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BARRIER REEF AUSTRALIA Accommodation, Tours, Attractions & Interesting Facts About The Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef
Coral Facts
Some Of The Dangers

Cairns-Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef

Diving, Snorkeling, Tours, Information

  Great Barrier Reef - Dangers

Don't let the beauty fool you. Great Barrier Reef Animals  


The reef has many species of marine life that can be potentially fatal to humans. Hazards abound that you should know about before venturing out. We have listed some here. 

As with most dangers, if you take the right precautions and are aware of them, you can take steps to minimize the impact of the danger and still enjoy all the wonderful beauty of the reef. The specialised dive operators in Cairns will take all precautions necessary to ensure you have a safe and rewarding day out on the reef.

Irukandji Jellyfish

Unlike Chironex fleckeri (Box Jelly Fish), Irukandji are found mostly in the deeper waters of the reef, although they may be swept inshore by prevailing currents. Divers and snorkellers are particularly at risk. Read this very interesting interview between Christina James From Cairns Holiday Specialists and Senior Marine Stinger Advisor - Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin, Curator from the Natural Sciences Queen Victoria Musueum and Art Gallery in Launceston.

Box Jelly Fish

Possibly one of the most dangerous creatures on the reef. The box jelly fish gets its name from the shape of its body. A box-shaped bell with clusters of tentacles extending from each corner. It has the potential to inflict fatal stings to humans. Found mainly around river mouths and muddy shadow water, they rarely inhabit the reef islands. "Stinger Season" is from November through to March. All swimmers on the beaches are encouraged to swim within specially provided "Stinger Enclosures"

Blue Ringed Octopus

With a beak that can penetrate a wet-suit, they are one little cute creature to definitely look at BUT Don't touch. The blue-ringed octopus is the size of a golf ball but its poison is powerful enough to kill an adult human in minutes. There's no known antidote. Residing in rock pools and coral, the blue ring octopus' rings will "glow" an electric blue when provoked or is on the defense. This is when it is most dangerous, especially to children, as it looks very pretty and harmless. 

Cone Shells

Cone shells look very pretty, but several types are known to be very dangerous to humans. The venom of some contains the most potent neurotoxins known to man.

Lion Fish

Lion-fish have venomous fin spines that can produce painful puncture wounds. Fatalities, however, are rare. The fish have elongated dorsal fin spines and enlarged pectoral fins, and each species has a pattern of zebra like stripes.

Stone Fish

With 13 dorsal spines that release a poisonous toxin when pressed, the Stone fish can inflict excruciating pain and possible death to the unwary. They dwell on stony, muddy bottom areas. Visitors walking on the beaches (especially at low tide) should always wear covered shoes with a sturdy sole. 

Sea Snakes 

Approx 15 species of sea snakes can be found on the reef. ALL OF THEM PRODUCE LETHAL VENOM. Having small fangs, they are not normally aggressive. There have been no reported deaths from sea snakes, however they should still be treated with respect.

Fatalities reported from stingray deaths are few and far between. Barbs on the stingrays' tail whip up when trodden on and can inflict serious lacerations and deep wounds. Tetanus is also a possibility if the wound becomes infected.