Today's post looks to the coastline of Australia and will highlight some of the nasties that could await you in the water. We will skip the sharks for now even though they do earn an honourable mention, but there are not very many unique species of sharks that live exclusively around Australia that are known to attack humans. Below are a few of Australia's marine creatures that are best avoided and left well alone.
Box Jellyfish: These guys are next to invisible in the water and can provide a sting that is more painful than anything you have ever felt. Found in the tropical waters of northern Australia they are so dangerous many beaches are closed to swimmers during the Australian summer. It is one of the larger jellyfish and the bell can be as large as a man's head and the stingers can trail for several feet. Even when dead jellyfish or detached stingers can provide a painful sting. The venom is deadly and has been responsible for the deaths of at least 80 people in the last 150 years. If stung the recommended remedy is to flood the sting area with vinegar as it helps detaches the stingers from the skin and to seek medical attention. Its definitely best to check with the locals or heed the warning signs before heading into the waters in the tropical areas of Australia.
Stonefish: Thankfully these guys are rare but they can deliver a nasty surprise to anyone unlucky enough to step on one. Found along the coast of the top half of Australia, Stonefish are found partially buried in the sand. They do this to camouflage themselves from their prey but sadly this makes them impossible to see. They often will not move even if someone is about to step on them so it is recommended to wear good water shoes and tread carefully. The danger comes from a row of venomous spines that run along the top of the fish that is activated when someone steps on the fish. Although it is not as deadly as some of the other creatures around Australia's coastline these guys will do a number on the bottom of your foot and will make walking quite painful for many days. If you happen to step on one it is recommended to sooth the pain with hot water and to seek medical attention.
These are just some of the dangers along the coastline of Australia. Although they are out there most visitors to Australian beaches never encounter any of these creatures. I did see a Blue Ringed Octopus in a rock pool when I was fairly young and a dead Box jellyfish a few years later but knew enough to steer clear of them. As long as you take the proper precautions you should have an safe and fun time. Have you ever had an encounter with a deadly animal?