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More Dangerous Creatures

Stingrays, Blue-Ringed Octopus, Snakes, Cone Shells, Stonefish


Stingray stings are potentially lethal

Giant stingray ... potentially lethal danger

© Sydney Aquarium

On September 4, 2006, a stingray stung Australian conservationist and Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin in the waters off Port Douglas, north of Cairns.

Irwin was reported to have died almost instantaneously as a result of the sting on his chest.

According to Dangerous Marine Creatures — Field Guide for Medical Treatment (1995), stingrays are the largest of the venomous fish.

According to the field guide, the tail of the stingray carries at least one serrated barb or spine up to 37 centimetres long.

Irwin was said to be swimming above the stingray when he was stung.

Stingrays only flick their barbs upwards in an involuntary reflex action if they feel threatened.

Other dangers

Watch out for the blue-ringed octopus (Octopus maculosus).

This is a small octopus found in eastern Australia and marked by blue to purple banding. It has a highly venomous bite.

Also watch out for:

Snakes, when you're traveling through bush or undergrowth. There are several poisonous species.

Barrier Reef cone shells.

Stonefish, which looks like a flat piece of rock on the sea bed but isn’t. Found in tropical waters.

Avoiding attacks

To avoid bites and other assorted attacks, it’s best when outdoors to always be fully clothed without any bare skin showing or open to attack. (Not much fun on the beach, but you can, of course, go bare in safe areas.)

When walking, be sure to have protective shoes on, meaning the feet should be fully covered.

When you consider a list of nasties you may meet on a visit to Australia, it may look like there’s quite some danger in traveling in the country. This is extremely far from the truth, especially if you only stay in cities and towns.

The point is it’s always best to know what and where dangers may exist and how best to avoid them.

When you're in Sydney, visit the Sydney Aquarium to see how dangerous sea creatures look.

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