And the whole point is to freak eager travellers out a little bit. We love to do it, and it’s an unspoken agreement between all Australian’s to just keep the joke going as long as possible. Everything from spiders that can jump ten metres to sharks that have poison venom, you’ll hear some stories created in jest for the sole purpose of freaking you out. But don’t worry, we’re here to set the record straight! Here are the top freaky stories you’ll hear that you should take with a grain of salt:
You might have heard that Australia is home to the world’s most venomous snakes, this is true. And while you should always take your safety seriously, there is no need to wear protective gear everywhere you go! Snakes like the Brown snake or Red Belly Black don’t like built up areas and prefer to stay in the bush with tall grass. They are much happier there! You’re not about to find one slithering down the busy sidewalk of the city, so don’t stress 🙂
Sure, Australia has some spiders with a venomous bite, but the most common house spiders are completely harmless. The most common household spiders are the Huntsman and the Daddy Long Legs – and they won’t harm you at all. Having said that, there are spiders you should be aware of, depending on where you live. The Funnel Web, the Redback and the White tail spider are just some to be aware of, but there are simple ways to avoid contact with them. If you’re shoes are left outside all night just shake them out before you put them on, and if you’re living near tall grass just make sure you don’t go running through it without shoes on! Simple stuff.
Sharks live off the shores of beaches all over the world, but Australia has developed state-of-the-art shark attack prevention methods and many of our beaches are safe to swim in. If the presence of a shark is detected, lifeguarded beaches initiate effective methods to protect you, and they are very good at what they do! If you’re being smart and read the signs on beaches before you jump into the water you’ll have nothing to worry about 😉
Wrong. Sure, there are dangerous animals you need to be aware of, but kids grow up in Australia learning about these creatures and most go through life never having an encounter with them. Don’t step into rock pools barefoot if you can’t see what’s under the rocks, exit the water if you see jellyfish and never swim outside the flags if you’re not confident in your ability to navigate rips.
Australia has the largest record of Melanoma cases in the world, so we take sun safety very seriously! That said, the sun most definitely won’t fry you to a crisp. Being sun smart is easy and if you do it right you’ve got nothing to worry about! Here are some tips from an Aussie-born beach bum:
You may have been warned about Drop Bears by the locals. While Drop Bears are another dangerous Australian animal to be aware of, they only live in specific regions. They can be found in densely forested regions of the Great Dividing Range in South-eastern Australia and they have been sighted rarely in other dense bushlands across the east coast. If you’re out hiking just be sure to stick to the lesser dense areas of the bush and keep an eye out. They are known to be quite territorial, so like you would with a snake or spider, just respect their space and you’ll be fine!
Australia is a beautiful country with a lot of unique animals! While there are certain safety precautions to take, the likelihood of you having a run-in with any of these dangerous critters is slim. Just listen to the locals, read the signs, be smart and enjoy your Aussie experience!