If the sharks and snakes don't get you, the bees might.
Despite where you think danger lurks, it's the air rather than land or sea where the deadliest danger lies - or rather flies.
Bees and wasps killed 12 people in the past year on record, more than any other venomous plant or animal. Snakes caused the other seven deaths. In a usual year, only one person dies from a shark attack.
More than 3500 Australians had to go to hospital due to contact with a venomous animal or plant. More than a quarter of these serious incidents which ended up in hospital were caused by bee and wasp stings (mostly bees), according to the report, Venomous bites and stings, 2017-18.
"Australia is home to some of the most venomous animals in the world - including spiders, ticks, and 20 of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world," Professor James Harrison's report for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said.
"The majority of hospitalisations for bee stings were due to allergic reactions."
But bee expert Greg Dojchinov said that the year in question was an exceptionally bad one for bee deaths. Most years, bees kill fewer people. If a bee stings, it dies, so it's a last resort.
He knows a thing or 50 about bee stings - he was stung 50 times in one incident last month.
"If you are healthy, you can withstand hundreds of stings but if you are severely allergic, one can kill you," he said as he crouched beside the hives at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands.
I love the smell of wax and honey in my garden.Greg Dojchinov
People who want to keep bees should check that they are not allergic. "It would be crazy not to. There are days when I don't get stung and then there are days when I do get stung," he said. He points out, by the way, that bee-keeping outfits are invariably white or bright, and that's because bees think people in black are bears.
Greg Dojchinov is an engineer at CSIRO as well as being an enthusiastic apiarist (beekeeper). The sting of the bee doesn't put him off them. He "loves" them, he says. They remind him of children, with each hive having a different standard of tidiness. Some are clean and tidy and others not.
"I love the smell of wax and honey in my garden," he said.
Apart from bees and snakes, the newly-published research found that spider bites accounted for one-fifth (19 per cent or 666 cases) of all venomous bites and stings which needed hospital treatment. Of those 666 cases, redback spiders were responsible for 42.5 per cent (283 cases) of hospitalisations, followed by white-tailed spiders (38 cases), and funnel-web spiders (25 cases).
Venomous snakes were responsible for 17 per cent (606 cases) of hospitalisations. Brown snakes accounted for 36 per cent (215 cases) of hospitalisations, followed by black snakes (83 cases) and tiger snakes (65 cases).
"Alongside animals on land, Australia also has some of the world's most venomous marine animals, including the Irukandji jellyfish," Professor Harrison said.
Venomous marine animals accounted for just under 400 hospitalisations but no deaths, with stinging fish (including stonefish and stingrays) responsible for 320 hospital admissions, followed by jellyfish (73 cases).
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