Where deadly creatures are concerned, us Brits have it easy. With nothing more than the shy and unprepossessing adder to worry about, we can wander at will – barefoot – if we happen to feel like it.
Here for your delectation we have a list of places where thanks to the killers that reside there, not even a thick pair of fishing waders would keep you safe; places where waders fear to tread.
If you’re going on a fishing trip in Tropical South America, good luck to you. You’ll need more than a pair of neoprene waders to protect you from one of these monsters. An anaconda can grow to thirty feet long and weigh a quarter of a tonne.
The largest snake in the world, the Anaconda is a master of ambush. It lurks in swamps and watering holes lying in wait for the thirsty. Once it has its jaws locked on to you, you’ve had it. You’ll be crushed to death in its hideous coils and then swallowed head first. Imagine if you weren’t quite dead…
To be fair, whilst the anaconda has been known to attack humans who stray too close, there have been no recorded fatalities.
Inhabiting the upper reaches of North America, the grizzly has a reputation for aggression. Exceptionally large males have been recorded weighing in at around 360 kg. A left hook from one of these guys and it’s game over.
Should you be tempted to go salmon fishing in Alaska, ‘bear’ in mind that you’ll be sharing the river banks with grizzlies. If one charges you, go into the fetal position and play dead – just don’t get a grizzly confused with a black bear, because a black bear will start chewing on your head.
The hippo is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous large animals in Africa – an adult male can occasionally weigh as much as four and a half tons. As well as being huge, hippos really don’t like humans very much. Unprovoked attacks are relatively common both on land and on people in fishing boats.
Given that the animal’s incisors can be 20 inches long, the case for steering well clear is quite strong. Interestingly, hippos secrete through their skin, a substance known as ‘blood sweat’. This is neither blood, nor sweat but a natural sunscreen with antibiotic properties.
Duck billed platypus
Probably one of the oddest animals on the planet, the male duck billed platypus has the tail of a beaver, the front end of a duck and lays eggs. Although it looks pretty benign, it is in fact one of very few venomous mammals.
Males have a spur on their back feet capable of piercing your waders and can inject a venom powerful enough to incapacitate an adult human. The platypus uses neither sight, sound nor smell to locate its prey of invertebrates and crustaceans, using instead electrolocation – detectors in its bill that react to the electrical signals given off by living creatures. Ingenious.
Worst of all
The world is full of lethal creatures, but with our habit of killing anything that moves, polluting the land, rivers and sea, the most deadly creature on the surface of the earth is sadly – us.