Like all warm waters, there’s an abundence of life in the Far North of our great Southern (Is)Land.
This isn’t the place to get into great detail about these ut we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least alert you to them so that you can investigate for yourself.
Most people are becoming aware that the most dangerous animal is none of the obviously nasty guys mentioned below, but the mosquito.
We all know about malaria but there are a host of diseases that use mosquitoes as a vector. If you go to the wet tropics at any time, you can get attacked by mosquitoes but the wet season brings them out with a vengeance.
You need to remember that even if you’ve been staying in a mosquito-free environment, you may be attacked as soon as you go outdoors. Use an effective repellant before you step outside and don’t forget that you’ll have to re-apply it throughout the day. We suggest you follow this link and become familiar with mosquito behavior.
These guys have been around in one form or another for a very long time. Most of last century, we hunted them and pretty much rendered crocs almost unto extinction. However in our new, more enlightened age we reckon we should co-exist with them and simply keep out of their way.
Estuarine crocodiles occur pretty much North of Gladstone in Queensland, around the northern coast of the continent to Carnarvon in the West. If Climate Change isn’t ‘crap’, I’d be looking further to the south as time goes on.
The estuarine crocodile, or ‘saltie’ is the world’s biggest lizard, growing up to 1000kg in weight and maybe up to 7m long. Rest assured, they’d make short work of you if they caught you in or around the water.
You need to take care around boats (especially when launching them) in shallow water. If they ever fugure out how easy it is to capsize a boat and tip it up, they’ll be making regular meals of us and stopping a lot of casual fishing. Don’t help them up the learning curve by leaning out of the boat and giving them a target.
Take care, don’t camp within at least 50m of water, don’t swim unless you’re sure there’s nothing there (i.e. don’t swim). Remember, they’ve been doing what they do for a lot longer than humans and they’re VERY good at it.
Most people know what sharks do and have done for a long while. We know about swimming between the flags, obeying the lifeguards and getting out of the water when told to.
Surfers however will often take extra risks. This is not the place for discussing these, as surfers know more about shark behaviour than most of you will ever need to know. Just be extra careful if you see seals around the place.
You’re in much more danger of drowning than being taken by a shark.
Still, be careful.
These are sneaky little guys because they just float around, trapping and eating fish. If you get stung though, you are at least in a world of pain and, depending on what stung you, not to alarm you excessively but you might even die.
The worst of these little chaps are probably the smallest, the Irukandji jellyfish, about the size of a thumbnail, which occur all around the northern tropics of Australia in the summer months. These little guys are often cited as ‘the most poisonous creature on earth’. I’m not going to dispute this and have heard first-hand from a lifeguard about the agony they can bring.
You can avoid this by wearing a stinger suit. These work by stopping the sting from getting on to your skin. The nets that are put up at popular beaches won’t stop an Irukandji because they’re too small but if there are any locals around they might be able to give you a pointer about how you’ll go. You don’t want to be the first to find out though, so be careful huh?
So you think we’ve got the baddest little jellyfish? Well, we’ve pretty much got the baddest snakes as well. The Inland Taipan is often claimed to have the worst venom of any snake out there.
Here’s a list of the world’s most venomous snakes. ALL the top ten and twenty of the top twenty five snakes live here.
Let me repeat that… The top dozen most venomous snakes live in Australia. Forget your cobra, rattlesnake and whatever, Australian snakes are the baddest.
The inland Taipan’s coastal cousin also a ferocious beast that will strike hard and rapidly, very rapidly so you can be struck a number of times before you know what’s going on. If you are hit, you need to get help quickly because otherwise, you’re in trouble. These guys don’t always run off either. Like most critters who recognise something bigger and too awkward to eat, they usually slink off. If you’ve cornered them though, they don’t back down and will come at you and hammer you hard.
People in banana fields have been known to be chased by one of these and those that have been bitten describe it as like a series of hammer blows.
Not to be messed with.
There are numerous bad-assed snakes out there, luckily not as aggresive as the Taipan. But remember; don’t tangle with snakes, make a lot of noise when you’re bushwalking (unless you’re stalking something and know what you’re doing) and ALWAYS BE PREPARED TO BACK AWAY.
Look, I don’t want to alarm you but you wouldn’t go wandering through the African velt unaccompanied, would you? Well parts of Australia are no less hazardous.
Above all, be sensible and take care.