Things are a little different in the Land Down Under. No, it’s not that the Coriolis Effect makes toilets flush in the opposite direction — that’s actually a myth. It’s that Australia is teeming with wildlife that the rest of the world can’t even imagine.
But beware! Even the most devoted animal lover should think twice before petting these beasts. Ranging from creepy to cute, these are the 20 most astonishing creatures you’ll come across in Oz. Hope you packed your safari hat!
1. These boutique owners calmly removed a huge python from their store. Maybe it was shoplifting? Either way, they probably didn’t have anything in stock that was size extra-extra-extra long.
2. Nice try, Edward Cullen, but these critters have officially made vampires scary again. Known as flying foxes, they are among the largest bats in the world. Fortunately, they don’t hunt anything larger than insects!
3. These rare bugs are known as ‘tree lobsters,’ but you probably wouldn’t want to eat one for dinner. Hey, at least they’re friendly enough to shake hands! Trying that with regular lobsters tends to be much more painful.
4. This slimy spider must be going through its goth phase. Even without the skull perched in front of it, we sure wouldn’t want to walk face-first into this spider web! That would be far from a g’day.
5. Even the sheep in Australia are wild! One farmer had a ball staging this photo, though who can say how much his ovine friend enjoyed it. But where there’s a wool, there’s a way.
6. Australia is filled to the brim with crocodiles, but you likely already knew that, thanks to Steve Irwin. These folks had the good sense to not leave their protective tank when swimming with this monster!
7. Yes, that is a full-sized garbage can. Our friend hanging off the side is a coconut crab, the largest species of crab in the world. They’re so large, in fact, that they even hunt birds on occasion.
8. Australia is famous for its ostriches, but who knew they were so photogenic? Maybe those giant birds should spend less time with their heads buried in the sand.
9. Look, but don’t touch! This pretty fish is the blue-ringed octopus, and it has a venomous bite that makes it one of Earth’s deadliest animals. Scientists estimate that one of these octopuses carries enough poison to kill 26 humans within minutes.
10. You could catch some serious fish with that bait! If you can find a big enough hook, that is. These giant earthworms live for years and can reach up to nine feet in length.
11. This marbled cone snail is bad news. Not only does it look like it’s smoking a tiny cigarette, but its sting also causes fatal respiratory muscle paralysis. Protect your lungs!
12. Floods are nasty on their own, but this deluge in Australia brought in a bull shark to this neighborhood! We can only assume that later this afternoon this shark swam off to fight some jets.
13. Move over, Tiger. The new golf superstar is a snake! It’s a fair bet that not too many golfers were eager to hit hole-in-ones once they knew this guy was waiting for them.
14. What’s so scary about a shiny puddle? Well, that just happens to be a giant jellyfish that washed up on a rocky beach. You sure wouldn’t want to go swimming in that water!
15. We’d like to extend a hearty congratulations to the electrician who didn’t check on this meter and quit on the spot. This spider nest would be enough to make a lot of people renounce technology altogether!
16. Why does it always have to be snakes? This diver who found a giant anaconda should count himself fortunate that he didn’t wind up as an appetizer in that monster’s belly.
17. This looks like the before-and-after in a weight loss infomercial. In reality, these are two Australian ticks, except the one on the right is filled to capacity. To really rub salt in the wound, this species also injects toxins into their host as they feed.
18. Anybody home? Eric Holland nearly lost it when he found this giant lizard climbing up the walls of his New South Wales home. Rather than trying to slay this dragon, Mr. Holland wisely ran away.
19. This bad boy is as dangerous as it is ugly. The stonefish is one of the most venomous sea creatures in the world, and they blend in perfectly with the ocean floor. Many Australians wear shoes in the water just to avoid their poisonous barbs.
20. They’re gonna need a bigger boat! This swarm of soldier beetles has invaded the pole of this ship. That’s one prize that these fishermen certainly weren’t hoping to catch.