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Victoria

5 Deadliest Australian Animals: Can You Eat Them?

We recently wrote a post about Australia’s cutest animals and answered the tough questions… like could you could eat them. Well, there are plenty of other animals in Australia that are not so cute. Ones that we hope never to meet in the wild… but it would be a different story on my dinner plate. 

 

Crocodile

Ah, the crocodile. The largest living reptile in the world. The saltwater crocodile found in Australia (also called a “salty”) is also the most aggressive of all crocodiles. A big head, broad snout, jaws like a vice, the ultimate predator. It can grow to sizes over 7m (23 ft) and weigh over 1,000 kilos (2,200 pounds). Historically crocodiles account for less then 1 death per year in Australia, but it wouldn’t be a pretty way to go.

Can you eat it?

YES!

Crocodile meat is available in many places throughout Australia, while its leather is used in belts, handbags and wallets. Josh is a fan of crocodile meat, which he likens to chicken, but on the sweeter side.

 

Can it eat you?

YES!

It only takes 1 bite from the crocodile and you’re done for. So take extra care if travelling around the Northern Territory or northern Queensland.

Never smile at a crocodile, don't be taken in by his evil grin

 

Box Jellyfish

These sea-fearing gelatinous blobs are shaped like a box (I know, I know), rather than the common dome-shape you find on most jellyfish. As a result they can move more rapidly. But the most dangerous aspect is not their speed, they are loaded with extremely potent venom. In fact, they are the most venomous marine animal known to mankind. These stingers are most commonly found in the tropical oceans around the north of Australia.

We have been lucky enough not to meet one, so here's a photo from Wikimedia Commons

Can you eat it?

NO!

While many Asian countries enjoy jellyfish I wouldn’t attempt to eat a venomous box jellyfish. Since records began they have caused the death of over 60 people.

 

Can it eat you?

NO!

The box jellyfish prefers fish and shrimp. But that doesn’t make them any less potent to humans. The paralysis caused to human victims often causes them to die from drowning or a heart attack even before they can make it back to shore. 

 

Great White Shark

Everyone has a shark story or knows someone with a shark story in Australia. The Great White Shark can reach up to 6 metres and over 3,000 kilos (6,600 pounds). They have no natural predators, other then the orca. Their mouth is, well, jam-packed full of teeth.

Between 2000 and 2012 in Australia 25 deaths were attributed to sharks. And the Great White was responsible for the majority. 

These things scare me to death, hence no pictures. Here's one from Wikimedia Commons

Can you eat it?

YES and NO!

In Australia we do eat shark. You can find it at the fish and chip shop called ‘flake’.  In fact it’s usually the cheapest fish on the menu.

But not the Great White.

The bigger the shark the more toxic it can be. In Australian sharks the biggest concern is mercury. There are laws preventing the selling of meat taken from large sharks and excess consumption is advised against especially during pregnancy due to high levels of mercury.

 

Can it eat you?

DEFINITELY!

With over 300 teeth designed to do nothing other than rip flesh apart, one nasty nibble from a great white is enough to take you down to Davy Jones’ Locker.

Eastern Brown Snake

We have snakes in Australia. A lot of them. In fact the second most deadly snake in the world spends his time in the outback. Usually a uniform shade of brown, but they can range in colours. These fast-moving reptiles have a reputation for their bad temper. With a total length usually at 1.1 to 1.8 metres (3.6 – 5.9 feet), the maximum recorded size was 2.4 metres.

The Eastern Brown Snake is the species responsible for the most snakebite deaths in Australia - usually one to two deaths per year. 

We have been lucky enough not to meet one, so here's a photo from Wikimedia Commons

Can you eat it?

YES!

Snakes are eaten worldwide, but it’s not my idea of a tasty treat. Apparently it’s absolutely fine to cook and eat poisonous snakes as the heat is sufficient to inactivate any venomous residue, but don’t quote me on that. Quote Instructables.

 

Can it eat you?

NO!

Unlike their South American cousins, these snakes are too small to make a meal of a full-sized human. And the only reason they would attack a human is if they felt threatened. 

Sydney Funnel-web Spider

Writing about spiders is terrifying. But even worse is seeing one in your house. The Sydney Funnel-web Spider is the most dangerous of all Australian spiders and found in a radius of 160km from Sydney.

It is large (4.5cm just in body) black, aggressive and has powerful fangs.

While anti-venom these days makes most spiders harmless, if this spider bites, you do need to take it seriously. Nobody has died from these spiders since 1980, but you do have to seek medical help quickly. 

We have been lucky enough not to meet one, so here's a photo from CSIRO

Can you eat it?

YES!

Much like snakes, Christopher Buddle (a spider expert at McGill University in Canada) says that ingesting a spider, even a venomous one, isn’t really a worry. But you won’t find them on my snack list any time soon.

 

Can it eat you?

NO!

Do you really have to ask?

BONUS:

 

Drop Bear

Ever heard of the Drop Bear? It’s a super dangerous creature found exclusively in Australia. More harmful to tourists than residents, mainly because they hate Vegemite and locals give off a natural Vegemite repellent not often found in a tourist.

It’s like a koala with fangs. Mythical or real? You tell us.

More info is available on Australian Geographic or the Australian Museum

Can you eat it?

NO!

Stay away from Drop Bears!  

 

Can it eat you?

MAYBE!

If you listen to hushed whispers from Australians living in the outback, the answer may be yes. But it’s hard to find any evidence. In fact, a Drop Bear rarely leaves any evidence after it’s meal. That should be concerning. 

 

Howzat? (Australian slang for “How’s that?”)

It seems like Australians eat more of their dangerous creatures than the cute ones. I guess that’s a good thing, it helps to keep the country a little bit cuter. Because it’s certainly not coming from the fair dinkum okka blokes.

What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever eaten?

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