About 300 million years ago, the earth was composed of one supercontinent called the Pangaea, instead of the seven that we know today. TRIVIA TIME: Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Can you name all seven continents?
We sincerely hope so. If you’re having a rough day, let us help you out. We’ve got South America, North America, Africa, Asia, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia. It’s okay, we understand. We all have rough days.
Anyways, at some point in time, the earth’s tectonic plates started to shift, and the Pangaea broke up into seven large land masses, creating the seven continents. The reason why we’re mentioning this is that for some unknown reason, one of these continents is more terrifying than the others. That’s right, Australia. It seems that for whatever reason, everything horrifying and deadly decided to stick to this particular area when the continent broke up. We’re not kidding. There are so many things in Australia that want to kill you—from giant pythons to giant crocodiles to giant spiders to giant bats. You get the picture? Of course, this country has also blessed the world with some good things—Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Tim Tams, and Uggs (questionable). Okay, we admit, we forgave Australia for all the freaky things as soon as they blessed us with Thor. It’s all good, mate. Still, if you’re heading to this country/continent anytime soon, we thought we’d tell you some of the crazy animals and food they’ve got over there. Why? Because it’s…funny? Here are 20 things discovered in Australia that will make any traveler’s stomach drop.
20 Inland Taipan - The Most Venomous Snake In The ENTIRE WORLD
What a benign-sounding name for a snake. It seems to suit the rather nondescript-looking reptile. NOT. This is Australia we’re talking about, remember? The Inland Taipan is the most venomous snake in the ENTIRE WORLD. This deadly species decided that it would fit right in with the other scary things in Australia and made this country its home. This snake is also known as the ‘fierce snake,’ although this is referring not to its attitude but rather its venom. One bite from this creature contains enough venom to kill 100 human adults. We’re getting lightheaded just talking about it. Not only are these snakes extremely deadly, but they’re also extremely huge.
The adult Inland Taipan ranges in sizes from 6 feet to 8 feet (shudder). On the bright side, there are very few attacks reported about this snake, and all victims lived due to quick actions.
This snake lives in remote areas of Australia and is rarely seen. They are also exceptionally shy, so chances are that they would have fled long before you got near them. Just don’t go sticking your hand in any crevices, though. They like to hide in those. Luckily, these snakes are usually only briefly active in the morning before they slither into a hole for the rest of the day.
19 Vegemite - Which Is Literally Black Gunk
You already knew that this was going to be on the list. We thought we’d go ahead and list it early so that we can get it out the way. First, Vegemite was actually inspired by a similar product first, Marmite. Marmite was invented by accident when a German scientist, Justus Liebig, discovered that brewer’s yeast, the black stuff left over from beer brewing, was actually edible (and in his mind, delicious). We’re not going to question what drove a person to go in a beer tank, scrape off the black gunk, and stick it in his mouth. Let’s just say that there are all sorts of people out there. Anyways, the spread is high in vitamin B, and it was given out as rations to troops during WWI. People in Australia grew so fond of the spread that an entrepreneur, Fred Walker, decided to create a version back home. He employed a chemist named Cyril Callister to whip up a version to call their own, and thus, Vegemite was born.
If you’ve never had this particular spread, you have to try it when you visit Australia. We just can’t guarantee that you’ll like it. It has a very strong flavor. It’s bitter and salty. We’ve tried it, and to us, it tastes like what you’d get if you cooked down a bowl of soy sauce and beer into a sludge. It would probably look similar too. Still, Australians love to put this funky spread on their butter toast. We just can’t see the appeal.
18 Kangaroo Meat - Um, No Thanks
Kangaroos to Australia are what deer are to America. These adorable bouncing marsupials are Australia’s national animal. Have you ever seen a picture of a kangaroo with its baby peeking from the pouch? It is the cutest thing! Anyways, in America, eating venison is normal. People have been eating deer for centuries, and no one bats an eye when they’re being served venison. But, can you imagine eating a thick steak and then being told its kangaroo? Well, we’ve just lost our appetite. We’re not sure why it is so easy for us to accept eating cows, chicken, pigs, and fish, but offer us a plate of kangaroo meat and you’ll have us scrambling the other way. Perhaps it is because to us, kangaroos are exotic animals. They fall in the same category as koalas and giraffes, cute animals that we get to see occasionally in a zoo and not a dinner menu. However, in Australia, kangaroos hold no exotic appeal. Rather, overpopulation of these furry animals is an issue that Australians are struggling to deal with. It’s reached a point where even the government is urging people to consume more kangaroo meat! It seems that even some Australians hold reservations about eating kangaroo, though, as the country is rather divided about consuming them. Still, just to let you know, kangaroo tail soup is a thing. Uhm...no thanks.
17 Giant Huntsman Spider - Why? Just, Why?
Oh. My. God. Our hands are shaking and we’ve had to go back and delete so many spelling mistakes. What was God thinking when he decided to create this creature? "Let’s have some fish in the seas and birds in the sky...
How about some animals to roam the earth so mankind can rule over them? Oh, let’s add this MASSIVE EIGHT-LEGGED MONSTER so that they’ll never be able to sleep again!” And thus, the Giant Huntsman Spider was born.
These beasts can grow up to a horrifying size of 12 inches.
People like to describe them as being the “size of a dinner plate.” A DINNER PLATE. Not only are these leviathans huge, but they’re also fast.
Unlike normal spiders, Huntsman spiders have twisted joints that allow them to move wickedly quick side to side and also jump fairly far. After a hard shower, it isn’t uncommon to see them seek shelter in people’s homes. They don’t build webs like most spiders and instead hunt (hence the name) their prey down. There are hundreds of horror stories of people coming home and finding these monstrosities clinging to their walls. The only bright side is that the Huntsman spiders are relatively harmless. They eat other pests and don’t normally bite humans. They’re not deadly toxic, but their bites (while infrequent) do cause some pain. Just knowing that these creatures are common in Australia gives us enough reason to not want to visit. Sorry, Chris Hemsworth, not even for your baby blue eyes.
16 Paralysis Tick - Could Be Highly Toxic
While you’re trekking around the Australian outback thinking about your next meal of Vegemite toast or kangaroo steak, you might be unknowingly providing lunch to another creature in the meantime. The Paralysis Tick, Ixodes holocyclus, is a vile critter that is unfortunately fairly common in Australia. Tick bites are never pleasant, and there are several tick-borne illnesses that you should always be careful about. For the most part, tick bites don’t cause too many issues. However, the Paralysis Tick can have some nasty side effects if you are particularly susceptible. When the tick bites, it releases an anticoagulant via its saliva. For some people (and animals) the saliva is highly toxic. Reactions can include anaphylactic shock to tick paralysis.
If you get bit by a tick and you start getting fevers, rashes, flu-like symptoms, weak limbs, and facial paralysis, you need to head to a doctor as soon as possible.
Usually, people find ticks on their bodies fairly quickly. However, the longer a tick goes feeding unnoticed, the higher the risk of medical issues rises. When the Paralysis Tick gloats itself on blood, its body expands, and it can grow up to several times its original body size. Gross!
15 Witchetty Grubs - A “Subtle, Slightly Sweet Flavor And A Liquid Center?” No, Thank You
Sorry for the wait, we had to go hurl into a trashcan. We’ve only barely gotten used to hearing about people eating crickets as a source of protein, and now we have…grubs? Witchetty grubs are the larval form of the ghost moth. They are usually found in tree trunks and leaf litter. These pale, squirming blobs are a favorite for the Australian Aborigines. The ‘preferred’ style of eating them is live and raw. Apparently, they have a “subtle, slightly sweet flavor and a liquid center.”
Sorry, had to go back to the trashcan.
The grubs are rich in protein and make for an easy snack since you can just dig one up while you hike through the bush. Some people might not enjoy eating the grubs raw. If so, another favorite style of consuming them is by barbecuing them. The larvae are pierced by a piece of wire and roasted over an open flame. They’re cooked for about two minutes on each side or until the flesh becomes white. The insides become chewy while the fire makes the outside skin . . . crispy. (We are literally gagging as we write this.) People have described raw grubs as slightly nutty and sweet while the barbecued ones apparently taste like chicken or prawns with peanut sauce. As lovely as the flavor profile sounds, we’re still going to say ABSOLUTELY NOT.
14 Pythons - They Always Win The Fights
Australian animals have the most aggressive mentality “of eat or be eaten” that we’ve ever seen. We understand the natural order of things—prey vs. predator, food chains, etc. But Australia continues to amaze (horrify) us at every turn. There are several species of pythons in Australia and articles about pythons getting into people’s homes are always popping up on our feed. Snakes getting into people’s homes is not an uncommon occurrence. However, the SIZE of the snakes in Australia is what’s leaving us whimpering in our seats. Australians’ nonchalantly remark that most pythons average about 8 feet while some can grow up to 13 feet. If an 11-inch garter snake has us screaming onto the top of the kitchen snake, we’re pretty sure we’d pass out from fear if we saw one of these behemoths in real life. Something must be in the water in Australia because we’ve seen photos of pythons eating monster bats, wallabies, and even a crocodile. That’s right, one of the largest species is the Olive Python. This doesn’t mean that it’s a cute, harmless snake that feeds on little olives (we only wish). The name is referring to the color of this breed of python.
A while ago, passersby witnessed an incredible scene, an Olive Python taking on a saltwater crocodile. After a five-hour battle between the two, the python won the fight and consumed the entire crocodile in about 15 minutes. Just the thought of all those claws and scales scraping down our throats makes us want to stick to a diet of soft foods.
13 Saltwater Crocodiles - Largest Living Reptile In The World
Speaking of crocodiles, snakes aren’t the only thing ingesting some kind of freaky growth potion in Australia. The saltwater crocodile is the largest living reptile in the world, and they’ve decided to make Australia their home.
The females generally range about 10 feet. The males, however, can reach upwards to a terrifying 20 feet and weigh up to 2,600 pounds!
The species are protected by the Australian government, and it is illegal to shoot and kill one. However, there are crocodile farms, and eating crocodile is an option when you are in Australia. The skin is used to make leather goods, and the meat is sold to be consumed. Their taste is described as a combination of chicken and fish, apparently. There are actually many ways of preparing crocodile. You can grill it, bake it, fry it, and even turn it into a soup. Just be careful not to overcook it or you will find that it is similar to chewing on a rubber band.
Regardless, we don’t suggest having a romantic picnic by the water while you’re in Australia. If one of these prehistoric dinosaurs erupts out of the water, you will be sprinting away and most likely leave your lunch and bowels behind.
12 Possum - Not The Worst... But Still
In our experience with possums, they’re either nuisances that raid our trash cans or roadkill. We definitely don’t look at these freaky overgrown-looking rat creatures and go, “Yum!” However, possums in America are actually quite different than possums in Australia. In America, possums are also known as opossums. They’re the size of cats and have long hairless tails that they use to hang from trees. In Australia, possums are still about the size of a cat but actually resemble large squirrels. The most notable difference is that they have fluffier tails than their naked American cousins. Both species are still marsupials, though. The Australian ones are much cuter than the American ones. Possums are actually protected in Australia, and it is illegal to kill them. The only place that supplies possum meat is Tasmania which has permission for the commercial sale of possum meat and fur. The meat is described to be gamey and similar to rabbit but with a stronger flavor. Apparently, it tastes best when it is braised or cooked in a confit style. This isn’t the most disturbing thing we’ve seen Australians eat, but it’s hard to picture the pests rummaging in our trashcans as a palatable food option.
11 Giant Earthworms - Their Bodies Gurgle
For all the SpongeBob Squarepants fans out there, do you remember the episode where SpongeBob and the entire Bikini Bottom were terrorized by a giant worm? Well, they must live close to Australia because those things are apparently real.
If you’ve ever dug around in a garden, gone fishing, or gone for a walk after a rainstorm, you’ve probably encountered an earthworm. Tiny and slow-moving, they’re not really significant to us. However, in Australia, worms are the stuff of nightmares. We thought they were snakes at first because they’re so big! The largest species is the Giant Gippsland Earthworm. Do you see a pattern in the naming of Australian creatures? Add the word “giant” to anything and you’ve got the Australian version of the animal!
The Giant Gippsland worm averages about 3 feet but can grow up to 9 feet long. They rarely come up to the surface, but on the occasion that they do, they probably scare the living daylights out of passersby.
Apparently, since they usually stay underground, you can find them if you listen carefully. Their bodies ‘gurgle’ as they slither around underground. Just thinking that we could be standing above one of these things gives us the heebie-jeebies. Can you imagine what kind of fish you’d catch with one of these monsters?
10 Geographer Cone Snail - Not So Cute...
Anyone who’s gone to the beach for summer vacation will remember bringing home a sandy plastic bag of shells. They’ll sit in a glass bowl forgotten and be gathering dust until one day you need to toss them out. If you decide that some seashells would be a perfect souvenir to take back home, you better be careful of what you pick up in Australia. First off, everything in Australia will try to kill you so you should never mess with anything there anyway. Second, if you pick up the wrong shell, you might find yourself on a fast track trip to the hospital before you know it. The Geographer Cone snail may have a deceptively pretty shell, but they have a dangerous side to them. These are predatory snails that use a stinger and venom to catch their prey. The neurotoxins that they inject will affect a human’s vision and speech and can be deadly. Even worse, the stings can be painless, and you might not even realize that you’ve been stung. The snails are often found in shallow pools and accidentally treading on them is the most common way of getting stung. Somehow, knowing that each step you take while you walk on the beach could be potentially fatal makes the beach less pleasant and our stomachs clenched in fear.
9 Giant Centipede - You Don't Want To Find One Of These In Your Room...
Guys, no joke. We screamed when we pulled up pictures of this horror to attach to the article. The Giant Centipede, aptly named because it is the largest centipede in Australia, is the stuff from nightmares. All those legs . . . just no. Seeing those legs all moving together makes us want to toss our lunch. These insects can grow up to six inches. And although they are called centipedes, which literally translates to one hundred legs, most only have about 42-46 legs, which still doesn’t make it better. They range in color from blue-green-brown to orange-yellow. For the most part, they eat other insects, snails, and worms. Just the sight of these freaky things will have us running the other way. But if you have the misfortune of getting tangled with one of these horrors,
be warned that they are venomous. The front pair of legs of this creature can deliver a nasty sting.
While it isn’t enough to kill a human, it’s enough to incapacitate their preys. The stings on people leave giant welts and are described as a fiery pain. They’re primarily nocturnal creatures and occasionally make their way into people’s homes. Can you imagine waking up to go to the toilet, turning the lights on, and come face to face with one of these things? We’d run out of the house and toss a match on it.
8 Emu And Ostriches - Apparently They're Delicious...
When you think of birds, the first characteristic that comes to mind is flight. Not unusual. However, if you are asked what kind of birds cannot fly, there aren’t many that come to mind. In fact, for us, our first thought was the penguin. After a few minutes, we had an “aha!” moment and remembered the ostrich. Surprisingly enough, there are more flightless birds than we realized. There are actually 60 species of birds that cannot fly. Two of the largest species, and also largest species of birds in general, are both native to Australia. We have the ostrich and the emu.
We’re not including these two birds on our list because they’re dangerous (although they are a bit) or horrifying, but because they are eaten! For most Americans, our palate of fowl is limited to chicken, turkey, and the occasional duck. With the same issue we mentioned in our entry about kangaroos, we don’t see ostriches and emus as a source of protein. To us, they’re zoo animals.
However, in Australia, these giant birds (again with the giant!) are another steak to throw on the grill. Their flesh is described to be dark and rich and similar to venison.
They have a high iron content and are best enjoyed rare. Apparently, if the flesh is cooked past medium rare, it develops a smell that is unappetizing. While not the most shocking item on our list, we still don’t know how we feel about eating an ostrich or an emu.
7 Fairy Bread - Is There A Dentist Close By?
Okay, we didn’t believe this was a thing at first, but we’ve done our research. A favorite treat enjoyed in Australia (especially by children) is a thing called ‘fairy bread.’ At first, the name sounded cute and whimsical. However, after finding out what it is, our noses wrinkled in disgust.
Fairy bread is the affectionate name given to a slice of bread spread with butter or margarine and then covered in sprinkles.
Um, gross. Some people even substitute butter with frosting, and we cannot decide if that makes it better or worse. We’re guessed that this confection must have been developed by a child, but the actual origins of it are uncertain. Butter and sprinkles on toast seem like a completely unnecessary creation that only drives the businesses of dentists up. Thankfully, it isn’t a common breakfast item (although we bet some people do it) and is most commonly served at children’s birthday parties. While we can certainly admit that it presents a pretty picture, we still can’t imagine eating it. We would much rather have our regular cake and ice cream, please. We will leave our buttered toast to go with some scrambled eggs and sausages instead.
6 Stonefish - The Most Venomous Fish Of All Fishes
Can you find the fish in this picture?
As we enter each new entry, we are positive now that something about where Australia is located has mutated all its animals. The number of oversized, or just plain scary, creatures that can kill you is overwhelming. We’ve had to step away from the computer so many times just because our stomachs got queasy. Actually, if you’ve made it this far in the list and haven’t been disturbed by anything, then you’re either Australian or an alien.
The next terrifying creature is the Stonefish. These creatures are the most venomous fish of all fishes. They live in shallow waters and easily blend in with surrounding flora because of its coloring. They lie on the ocean floor motionless waiting for their prey. Enter the clumsy, bumbling humans who just want to splash around and have a good time. When a person accidentally steps on one of these fish, 13 sharp spines spring up and inject a debilitating venom. The pain is excruciating and instantaneous. Apparently, common side effects are shock, breathing difficulties, paralysis, heart failure, and occasionally, death. There are so many possible ways to die in Australia. Eaten by a crocodile, stung by a snail, bitten by a snake, and now pierced by a fish. Come on, Australia. Give it a rest.
5 Bush Coconut - Not Your Average Coconut
We love coconut! Coconut water, fresh coconut meat, dried coconut, coconut milk—we’ll take it in any way. That’s why when we first discovered Bush Coconut, we got excited because we assumed it was another kind of delicious coconut. WE WERE WRONG. We have never been so wrong. We’re not even entirely sure if these things are considered animals or plants. Let’s start at the beginning.
A small grub (always female) crawls on to a desert bloodwood tree. It then proceeds to burrow into the flesh of the tree and irritate it until the tree grows a layer over it like a tumor. A small hole is left open to allow air and access for male grubs to mate. The grub will stay inside the tumor for the rest of its life. It will feed off the tree’s sap and never leave. That is…until someone plucks it and eats it.
The reason it is called the Bush Coconut is because the plant matter that grows over the grub is similar in taste to coconut. When they are picked, the grub and the plant matter are both consumed. The grub apparently has a sweet and juicy flavor. That’s still not enough to convince us, though. Remember, this grub doesn’t ever leave. And it is a living organism, so it has to defecate. We’ll let you figure out the rest. So now, normal coconuts are ruined for us. We’ll never be able to look at or eat them again. Thanks, Australia.
4 Irukandji Jellyfish - Don't Let Its Minuscule Size Fool You
Guys, just don’t go to a beach when you visit Australia. Just don’t. There are too many things that will hurt you. It just doesn’t seem worth it to us. Unless you visit the beach in a full suit of armor, there are just too many risks. Actually, even a suit of armor won’t be enough to protect you from this next creature. The Irukandji Jellyfish is a kind of box jellyfish and is incredibly tiny. An adult jellyfish is about a cubic centimeter. That’s smaller than a thumbnail.
These little creatures have stingers along its entire body that shoots venom that is 100 times more potent than a cobra bite. Due to its tiny size, initial stings might not even register.
For a while, these jellyfish caused numerous deaths, and it wasn’t until 1952 before a man named Hugo Flecker proved that these were the causes of the problems. The venom has a delayed reaction time between 5-40 minutes, and if left untreated, death can follow between 2-12 hours. Reactions to the sting include extreme pain, vomiting, brain hemorrhages, muscle cramps, sweating, etc. Again, these creatures are tiny and difficult to spot. So even with a suit of armor, they could slip between the cracks and deliver a fatal blow. So really, let’s just not go to the beach.
3 Flavored Milk - Nope...
We know what flavored milk is. Who doesn’t? Chocolate milk and strawberry milk. Our favorite is chocolate. Well apparently, Australia decided that those weren’t enough flavors for them, so they decided to create a few more. The Big M is a company that produces flavored milk. Their staple flavors are Original Chocolate, Bigger Chocolate, Strawberry, Iced Coffee, Banana, and Egg Flip. The first few, we understand. Banana seems odd but passable. Egg Flip is essentially eggnog. Okay, looks alright. However, we then discovered that the company also produces special limited edition flavors. For example, one that was featured for a while was Lime. What? Lime milk? Who thought that a citrusy sour lime would be an excellent addition to milk?! There has also been a flavor called Pine-Lime Splice which is a blend of pineapple and lime in milk. Our faces are turning green to match the cartons that these drinks came in. They’ve also had other flavors such as Blue Heaven and Watermelon. We can’t even imagine what these would taste like. The most current limited edition flavor seems to be a spearmint flavor. All we can think about is mixing mouthwash and milk together. It’s not a pleasant image. You definitely won’t see us pouring any of these flavors into a bowl of cereal anytime soon.
2 Sydney Funnel Web Spider - Yup, It Can Be Found In A Big City
Whenever we tell someone that Australia is one of the last places we want to visit because we’re petrified of all the creepy crawlies that live there, they always laugh and say “oh, you’ll be fine in the big cities.” Well, they are WRONG, and we can prove it. The proof is in the name itself for this next horror. We will give you one chance to guess where the Sydney Funnel Web Spider can be found. That’s right, Sydney. Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and it is home to Australia’s deadliest spider.
After a rainstorm, it isn’t uncommon to find the spiders inside because they are escaping the waters. They will hide in everyday items such as shoes. The males are the worst because their venom is more potent than the females.
The bites are initially painful due to the fangs, not the venom. After a bite, people start to sweat and experience abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, and tingling around the mouth. If treatment isn’t administered quickly, death is almost inevitable. The spiders have very powerful fangs that can pierce through fingernails and even leather. Well, that confirms it. We’re never going to Australia.
1 Australian Monitor Lizard - A Delicacy? Really?
The last thing on our list of horrors is the Australian Monitor Lizard. These prehistoric-looking creatures are also known as Goannas. Why have we included these animals? Well, because apparently, in Australia, kangaroos, ostriches, emus, and grubs weren’t enough protein. People decided that the Goanna lizard would also make for a tasty treat. These lizards are a common sight in Australia.
There are several species of these lizards in this country with the largest breed growing up to 8 feet long. They have sharp talons and teeth so catching them is tricky. However, once caught, they’re quickly cooked into a “delicious” meal.
The lizards are usually prepared by placing them whole over a bed of hot coals. Their meat is described to be a very “clean white meat.” We’re not even entirely sure what that means. Their taste is similar to chicken (apparently, everything tastes like chicken). The fat from these lizards are prized as a delicacy either to be consumed or used for medicine. Nope. Just nope. We’re done. After finishing this article, we’re okay with not eating anything for a while. There are just too many images in our minds. If we ever visit Australia (not likely now), we will never be able to eat any meat because we’d just be too paranoid over what it could be.