Ask 20 strangers on any street in the country what foreign country they’d like to visit most and it’s likely at least half will say Australia. However, if you ask them why, most will say, the laid back lifestyle, kangaroos and koalas.
More serious fascination with Australia focuses on the diverse terrain, casual business style, various cultural centers, and emphasis on teamwork both personally and professionally. If you query past visitors to Australia, it’s hard to find anyone who’s had a bad time there.
However, in the past few years, stories about the proliferation of killer animals in Australia have spread. From man-eating sharks and killer crocodiles to some of the world’s most venomous snakes and jellyfish, Australia is definitely full of scary animals that reportedly hang out in public places ready to jump on unsuspecting passers-by.
If that’s not enough to make you think twice about your travel plans, Australia also has some of the scariest bugs in the world. Although some are huge, many are normal bug size, which makes it easier for them to hide and catch you by surprise as you’re cooing over the cuddly koala high on eucalyptus leaves.
13. Giant Centipede
The Giant Centipede comes in a variety of colors, and reaches 16 cm in length, some with up to 23 pairs of legs. This creature can be found all around Australia except for Tasmania. Not only does this centipede look creepy but the fact that they are nocturnal makes it worse, they hide during the day and hunt their prey at night. The Giant Centipede is in fact venomous to insects and mammals although there are no reports of human deaths from the Giant Australian Centipede.
One more freaky fact, there are many videos online of these centipedes eating snakes, which only adds to their freaky factor.
12. Australian Earthworm
Remember those slimy little earthworms that squiggled around so much when you tried to thread it onto a fishhook under the direction of your grandpa on the banks of a local lake? You’d need a meat hook to snag an Australian earthworm; they grow up to 10 feet in length and have an equally intimidating circumference. They’re not dangerous…other than making your heart stop upon seeing them.
11. Australian Witchetty Grubs
Fatter and not as svelte as your typical American maggot, Australian Witchetty Grubs are actually the wood-eating larvae of a variety of Australian moth species. They may have an off-putting appearance in their developmental years but evolve into fluttering moths with gossamer wings. Indigenous Australians, commonly known as Aboriginals, reportedly eat the grubs, viewing them as a protein-rich culinary treat.
10. Bulldog Ant
Americans generally perceive ants as a nuisance, little dots that move in paths leading to water or sweet foods, easily eradicated with deterrents. But Australia’s Bulldog Ants are a whole different story. They attack without provocation and use their spiky, vicious mouthparts to inflict nasty stings on their victims. Don’t think these ants will back off when they see a can of bug spray; they’ll more likely wrangle it from your hands.
9. Burrowing Cockroach
Cockroaches are the bane of many people’s existence, especially if they live in older multiple dwelling buildings with lousy maintenance. They hide in sugar bowls and cabinets and startle you every time you turn on a light and they scramble for cover. The Australian Burrowing Cockroach grows as large as a human hand, so imagine how scary a party of those big guys would be to find on your kitchen floor, not to mention burrowing into who knows what.
8. Common Garden Orb Weaver
This hideous species can really ruin a peaceful morning stroll through the garden. Not only is this spider often humongous, its appearance is marred by a swollen, bulging, globular abdomen. That big belly might be filled with mosquitoes and flies the Orb Weaver fancies trapping and snacking on as it spins webs around the yard. Watch your step to avoid sauntering through a sticky web chockfull of dead insects.
7. Golden Orb Weaver
Never one to be outdone, when the Golden Orb Weaver’s on the scene, the Common Garden Orb Weaver is reduced to the role of little punk in the garden scene. This species was spotted eating a bird in a person’s backyard. Although experts insist the Golden Orb Weaver typically prefers a diet of large insects, imagining bugs the size of birds is equally horrifying.
6. Goliath Stick Insect
There are many species of stick insects; Praying Mantis is one we’re used to occasionally spotting in our yards and gardens, hard to distinguish from plant stems and tall blades of grass as they blend in with the green background. Australia’s Goliath Stick Insect is harder to miss as their “stick” parts are huge and imposing, so big they should be called poles or branches.
5. Hercules Moth
Watching delicate moths flutter near porch lights and garden lamps can be a peaceful moment of enjoying one of nature’s most lovely insects. However, if the moth has a wingspan of almost 12 inches, the experience turns into a terrifying scene from a horror movie. The Hercules Moth, found mainly in northern Australia, is the country’s largest moth variety. Despite its scary size, the moth’s brilliant colors make it a visual delight.
4. Redback Spider
We’ve all seen snakes fall prey to all kinds of natural predators from other snakes to cane toads and various other amphibians. In Australia, snakes also have to be on the lookout for a deadly redback spider that fancies snakes on its menu. Although experts claim this type of food is relatively unusual for this spider, and the snake dies from poison rather than body trauma, merely conjuring up the image in your head will likely haunt your dreams for a night of two. Even more frightening is that this species hangs out in suburban backyards in lawn furniture and playground equipment. Be on the lookout for something with a bright red stripe lurking around.
3. Loboscelidia Wasp
Wasps are generally more intimidating than bees, seemingly suspending themselves in the air and acting disinterested before they hurl their bullet-shaped bodies toward their targets. They are often more bold than a bumble bee and they tend to be more willing to get close and sting you. The rare Loboscelidia Wasp, so unusual it has hardly been studied by experts, is easily identified by a unique, oversized horn protruding from its head.
2. Spiny Leaf Insect
This is definitely the most unique looking creature on this list. Unlike many of Australia’s scary-looking bugs, the Spiny Leaf Insect may be among the most revolting to behold but at least it won’t harm you if you cross its path. In fact, the species is so innocuous, it’s become a popular pet in Queensland. The problem arises in trying to find it as it is completely camouflaged when landing on plants and trees.
1. Sydney Funnel Web
If you have a fear of spiders, the Sydney Funnel Web is the species worthy of running from like a fragile little girl. This arachnid is the deadliest spider in Australia, and possibly the most lethal in the entire world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t like to weave webs in the wild but prefers the suburban neighborhoods of Sydney. Beware of any webs you encounter while enjoying a friendly cookout in a friend’s backyard.
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