Australia’s Deadliest Animal Isn’t A Venomous Snake, Or Even A Spider

Research from the University of Melbourne has uncovered startling figures concerning fatalities.

A giant spider from the film Ice Spiders
Spiders Not as deadly as you might think. Image Sci Fi Channel

Australia is home to some of the most venomous snakes and spiders scurrying the face of the planet.

But if you thought they were the deadliest animals stalking the Outback, you may be in for a pleasant, or maybe no-so-pleasant, surprise.

Because research conducted by the University of Melbourne has uncovered some startling evidence that suggests another of our animal friends may be guilty of a fair few deaths.

Using information related to hospital admissions and coroner records dating back to 2000, they were able to accurately record the number of incidents where animals were involved.

A still from Snakes On A Plane.
Snakes On A Plane Never fear Image New Line Cinema

In that time snakes were responsible for 27 deaths and some 6,123 hospital visits while, perhaps more surprisingly, bees and hornets were found to be responsible for 27 deaths and 12,351 hospital visits in that time.

However, the biggest surprise came when it was revealed that during that period one animal had killed more people than all the others combined.

And the species in question? Horses. Between 2000 and 2013 horses were responsible for an astonishing 74 deaths in Australia.

Spiders, meanwhile, accounted for no deaths whatsoever in that time, with more people meeting a grizzly fate as a result of ticks & ants (5), marine animals like jelly fish (3) and other unknown animal and plant life (2).

A full table, published by the BBC, reveals all the details:

So if you are thinking about going backpacking down under, beware of our four-hooved friends.

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.