Southern Ocean, but you’ll find sharks in most seas, and occasionally they do come close to the beach where you may be having a swim.

Chances are, if you only go to beaches where there are people around, you won’t come face to face with a shark.

So go to known beaches and do swim between the flags — this is an area where surf lifesavers keep an eye on the water and the people who swim in it, and this would generally be an area free of sharks and other dangerous creatures.

Shark sightings

Surf lifesavers will clear a beach if there is a shark sighting.

If you go for a swim, the other danger is being caught in a rip, and marked off areas are generally safe.

If you go to a relatively deserted beach, you can risk being laughed at if you ask the locals about shark danger. Better to be laughed at, of course, than to be foolhardy.

Next page: Never Smile at a Crocodile

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