Avoid Cairns Most Dangerous Creatures! | Cairns Tours

Avoid Cairns Most Dangerous Creatures!

By James Dixon | 22nd July 2015


Australia’s rugged, contrasting landscape and diverse wildlife can sometimes strike fear into the inexperienced traveller. This really doesn’t need to be the case though – when you understand your environment, you’ll truly start to appreciate it. An Aussie holiday to Cairns has to be one of the most majestic, stunning and eye opening adventure around – don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back! While there are animals in the Australian wildness that can hurt or even kill you, with a little knowledge and a lot of responsible behaviour, you’ll be as safe as a joey in a roo’s pouch!

With a staggering two million domestic and international visitors to the Cairns region each year and very few animal fatalities, the odds are completely in your favour. In addition, with three out of four attacks occurring from domesticated animals, maybe just avoid patting a friendly pet at the park to stay safe! Just to help out though, we have made a list of some of the dangerous animals in Cairns and how you should react if you do encounter them.


While you may have researched, studied and Googled the traits of a particular snake you’ve come across, NEVER assume that you have it right and approach the snake. A little story for you – a tourist once mistook a Death Adder for a blue tongue lizard. This was a very bad mistake and he was bitten multiple times by one of the most deadly snakes in the world – in fact, it sits at number 9! The Eastern Brown is another deadly snake that frequents the area; this snake is to be given a wide berth! Not only is it the second most venomous snake in the world, it can sometimes be temperamental. While stories of people being chased and attacked by brown snakes tend to be a little farfetched and more than likely a myth, this snake needs to be respected and if encounter, LEFT ALONE! No it won‘t make for a good selfie! There are also red-bellied black snakes and coastal taipans in the area. Both are hazardous and should be avoided!

Now, with all this talk of snakes and the hazards around them – don’t get overly discouraged. Snakes are shy animals by nature (unless of course you’re a frog or mouse), and tend to flee the scene if something is too big to consume. With one in ten bites on humans being ‘dry bites’ (meaning no venom was injected), the stats back up the fact that they want nothing to do with you. Keep safe when bushwalking in beautiful areas like the Daintree and it’s surrounds by always wearing thick pants and covered shoes!


While the waters are the place to be in Cairns, there can be dangers involved in enjoying the stunning Great Barrier Reef; however this is very unlikely if you follow a few rules and just be smart about where and when you swim/snorkel! When you look at the stats, the likelihood of you being attacked by a shark is slim to almost immeasurable! I mean you’re more likely to be hit by a lighting strike on a sunny day! Some of the sharks that frequent Cairns are the great white, tiger sharks, reef sharks and hammerheads. While all these sharks can cause serious injury, most of the bites that have occurred are just cases of mistaken identity. Keep safe by not swimming alone, try not to swim with domestic animals (there ‘stink’ is a strong attractant), don’t swim near people fishing or spear fishing and, of course, don’t swim where sharks have recently been spotted. These simple guidelines will make it very improbable for you to encounter one of nature’s stunning alpha predator.

Marine Stingers

Or, as most people know them, Jellyfish. There are literally hundreds of types of jellyfish, with many being relatively harmless, some that can give a painful sting and some that can cause death. The box jellyfish is the latter of the three, and can kill within minutes. While they are non-aggressive, all you have to do is bump into them and they will release their toxin.

The best way to ensure you’re safe is to only swim in the beaches that have special floating ‘stinger nets’ – while encounters are rare, it’s better to be safe than very, very sorry.

Rock Monsters

While the beauty under the waves can be mesmerising, there are still things to be careful of. The blue-ringed octopus is one of those creatures. This non-aggressive animal’s bite normally occurs when an overzealous person becomes too inquisitive. The bite itself can cause death and is not very painful, so be careful when kids are playing in rock pools – explain to them that colourful normally means dangerous. The stonefish is another dangerous sea animal and needs to be given respect. While encounters are rare, they are one of the most toxic creature known to man with an extremely painful bite, which normally occurs when trodden on. Shoes are a must in areas where these two deadlies may located!


While crocodile attacks are relatively rare, they tend to always result in a death, so it would be common sense to avoid coming into contact with these apex predators. As long as you treat the waterways where they inhabit with respect and don’t swim into canals and estuary’s that have warning signs in place, you will most like be fine. Give these beautiful animals a wide berth and if you need to see them, maybe go to Hartley’s Crocodiles Adventures – where you can see them from a safe distance!

While Australia’s wildlife seems to be scary and intimidating, it’s not! You just need to realise most of the time you’re entering into their home, and need to be respectful of that. Have fun on your Cairns adventure and stay smart, stay safe!