What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Well, if this is the case, then FNQ folks are amongst the strongest in terms of dealing with deadly animals. Let’s face it – we’ve got a few critters in our backyard, our bushes and our beaches that would leave most people running for the hills (or the airport!).
Here’s what to do if you or your children encounter one of these dangerous and potentially deadly animal inhabitants.
What is the pressure-immobilisation first aid technique?
Recommended for all species of Australian snakes, funnel web spiders, blue ringed octopus and cone shell stings, the pressure-immobilisation system “buys time” for the patient to reach medical care. Its purpose is to stop the movement of venom from the bite site into the circulation by firmly wrapping the wound and restricting movement.
Out of the top ten deadliest snakes in the world, Australia has five of them including the Taipan, Eastern Brown Snake, Inland Taipan, Tiger Snake and Death Adder. And most of these have been spotted in and around FNQ too, which is another bonus.
If you or your child is bitten by a snake, it is imperative that you seek emergency care immediately as often it is hard to identify the type of snake. Call 000 for an ambulance, use a pressure immobilisation technique and have the patient taken to the nearest hospital.
If you’re not a fan of spiders, then you’ll be happy to hear that Far North Queenslanders only have a few deadly spider species. These include the funnel web spider, the huntsman and the wolf spider.
Many spider bites will cause local pain and swelling but a few can cause life threatening illness or death which is why it is a good idea to contact 000 if you suspect a spider bite.
So, guess what is named as the world’s deadliest animal by the World Conservation Institute? I’ll give you a hint. It lives in our waters. Yep, it’s the box jellyfish.
According to the Queensland Health, if you are stung, douse the tentacles with vinegar, and then call 000 for an ambulance. If the patient isn’t breathing start “mouth-to-mouth” resuscitation. Do not attempt to remove the tentacles and do not rub the sting.
There are a few other dangerous jellies in our waters too, including the Carukia barnesi jellyfish which causes irukandji syndrome. The initial sting is often innocuous and usually not felt, but this can develop into a progressive syndrome (over minutes to hours) characterised by restlessness, sweating, nausea, vomiting and severe pain affecting the limbs, back, abdomen or chest.
For suspected irukandji syndrome, irrigate the site with water and then douse with vinegar. The patient should be transported to the nearest hospital for medical assessment.
Stonefish have been spotted in our creeks and coastal waters and although there are no reported deaths in Australia, stonefish stings can be potentially fatal. Stone fish spine penetration can result in severe and persistent pain and in these cases the patient should be transported to the nearest hospital immediately for treatment.
Cone shells have been located on the reef. The venom of a cone shell sting can cause life-threatening paralysis and thus if you have been stung, you need to call 000 and use the pressure-immobilisation technique.
Sure, crocs are great to spot at the zoo or when you are safe on a boat, but up close, they are dangerous and terrifying. Just stay away. Do not swim anywhere where there could be crocodiles and always be crocodile aware.
You might be about ready to move at this stage. Or at least stay away from the water. But we’re not done yet because there is also the risk of sting rays, blue ringed octopus, stinging fish and sharks in and around the reef
Many people are aware that cane toads are toxic for animals but they can also be poisonous to humans when the toxin is squirted onto the skin or into the eyes. Furthermore, if swallowed, the toxin can affect the heart, blood pressure, breathing and cause paralysis.
If the patient becomes unwell or develops vomiting, dizziness or chest pain, they should be transported to the nearest hospital for medical assessment.
Bats and Flying Foxes
The skies aren’t exactly safe either as we end our round up with a look at several species of bats and flying focuses that can carry the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL). The infection may be transmitted from bats to humans after scratches or bites. If bitten or scratched by a bat, wash the area with soap and water for five minutes, apply an antiseptic, and then see your local doctor.
How many of these dangerous critters have you encountered living in Queensland?