Find out about five of the most deadly animals in Australia: the sea wasp, the funnelweb spider, the fierce snake, the blue-ringed octopus and the cone shell.

Venomous Animals


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Venomous animals

Sea wasp

Despite the glorious semi-tropical climate, nobody swims at beaches in the northern half of Australia from September to May. For there, all but invisible as it cruises in the calm tropical shallows, is the world's most dangerous marine stinger - the chironex jellyfish, or sea wasp. It is blamed for the deaths of more than 60 people last century, exceeding the combined toll taken in the same region by sharks and crocodiles. The stinging tips are astonishingly tiny and densely packed: more than 1000 venom-injecting threads can be fired from an area about the size of a pinhead. In total, each sea wasp has thousands of millions of these threads. A serious sting can kill within seconds. A less serious one results, at very least, in tissue destruction and horrendous subsequent scarring.

Funnelweb spider

Rearing up, with beads of venom already glistening at the tips of its massive fangs (which are capable of biting through a leather boot), a big funnelweb spider is an unnerving sight. The threat is no bluff. The monster will attack on sight, and until an antivenin was finally discovered in the mid-1980s, dozens of people living in the city of Sydney were killed, including one victim who died in just 15 minutes.

Fierce snake

Venom yielded in an average milking of a big fierce snake could kill 250,000 mice, making it by far the most potent land snake venom in the world. When they strike, fierce snakes snap repeatedly, pumping venom time after time, and can kill an adult in less than 10 minutes. There are another 20 snakes in Australia capable of killing a human being.

Blue-ringed octopus

Stranded in rock pools after big tides anywhere on Australian coasts, the blue-ringed octopus is a common sight. It is just the sort of pretty toy that a toddler will pick up. If not seen, it is tiny enough to be hiding in a can of drink. But it is the most lethal octopus in the world. Its venom includes tetrodotoxin (TTX), a component found in no other creature. Two ducts pass right through its brain, bringing venom down to the mouth from a pair of salivary glands. Each is as big as the brain. Each contains enough venom to inflict paralysis and eventual agonising death on at least ten men.

Cone shell

These beautiful shells can earn collectors thousands of dollars, and so are greatly prized. But they produce and store continuous supplies of disposable poison darts, which can be extended for a distance as long as the shell. When its prey passes close by, the cone shell propels a dart forward, rams it violently against the unsuspecting passer-by, and then draws the paralysed victim back into its snout. The larger species can kill human beings.





I don't know what unnerving sight mean.( is it right to say it like that)
And when they say ( on sight), they mean very quickly.

Hello maikelany,

You can easily check the meaning of these items in one of the many free online dictionaries which are available. It's not really possible for us to deal with questions about vocabulary in the comments sections - if we tried then we'd have no time for anything else!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

The threat is no bluff .. Can we say instead ( the thread is not a bluff) ?

Hello again Sharshar,

Yes, you could say that. There's a page explaining the different uses of 'no' and 'not' on the Cambridge Dictionary page that might help you understand this topic more.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I hope some key words be highlighted in the future in the text .

In Japan 30 to 40 people are killed by wasps every year.  And the number is growing gradually.  Recently hiking in the country and on the moutains is very  popular ,so many more people encounter the wasps.  And wasps tend to live near the town recently, because nature is destroyed by the people.  I bought a house in suburban area few years ago and wasps comes even to my garden every summer recently .