When you say “Australia”, people instantly think “funny accents” and “animals grabbed straight out of a H.P. Lovecraft novel”. Whether it’s the Dark Lord Cthulhu rising from the seas or spiders the size of a human face, Australia will find a way to genuinely screw up your day wherever you go. Doing some research on which animals to avoid beforehand doesn’t seem like too much trouble (hint: you’ll instantly know if it’s Cthulhu, so you’re all good on that).
Now how do we know which animal has the most painful bite? Well, we ask a venomologist. Dr. Bryan Fry did some research into the subject and came up with the 10 most painful animal bites in Australia. In case there’s anyone wondering which highly scientific method he used to figure this out: he actually let all of them bite him. So remember: these things hurt a man with steel balls. Avoid them at all costs, unless you want to spend the good portion of the next hour yelling “F#&@! THAT F#&@ING HURT LIKE A F#&@ER!” (sidenote: research shows cursing actually relieves pain, so drop those F-bombs like you’re America trying to liberate a country).
10. Fire Urchin
According to ol’ Bryan, the burning sensation at the site of the sting makes you catch your breath. I could make an STD joke, but since this is a scientific article, I won’t.
9. Crown of Thorns Starfish
The sting of the Crown of Thorns starfish (honestly, this is 110% the same format they use to name bosses in video games, so he kinda should’ve guessed this wouldn’t be pleasant) is described as “straightforward pain”. Seems like a pretty straightforward reason to avoid it, then.
8. Yellow Faced Whip Snake
This bite is described as “unusually painful” for an Australian snake. It also causes swelling, but that seems secondary to the fact that the bite itself is unusually painful even by Australian standards.
7. Redback Spider
The venom from this bite acts directly on your nerves and can cause sweats, muscular weakness, nausea and vomiting. Only the female bite is dangerous, though. See, redback spiders are just like humans!
6. Irukandji Jellyfish
The Irukandji jellyfish’s bite leads to creeping pain that builds to full-body agony accompanied by headaches. If this doesn’t sound like a proper recipe for “nope” yet, the victims of this bite report experiencing an acute sense of impending doom. Cthulhu, is that you?
The good news: this sting is quite rare for humans to encounter. The bad news: the hollow spurs that deliver the venom go so deep, you have to pull them out by hand. The pain is immediate and long-lasting, pretty much like watching the Footloose remake.
4. Jack Jumper Ant
This lil’ fella can bite you and cause intense, localized pain. Fry compares it to being stung by 200 bees simultaneously. Luckily getting stung by a bee is a breeze. Right, guys? Right?
The stringray’s puncture wound can cause a jagged tear in your skin. Sounds bad, huh? The venom is worse. It causes pain so bad, Fry said it should be called a ‘give-me-a-gun-and-I’ll-shoot-myself-ray’. I’m not sure it’ll catch on, but I’m down with that.
This guy gives you extreme pain within seconds, so intense it makes you want to vomit. The pain has the ability to put the body into shock, while the venom can cause cardiovascular collapse. And this guy isn’t even the worst.
1. Box Jellyfish
Fry describes this sting as “being wiped with acid”. The burning pain can put you into shock, which can cause death. And if you would survive the sting, you can be in considerable pain for weeks. That’s right, weeks. Hell, you get stung right now and feel like you want to die right until Thanksgiving.