Some of the worst of Australian animals give you a fair chance. While it’s possible to just step on a Brown snake, you’re usually going to at least see it, and get a chance to wander backwards while filling your pants with a Brown snake of your very own. But the Stonefish… there’s no mystery to how it got its name. The thing looks like a damn rock.
Not just “kind of a bit”. There’s absolutely nothing at all to distinguish the rock of agonizing death from the surrounding rocks of slightly scratchy. If you have the bad luck to not realise that one of the rocks that look exactly like the other rocks happens to have a metabolism then you’re in for a world of pain.
Pain. Literally pain. Just... so much. Stonefish venom is basically concentrated agony so intense that the pain itself can kill by sending the nervous system into shock. As an added bonus, the venom of the stonefish somehow renders pain medication ineffective. Yes, this includes morphine, which seemingly has little to no impact on the sheer screaming agony.
Victims have been known to request amputation of the affected limb to stop the pain, which has been described as being like having every joint repeatedly smashed with a sledgehammer for hours.
Most problems occur in tidal pools, when a wandering person treads on the wrong rock. Impressively, the rock doesn’t even have to be in a pool. The Stonefish can survive being left behind by the tide for up to 24 hours.
Yes, this fish looks exactly like a rock, will kill you in the worst way possible, and could well be actually on land.
Welcome to Australia. Please enjoy your stay.