The Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) was only a 45 minute drive away from us, ( more rental car left-side driving adventures!), and is the largest aquarium in all of Australia, complete with a walk-through underwater tunnel and lots of scary-looking critters, so we had to go check it out!
Exploring the underwater tunnel:
After exploring the pretty, cutesy areas, we entered…
The Danger Zone
where we saw a bit of Australian humor with each dangerous creature’s warning description. I suppose in a country with so many potential causes of death, you have to make light of the risks …
This was the sign we were greeted by when entering the Danger Zone:
Western Australia’s oceans are full of animals that can sting, stab, bite or wrap their prey with suckered arms to immobilize or even kill. Packed to the hilt with toxins or teeth, these animals are deadly to their prey, occasionally even to humans.
And here are some of the not-so-comforting descriptions we saw alongside each fish:
“Symptoms vary from bee sting-like pain to unbelievable agony.”
GREAT WHITE SHARK
“On average, one swimmer a year dies from shark attack in Australia.”
“The most venomous marine creature in the world.”
“A box jellyfish can kill a human in less than 1 minute. An antidote is available.”
“Skin death, muscle spasms, and destruction of red blood cells, leading to heart failure.”
^ This one was a bit disconcerting. After all, even if an antidote is available, how are you going to get to it in less than a minute?!
“Paralyzes the muscles while the victim stays fully conscious – until they stop breathing.”
“No antidote is available; however the poison eventually wears off.”
“Capable of biting off your big toe.”
^ Here too, not the most comforting of statements. You’re paralyzed until you stop breathing, but don’t worry, it’ll wear off? So it’s a hold-your-breath contest: you vs. poison.
“The geographer cone is responsible for at least 12 deaths in Western Australia.”
“Stockpiles of hard spear-like teeth are stored in the head of the cone shell, ready to be soaked in venom and shot out of a snout-like mouth in just seconds.”
Okay, first off, a SHELL can kill you?! Only in Australia. And second, what does “at least 12 deaths” mean? Annually? Per day? When was this sign printed? A decade ago? A week ago? How many people are actually dying from this scary shell?!
“One of the most venomous fish in the world. Can survive out of the water for 24 hours.”
“Stonefish anti-venom is the second-most administered in Australia.”
So this fish sits out of the water, looking like an inanimate object, FOR AN ENTIRE DAY, and then kills you.
“Don’t fear! Stingrays aren’t aggressive, they are just very good at hiding.”
“They lash their tail with power and accuracy, impaling their barb into the person…”
The comforting nature of the 1st sentence is lost once you read how exactly they plan on killing you in the 2nd sentence…
So enough about scary lethal critters, here are some fun photos of us exploring the area to leave you on a good note.