Other dangerous Australian creatures

Besides the inland taipan, Australia has many other dangerous creatures. These include:

Blue ringed octopus, found all around the Australian coastline.

- It has poison in its saliva, which moves through the body quickly and targets the nervous system. A large dose can lead to breathing problems within 10 minutes of a bite. There haven't been any deaths since the 1970s.

Box jellyfish, found in northern Australia.

- It has powerful toxins, which quickly affect the heart's ability to pump properly, and cause severe pain and scarring. Summer in northern Australia is the most dangerous period, and children are most vulnerable to their toxins. There is an antivenom, but there are deaths every couple of years.

Funnel web spider, different species found in many states but the most venomous are in and around Sydney and southern Queensland.

- It has a toxin that targets the nervous system and causes a high heart rate, blood pressure, cramping and muscle twitching. Potentially lethal within two hours in adults, but there have been no deaths since the introduction of antivenom in the 1980s.

Redback spider, found all around Australia.

- It has venom that affects the nervous system in a milder way than with funnel web bites. The poison moves through the body more slowly than the funnel web. Very common and painful bite, but only one possible death has been attributed to a bite since the introduction of antivenom in 1956.

Brown snake, most common snake in mainland Australia.

- It has highly toxic venom which targets the nervous system. It's the leading cause of death from snake bite in Australia. It has the smallest fangs of major venomous snakes, which means an attempted bite may not always cause death or illness.

Coastal taipan.

- A taipan bite is more of a threat to life than the bite of a brown snake because it has the longest fangs of major venomous snakes. Its venom also targets the nervous system.

(Source: Director of the Australian Venom Research Unit, Dr Ken Winkel)

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