A shark swimming above coral reef near Lady Elliot Island © James Vodicka

Lady Elliot Island, Queensland

Facts about dangerous animals in Australia

Surf lesson with Let’s Go Surfing at Bondi Beach © Let's Go Surfing

Let's Go Surfing, Bondi Beach, New South Wales @ Let's Go Surfing

Did you know?

The largest shark species found in Australian waters is the majestic – and harmless – whale shark, which feeds on tiny plankton.

Wolf Rock, Sunshine Coast, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland/Nigel Marsh

Top tip: Reduce your chances of an unfriendly shark encounter by following the same protocol recommended worldwide: avoid swimming at dusk and dawn, don’t swim where people are fishing and choose a beach that is patrolled by lifesavers and swim between the flags.

A jumping crocodile in the Adelaide River © Shaana McNaught

Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise, Adelaide River, Northern Territory © Shaana McNaught

Crocodile encounters at Crocosaurus Cove, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/ Shaana McNaught

Top tip: Look out for croc warning signage and don’t wade or swim in these areas. If there is no signage, play it safe and stay out of the water. But that’s not to say swimming is off-limits in Australia’s north. In Darwin, you can swim in the ocean enclosure or between the flags at patrolled beaches. And safe freshwater swimming holes abound in the Northern Territory and the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region. 

A spider in a web in front of palms in Mollymook © Alex Satriani/Unsplash

Spider, Mollymook, New South Wales @ Alex Satriani/Unsplash

Ranger leads a Twilight Tour at Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary near Canberra © Visit Canberra

Top tip: Spiders will only bite if provoked. Avoid touching spider webs, and if you do see a spider, it’s best to leave it alone. If you are camping or staying in the countryside, it’s common practice to shake your shoes out before you put them on.

Snorkelers swim next to a manta ray on Lady Elliot Island © Tourism and Events Queensland

Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland @ Tourism and Events Queensland

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, QLD © Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

Top tip: Although the vast majority of our marine creatures are harmless, always follow the “no touch” rule for everything underwater. This will be safest for you and our marine creatures.

Jellyfish at Melbourne Aquarium © Roberto Seba

Jellyfish, Melbourne Aquarium, Melbourne, Victoria © Roberto Seba

Good to know

Queensland snorkelling tour operators typically supply Lycra protection suits during jellyfish season, so you can snorkel in peace year-round.

Cairns Aquarium, Cairns City, QLD © Tourism Australia

Top tip: In tropical areas, always swim on patrolled beaches and follow the advisory signs.

Snake at Taronga Zoo in Sydney © Tourism Australia

Snake, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, New South Wales © Tourism Australia

Black Tiger Snake, Cape du Couedic, Kangaroo Island, SA © Tourism Australia

Top tip: Choose enclosed footwear and thick socks for hiking, and if you see a snake, back away very slowly then stamp your feet and make noise to encourage it to move along. In the extremely rare event of a snake bite, anti-venom is available to treat all dangerous snakes in Australia.

Dingo on the beach on Fraser Island © Pirie Bath Photography

Dingo, Fraser Island, Queensland © Pirie Bath Photography

Did you know?

Dingoes were brought to Australia around 5,000 years ago as companions.  

Dingo, Fraser Island, QLD © Tourism Australia

Top tips: Dingoes can be attracted to campsites by food. If you’re camping in dingo habitats, secure any food at night.

A magpie sitting on a steel bar © Chris Stenger/Unsplash

Magpie, Western Australia @ Chris Stenger/Unsplash

Magpie Geese at Bamurru Plains, Point Stuart, NT © Peter Eve 2006

Top tips: Many magpie nesting areas are signposted; be conscious of their presence and don’t approach. On the off-chance that you are “swooped”, don’t panic – distance yourself from their territory and they will stop chasing you.

Couple takes selfie with a quokka on Rottnest Island © Georges Antoni

Quokka, Rottnest Island, Western Australia © Georges Antoni