Dangerous Animals in Australia

Australian animals are among the most dangerous and deadly in the world. The shark and saltwater crocodile can bite a human in half. The box jellyfish, the most venomous animal on Earth, can kill you in minutes. The powerful kick from a cassowary bird can slit a person open. Australia is also home to many dangerous snakes, spiders, fish, and even snails that can kill you.

Blue-Ringed Octopus

Blue-ringed Octopus

The bite from the tiny blue-ringed octopus is painless and may go unnoticed. However, its toxin is one of the most potent on earth, and there is no antidote. Death may occur in as little as 30 minutes. It lives in tidal pools and coral reefs.


Textile Cone

Textile Cone

The Textile Cone's harpoon-like tooth can pierce the skin, rubber gloves and even wetsuits. Its sting is painless and often goes unnoticed. But its venom quickly causes respiratory paralysis and eventual death. Over 30 human deaths have resulted from cone snails.


Banded Coral Sea Snake

Banded Coral Sea Snake

One bite from this very venomous snake can deliver ten times the venom needed to kill a human. They and are excellent swimmers and divers.


European Wasp


The European wasp is aggressive and will sting their victim repeatedly causes burning pain, inflammation and severe allergic reactions.


Tiger Snake

Tiger Snake

Tiger snakes are large, aggressive snakes responsible for the second-highest number of bites in Australia. Their venom is neurotoxic.


Lion Fish

Lion fish

The lion fish with its zebra-stripes and venomous spines lurks near underwater caves and crevices. Its sting is very painful but not fatal.



Taipan snake

Taipans are large, fast-moving snakes. They are some of the most venomous snakes in the world but prefer to avoid confrontation with humans.



Brumby Feral Horse is a nocturnal night-time animal

Accidents involving horses are the most common cause of animal related deaths. Overall domesticated animals account for 54% of all human fatalities.


Do Australian Animals Attack Humans? Do Australia's Dangerous Animals Like Eating Humans?

shark attacking

Photo: Shark Attack

Australia has some of the deadliest animals in the world. But there are no animals in Australia that deliberately attack humans. Given a choice, they all prefer avoiding humans. Except for sharks and crocodiles, none of these deadly animals would ever consume a human for a meal. Therefore, there is no advantage in them attacking something as large and tasteless as a person. Even sharks and crocodiles prefer leaving humans alone.

Crocodile on river back waiting to pounce

Photo: Crocodile on a riverbank

Therefore, it is reasonable to say that almost all confrontations with these animals are caused by foolhardy actions of humans. These may include such things as sticking their hands into a spider's web, swimming in waters infested with crocodiles or shakes, stepping on dangerous animals or invading an animal’s space.

Classification of Dangerous Australian Animals? Level of Danger of Australian Animals

There is no standard way of classifying the level of risk posed by various types of animals. We have formulated a common-sense approach for determining the level of risk involved. Some animals may be in more than one of these groupings. For example, a bee sting is not deadly to most people; however, to some, a bee sting can bring about a severe allergic reaction which in turn can cause death.

Deadly - Those animals likely to inflict death if untreated. The most venomous Australian snakes and spiders and the box jellyfish fall into this category.

Dangerous - Animals that can inflict significant injury on a human but who don't necessarily cause death. For example, being mowed down by a wombat is really not much fun, and could definitely result in broken bones and other serious injuries.

Types of Injury Inflicted by Australian Animals How Dangerous Animals Inflict Harm

We have grouped animals according to their modus operandi — ie how do they inflict death and injury on humans.

Venom - Typically the most deadly animals inflict their injury by stinging or biting, and injecting toxins into their victims which results in the victim's death.

Poison - These animals do not directly inflict injury on humans themselves. If, however, these animals are ingested or rubbed against, poisoning can occur resulting in serious injury or death.

Aggression - Animals in this group are those that inflict damage by brute force such as kicking, biting, and butting their victims.

Australian Dangerous Animals Rating Dangerous Australian Animals Rated

The dangerous animal rating used on this page was developed by the Australian Museum, where the museum staff rated animals on a score of 10 based on the threat they pose, combined with the likelihood of encountering one. This list was published in the Australian Geographic. We have added other animals to this list. (See the Dangerous Animals Rated Index above).

Deaths Caused by Australian Animals – Statistics Domestic Animals are the Most Dangerous

Anual Fatalities chart

Photo: Person falling off a horse

Anual Fatalities chart

A recent NCIS Fact Sheet states that there were 254 animal related deaths throughout Australia in this ten year period. Whilst the numbers vary from year to year, this equates to roughly 26 deaths per year overall.

Deaths Caused by Domestic Animals

Domesticated, recreational, farm animals and pets accounted for 54% of all animal related fatalities. The report states that deaths involving horses were the most common and occurred most amongst people aged between 20 and 24 years. Deaths involving dogs occurred most frequently in children under the age of 4 years or elderly people. Farming accidents probably account for the bovine related deaths.

Deaths Caused by Australia Wild Animals

Australian wild animals, both native and introduced, contributed to only 46% of all animal related fatalities. Deaths attributed to emus, cassowaries and kangaroos occurred indirectly as a consequence of collision with motor vehicles. They did not directly cause the death of any people.

Why Do Australian Animals Cause So Few Deaths? Very Low Mortality Rate

The good new is that the number of fatalities resulting from these deadly and dangerous animals is extremely low – it averages only 13 a year. Four times as many Australians die by falling out of bed each year (56 deaths).

So while Australia may indeed have the most deadly and dangerous animals the death rate is surprisingly very low. The reasons for this is twofold.

Most Dangerous Animals Rarely Meet Humans

Most deadly and dangerous animals rarely come in contact with humans because they prefer avoiding humans and also in many instance they live away from human populations.

Excellent Medical Care

In recent years excellent medical care and the development of antivenom means that relief can be administered to the victim before the ill effect of the inflicted injury can cause death.