The most dangerous animals in Australia
Farm animals like horses and cows are responsible for far more deaths than any other Australian critter.
While it’s fun to scare all the tourists with stories of brown snakes, redbacks and drop bears, it’s the farmers and rural folk who need to be on guard against animals that aren’t perceived as dangerous.
More people are killed by mammals than by all other animals combined. The main culprits? Falling off a horse and being crushed by a cow. That means farmers need to find ways to protect themselves, both physically and financially.
Australian animal deaths by the numbers
The Australian Bureau of Statistics records the cause of every death in Australia and says that animals have caused 250 deaths between 2008 and 2017 (not including animal-related traffic accidents).
Based on this research, here are the most dangerous animals in Australia:
Why do mammals cause so many deaths?
A little digging around reveals that horses and cows are what people need to be worried about the most – especially people who work on farms.
For every death, there are many more hospitalisations according to data from the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, which looked at farm-related hospitalisations in New South Wales between 2010 and 2014.
It’s no wonder that being a farmer continually ranks in the top two most dangerous jobs in Australia.
Although it’s only based on one Australian state, these findings shed a little more light on what’s really going on with these crazy mammals.
How to protect yourself as a farmer
When you rely on your physical prowess to make a living, you can’t afford to be laid up in a hospital, much less remain out of work with a disability. Here are some steps you can take to prevent disaster or to help you cope with disaster if there’s no way to avoid it:
- Wear a riding helmet when riding a horse. A helmet can protect you from severe brain trauma if you fall off your horse, and could be the difference between life and death.
- Learn how to fall. If you fall off your horse, you can sometimes limit the damage by learning how to fall the right way – by rolling away from the horse.
- Don’t startle the cattle. Cattle can startle easily, so avoid creating loud noises when you’re around them. Also avoid approaching them from behind.
- Mark the bull pens. Place markers all around your bull pen. Make sure they are clearly visible and easy to recognise. Stay alert when entering the pen and keep track of where the bull is at all times.
- Keep a first aid kit nearby. If an animal bites you, it is important to tend to the wound right away to stop the bleeding and prevent secondary infection. Get to the hospital or call an ambulance if it’s a deep wound or if it starts to become infected.
- Get income protection insurance. Sometimes injuries are unavoidable. Income protection insurance can give you some income if an injury keeps you from working. After all, you still need to pay your bills and operate your farm.
Other Aussie dangers
Farmers aren’t the only ones who need to protect themselves against Australia’s most dangerous creatures. Anyone who’s active outdoors should take precautions against bees, sharks, snakes, crocs, spiders and even dogs.
The main thing to remember is to treat all injuries with care, and to not brush off any injury as minor until you are sure it’s okay. According to the University of Melbourne, more than twice as many people were hospitalised for bee stings than for snake bites between 2001 and 2013. One reason is that many people don’t treat bee stings as seriously as snake bites and they end up developing a secondary infection that sends them to the hospital.
It might be obvious to seek medical attention if a snake or spider bites you, but bee stings and dog bites can also be serious. So apply first aid to your injury immediately, keep a close eye on it and get to the hospital if it starts to get worse.
You can also benefit from income protection insurance, which provides some income when an injury prevents you from working – even when you’re injured off the job.
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