Dangerous Animals

On this page you have the dangerous animals in Cape York.

Like elsewhere in Australia, there is less of them
on the land than in the water.

The only dangerous animals on the land are are poisonous snakes and spider, and there is not altogether that many of them. You may hardly see one on your trip, and if you do, they don't attack you unless you give them a reason by provoking them.

Australian dangerous land animals don't attack you for other reasons than self defence. But water animals do.

And in the water, there are many more of them. There are sharks, crocodiles and jellyfish, as well as some you hear less about - such as  stonefish, marine snakes, blue ringed octopus, stingrays, fire fish, even cone shells - true. Water is the dangerous environment in Australia, not the land.

Dangerous Animals on the Land

dangerous snakes

Poisonous Snakes
There are about 10 species of deadly snakes in Cape York. Some of the better known ones are coastal taipans (not the inland taipans), mulga snakes, western and eastern brown snakes, red bellied black snakes, and death adders. You don't want to step on one so watch out when bushwalking.

poisonous spiders

Poisonous Spiders
Australia is famous for its poisonous spiders, but in fact there have been no spider deaths since we got the antivenoms. They can make you sick, and you still want to avoid a bite, because you do need to reach a doctor to get the antivenom.

Dangerous Animals in the Water

australian sharks

Killer Sharks

While sharks claim most human lives in Australia, that is mostly happening in the southern parts of the country. Up here we don't have the most dangerous - the white pointer. Although we do have tiger shark and bull shark, in northern Australia sharks are not the number one killers.

dangerous crocodiles

Australian Saltwater Crocodile
Up here one of the biggest killers are saltwater crocodiles
. Every now and again they take a kid or a tourist, most often while they swam in crocodile infested waters. Freshwater crocodile is also found in Cape York but it does not kill humans.

box jellyfish

Dangerous Jellyfish
The other animal that does kill humans is jellyfish
. The most dangerous ones are Box Jellyfish and Irukandji, and like crocodiles they are only found in northern Australia. You are told they are found between October and April, but there have actually been recordings also from other months.

stone fish

Other Dangerous Water Creatures
And then there are the other creatures you hear less about. They include marine snakes, stingrays, fire fish, stonefish, blue ringed octopus, some other jellyfish such as bluebottle, and even some cone shells that have a little poisonous harpoon inside that they fire if you pick it up.

Killer Sharks in Australia and Cape York

There are three killer sharks in Australia, and two in the waters around the Cape York peninsula.

At the time when I first wrote this page in 2011, three people had been killed by a shark in different accidents within only a few weeks in Australia, and it is not all that unusual.

While Australia has the reputation as the country of dangerous animals, statistically no snake or spider deaths come any close to the number of shark deaths, and particularly deadly great white shark attacks.

Marine animals are much more dangerous in Australia than land animals, and sharks are the number one killers followed by Australian Saltwater Crocodile.

What Are Australia's Worst Killer Sharks?

Out of about 180 species of sharks in the Australian waters, only three are really fatal. And only two of them, the less dangerous two, are found in the waters around Cape York.

Great White Shark

This is the number one killer shark in Australia.

Every now and again, several times a year but sometimes a few times a month, the great white takes a surfer or two and kills them.
   great white shark
Great White Shark by Michael Heilemann via Flickr.com

This shark is also found around many other continents, but in Australia, it lives in the oceans around the southern parts of the country.

Great white shark attacks often happen outside Adelaide and Perth, probably because of the amount of surfers and not only the amount of sharks in these areas.

Tiger Shark

Tiger shark takes the second place. It's got its name from the tiger-like stripes that young individuals have across their back and sides, however these fade as the shark gets older.
   tiger shark
Tiger shark by Willy Volk via Flickr.com

It is found in the ocean waters around all the coasts of Australia except the south, and it comes to shallow waters and coral reef where it is likely to come close to humans.

Bull Shark

This killer shark is the third most dangerous in Australia. 

It has a similar distrubution to the Tiger Shark except that it reaches a little further south than Tiger, and like the Tiger Shark, it visits shallow areas and comes close to the coasts, which increases the chances to encounter humans.
   bull shark
Bull shark by pterantula via Flickr.com

On top of that, Bull Shark tolerates brackish and even fresh water and comes up along rivers. That's not an occasional individual doing that - there are supposedly about 500 Bull Sharks in Brisbane River! These sharks were also seen in floodwaters during the 2010-2011 Queensland floods.

Bull shark
is well known to be aggressive and unpredictable.

Tiger and bull shark are found in Cape York, the Great White is not.

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