Australia’s unique and extraordinary wildlife is one of its key attractions for visitors. Common sense and respect for wildlife will keep visitors safe during their stay.
Here is some practical information and tips:
Western Australia has two main species of kangaroos - Western Grey Kangaroos and the infamous Red Kangaroo.
Visitors should take care if they are travelling outside of the metropolitan area on country roads, as these large marsupials can jump out from bushland areas, not realising they are about to head onto a main road. It is recommended not to drive on country roads at dawn or dusk when kangaroos are most active.
Western Australia is home to hundreds of reptile species and has its fair share of snakes. These shy creatures usually stay away from humans. When bushwalking or hiking, avoid bites by wearing protective footwear. If bitten, seek immediate medical attention.
Teaming with marine life from the top to bottom of the Western Australian coast, there are many sea creatures which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
The most common jellyfish in the ocean around Perth is the Carybdea Rastoni, locally known as a ‘stinger’. Its tentacles are approximately 10 cm long but the body is only 1 to 2 cm across, being almost transparent they are very difficult to see in the water. Their sting can cause a burning sensation and is best treated with cold water or ice.
Sharks have been seen in waters off the Western Australian coast. There are effective shark monitoring measures in place and efficient methods of communicating in real time of what’s happening in and around Perth’s shores. This information is provided by aerial patrols and is available through the Surf Lifesaving WA Twitter feed.
Here are a few tips to reduce the risk of encountering sharks:
- swim between the flags at patrolled beaches
- swim close to shore
- swim, dive or surf with other people
- avoid areas where there are large schools of fish, dolphins, seals or sea lions and close to bird rookeries
- if swimmers see a shark they should leave the water as quickly and calmly as possible – avoiding excessive splashing or noise.
For further information on shark safety visit the Department of Fisheries website.
There are many hundreds of species of spiders found in Western Australia but very few species are actually harmful.
The only spider in Western Australia found to be lethal is the Red-back spider, although there have been no fatalities since 1955 due to antivenene becoming available. They are generally 2 to 3 cm long (including their legs) with a red strip down their back. Red-backs are shy spiders and bites usually occur when the spider is forced into contact with a person i.e. such as putting on gardening gloves.
Wildlife on rural roads
Western Australia's road system covers vast distances through some of the most remote and uninhabited regions of the world. When travelling on either national, state or local rural roads, travellers may come across a diverse range of wildlife and farm animals along the roadside. All of these animals can present a danger if they surprise or distract the driver.
For information on watching out for animals on rural roads visit the Main Roads WA website.