In Australia we are unlucky enough to have some of the deadliest snakes and spiders in the world on our doorsteps…
And we’re sure you’ve heard kids arguing in the playground (or adults arguing in the pub…) over which is the most dangerous.
At Dentec we love settling scores and debunking myths, so here’s our input into the debate of ‘Snakes or spiders? Who’s The Deadliest?’…
We share Australia with over 140 types of snakes and some of them have some pretty deadly venom.
Whilst there are some pretty harmless snakes slithering around our gardens we do have some killers in our midst.
The most deadly snakes are…
These snakes are responsible for more deaths than any other group of snakes in Australia.
If you haven’t seen one in real life you’ll have definitely seen one in youtube videos attacking another (normally much larger) animal or unfortunate human.
They’re the snakes that wind themselves into an ‘S’ shape before striking their prey or opponent.
The Eastern Brown Snake is extremely aggressive and very quick. Their venom is the second most toxic in the world and they are responsible for the most yearly deaths.
If disturbed they will attack quite viciously. They’re very good at hitting their target and most victims don’t realise they’ve taken a bite straight away.
The venom from a brown snake bite progressively builds in your body and can slowly cause paralysis…
Although there is anti-venom for Eastern Brown Snake bites it may take several doses to counteract the bite!
There is also a Western Brown Snake that is found more commonly on the other side of our country.
They’re not quite as aggressive as their eastern buddies but are still very dangerous. As they’re naturally nervous creatures they tend to lash out when approached by humans.
Although their venom is not as toxic as the Eastern brown snakes they deliver three times as much venom per bite!
These stripy snakes are responsible for the second highest number of bites in Australia.
They hang around suburban areas looking for rodents to hunt and aren’t afraid to nip the occasional human that gets in their way!
When threatened they’ll flatten themselves and strike low (which is why most people get a nasty ankle bite) so it’s a really bad idea to bend down for a closer look at this snake…
Tiger snake bites are very painful you’ll feel numbness, tingling and get very sweaty. Unlucky victims may also experience breathing difficulties and even paralysis.
Like Brown Snakes bites can be fatal if left untreated.
Luckily there is a very efficient anti-venom available.
These little guys have the third most dangerous venom and the longest fangs in Australia. Although incredibly timid they are known to bite ferociously when they’re cornered.
Before the introduction of anti-venom in the 1950s these snakes were really dangerous. Their bites were nearly always fatal.
Although we now have a great anti-venom these snakes are still pretty nasty.
A bite from a Taipan snake affects the nervous system, damages your internal organs and can cause internal bleeding.
If you get bitten make sure you get anti-venom as soon as possible. Taipan bites can cause death within 30 minutes.
The Death Adder is a very common Australian snake that is known for it’s ambush style attack on it’s prey.
These are the snakes that hide out in the bushes, wagging their tail to attract prey and then attack…
Unlike other snakes these guys do not flee from humans. Their natural response to danger is to freeze which is why so many of them get stepped on by bush walkers.
Before the introduction of an anti-venom almost half of Death Adder bites were fatal. Although we now have an effective anti-venom a Death Adder bite is still pretty nasty.
Their venom contains a type of neurotoxin that can cause the loss of movements and sensory functions.
There are roughly 10,000 different species of spider lurking around Australia.
Unsurprisingly they are the most commonly sighted deadly creature in Australia. Most of us walk past multiple spiders every day hiding in our homes and gardens….
The most deadly spiders are…
Funnel Web Spiders
There are about 40 types of Funnel web spider in Australia and most are pretty harmless.
However the Sydney Funnel Web spider is the most dangerous spider in Australia and one of the most dangerous in the world.
As the name suggests these spiders are most commonly found in New South Wales, normally in suburban areas.
Sydney Funnel Web spiders produce one of the most toxic venoms around and they have some pretty sharp fangs to bite with. Although a Sydney Funnel Web is only around 3cm long their fangs are larger than a brown snakes and can pierce through shoes and toenails if needed.
If bitten by a Sydney Funnel Web you can expect a nasty reaction to the bite.
The venom can damage your nervous system and stop your organs from functioning properly.
One in six bites has a severe reaction but luckily there is a very effective anti venom available. So successful that there has only been a couple of deaths in the last 40 years.
Everyone knows what a Redback looks like (if you’re still not sure about Redback spiders check out our helpful blog posts here! ) and most of us have come into contact with one at some point.
Every year around 300 people in Australia receive anti venom treatments for Redback bites. Because Redbacks really like to bite humans when they feel threatened by us.
Redback venom is pretty powerful stuff. Redback bites really hurt but the reaction to a Redback bite varies from person to person. For some people they hardly notice…
But if you’re sensitive to Redback bites you could be in trouble. Redback bites can cause intense pain, nausea, fever like symptoms and muscle cramps. They’re also most likely of all spider bites to pick up an infection.
Pregnant women, children and elderly people are most likely to react badly. So for some people Redback spiders are very dangerous.
Although no deaths have been attributed to these scary looking spiders, bites are very common.
Mouse spiders like to live close to humans in warm suburban areas. Although these spiders are pretty laid back in spider terms (they are not nearly as aggressive as Funnel Web or Redback) they’ll
still attack if threatened.
Mouse spiders have a similar venom to Funnel Webs and it’s really hard to tell a Funnel Web bite from Mouse Spider bite.
Luckily anti-venom is available and most victims heal up just fine.
Overall in modern Australia neither snakes or spiders should be a big risk for the average person.
If you’re home is properly pest protected and you are properly informed on how to handle pests it is unlikely a spider or snake is going to bite you.
However accidents happen…
Every year hundreds or people get bitten by both snakes and spiders.
But looking at the facts and figures available it is highly unlikely you will be killed by either a snake or a spider due to the huge advancements in medical treatments in the last 50 years.
Almost every toxic animal in Australia has an efficient anti-venom available and all medical centres are well stocked and staff well trained to deal with bites.
Statistically speaking more people die of bee stings than snake or spiders bites every year.
So who is more deadly?
Snakes definitely pack the most toxic punch but then spiders do give out a lot more bites…
We’ll leave you with the information and let you decide…
Let us know your opinions in the comments below…