We've all heard the tired old trope, "everything in Australia wants to kill you," but that's not true. Some of Australia's native wildlife is actually quite friendly— share some Vegemite toast and a coffee, ask to borrow sugar while you ready the kids for school, friendly. Just kidding. There are at least, not figuratively, a million things that can kill you in Australia and most of them aren't human. If you ever grow the balls to step foot on this God forsaken rock then you should probably have your will in order, because if some previously undiscovered species of venomous drop bear doesn't stop your heart, the sight of one of these semi-harmless, bugged out, bad boys just might.
4. The White-Mustached Portia
I know how much the Internet hates spiders, so it’s a good thing they’re all dumb-dumb eight legs with half a brain, right? Wrong. Meet the White Mustached Portia. This tiny bundle of things nightmares are made of is widely believed to be the smartest arachnid on the planet. Native to forests in Africa, Asia and, of course, Australia, this little bastard packs an arsenal of brainy tactics to make sure every dark corner in your home becomes the ominous, fear inducing place that a spider this crafty would choose to hide.
This clever killer has even adapted an uncanny skill to deceive; insofar that one of its favorite methods of taking life is to pluck other spiders’ webs in a manner mimicking trapped bugs. When the unsuspecting spider schmuck rushes down for dinner the last thing he probably sees is the sinister grin of the Portia’s mandibles. More frightening to you and me, however, is its patience. When he’s not using other webs to play death ballads he’s most likely just waiting. For hours. You see, they’re selective hunters. They don’t just go hunting; they choose what to hunt. The day one of these guys gets a taste of human flesh is the day humanity will cease to exist at the top of the evolutionary totem pole.
Did I mention they’re also jumpers? Yup. Fuck you Australia.
3. Tarantula Hawk
No, you didn’t misread that. It indeed says “Tarantula Hawk”. No, it’s not another spider, you giant baby. This winged sadist actually hunts spiders. However, it’s not really clear if that fact makes them better or much, much worse.
The Tarantula Hawk, God’s apology for spiders, is actually a wasp. While killing Tarantulas earns it some brownie points, how it does so is just plain terrifying. Basically, a female wasp runs across the ground to locate a spider burrow. Once found, it continues to do this until it draws a brave or stupid, but mostly stupid, spider out. She then picks a fight, shoots the spider full of venom, and paralyzes it. This humiliates the spider. To add further insult to injury she doesn’t even feed on the poor, defeated, sap right away. She, instead, drags him back into the comfort of his own home, lays a single egg on him, then seals the place shut and flies off as if nothing happened. The egg eventually hatches and the larva carefully eats around the still paralyzed spider’s vital organs before taking a long nap in a silken cocoon then, following mom’s sociopathic footsteps, flies off as if nothing happened.
2. Jack Jumper Ant
Imagine there’s a dude out there that carries around a non-serrated blade, which he claims is great for “repeated stabbings,” but never really says what it is he needs to stab repeatedly. Now imagine that dude was about half an inch in size and also not picky with what he’s stabbing. On those days when stabbing folks isn’t enough, and life drips into the mundane, he goes around killing and eating wasps. That guy would totally be on NATO's kill list, right? Well someone should alert the world's armies to the fact that Jack Jumpers are that guy times a few million and they're alive and well in Tasmania.
Unlike many other species of ants that use scent to forage for food, Jack Jumpers use their sight to target prey. Once targeted, they don’t only attack with their mandibles but they sting as well. Repeatedly. Plus they’re aggressive, like, “There are literally millions of us so we should totally hunt individually. I’ll call for back up if I need it,” aggressive. They’ve even been known to run and leap energetically at their enemies, ambush style. Seriously? Why does one bite sized hot head need such a wide variety of killing tactics?
1. Sydney Funnel-web spider
This next little monster is such a plethora of nope that I broke my one type of bug per section rule because I'm afraid that if I ever run into one, he and his evil ilk of pint sized killers may attack on the sole principle of not being included. And that's not a stretch, these psychopathic hell-spawns will attack for literally anything.
Relative to humans the Sydney Funnel-Webs are pretty small, weighing in at around one and a half inches, but makes up for its size with a powerful venom. And, to make sure it pumps enough of its filth into your smug face, it comes equipped with a form of "lock jaw". This means that when it bites it holds fast and continues biting until one of you are immobilized. So what? Dogs can do that and they're adorable, right? Sure, but can a dog also string up his den with trip wire alerting it to prey, then, rush out and sink its venomous fangs into whatever, no matter the size, it runs across and win that fight? Can a dog survive submerged in water for up to 24 hours by trapping air bubbles in its fur? ARE DOGS GOD DAMNED SPIDERS?!?!
Seriously, how anyone lives in Australia with these insects lurking under every upturned leaf is baffling but I, for one, envy their bravery.
If deadly insects don't bug you then do yourself a favor and follow Anthony Nelson’s Twitter account, it's the anti-venom to boredom.