Popular vacation destinations like Hawaii, Jamaica and Australia net millions of dollars in tourism every year. As more people visit these destinations, wildlife institutions urge travelers to educate themselves on the most venomous animals in these very popular vacation spots.
Hawaii is home to some of the most revered beaches and celebrations, and the state’s volcano national park is visited by thousands of travelers each month. Hawaii, however, is also home to the box jellyfish. The box jellyfish, or “sea wasp,” is an umbrella shaped jellyfish that can travel up to six meters per minute, considerably faster than most species of jellyfish. Its nervous system is also much more developed than other jellyfish. A nerve ring sits around the base of their umbrella, which coordinates movement for the jellyfish more efficiently.
The box jellyfish is one of the most venomous animals in the sea, according to wildlife experts. Those who fall victim to the invertebrate’s sting, which is described to be on par with a mosquito bite, suffer what is known as the Irukandji syndrome. The venom of the jellyfish attacks the heart, nervous systems, and skin. Symptoms of the syndrome include: vomiting, nausea, sweating, intense abdominal pain, hypertension, anxiety and pulmonary edema. The symptoms are so painful, cases have been reported of victims begging their doctors to kill them. As severe as the syndrome is, if properly treated, it very rarely results in death.
Jamaica is a very popular destination, netting almost 2 million tourist visitations yearly. However, the popular vacation spot is home to one of the most venomous animals in the world: the brown recluse spider. The brown recluse is usually between .25 inches to .75 inches, although greater sizes have been reported. The black lines occasionally seen on the spider’s back resemble a violin, giving it nicknames such as the brown fiddler, fiddleback spider and violin spider. The bite from a brown recluse may not be felt initially, or immediately painful, but it can be very serious. The insect carries a potentiallly lethal hemotoxic venom. The bite from a recluse can form a necrotizing ulcer that erodes soft tissue, which takes months to heal and leaves deep scars. Scars can grow up to 10 inches. The spider is rarely aggressive, and its fangs are incapable of piercing through fabrics. Most bites occur when the recluse is pressed against the skin, such as when it is hiding in a shoe, work glove, shirt or towel.
Of all of the most venomous animals in the world, more live in Australia than any other popular vacation spot. Although not the most venomous, the eastern brown snake is responsible for the most snake deaths in Australia. The snakes range in color and texture, from scaly and pale, to black and smooth. It is diurnal, operates during the day, and is known for its speed and aggression. The venom of the snake is a combination of neurotoxins and blood coagulants. The venom causes convulsions, renal failure, cardiac arrest and paralysis. It is extremely rare that the victim of an untreated bite survives.
By Andres Loubriel