Blog

How do you rate danger?

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: At The Museum, Date: 14 Sep 2011

Over the past several months we’ve been developing DangerOz, an app about dangerous Australian animals. How did we work out the Danger rating for each one?

DangerOz - Discover

Jen Cork © Australian Museum

In addition to providing facts, photos and a geo-location feature, we wanted DangerOz to include a system to help identify the real-world danger of some of Australia's infamous creatures.

A lot of dangerous animals are very rare and your average person would be particularly lucky (or unlucky) to run into one. More people die each year from bee stings than Funnel-web Spider bites, for example.

We thought a rating might help clear up some of the myths surrounding certain animals, especially if some of these myths are deterring people from enjoying their time in the great outdoors (or indoors).

Of course, we also wanted to highlight animals to be aware of in particular regions.

After a number of discussions with our scientists and interpretive officers, the Project Team for DangerOz decided on the following criteria when developing the rating system:

  • How likely are you to come across the animal?
  • What is likely to occur if bitten or stung. Will you die? Will you be injured? Do you even need to call an ambulance?
  • Is there an antidote, antivenom or effective treatment available?
  • Have there been recorded deaths?

Using these criteria, each dangerous animal has between given a rating between 1 and 10.

Let's look at the Box Jellyfish as an example:

  • It occupies the Australian coast from Western Australia through to Queensland.
  • If a sting from one covers more than 10% of the body it's often fatal.
  • There is an antidote, but it needs to be administered quickly.

We decided these factors combined give the Box Jellyfish a danger rating of 10.

Which of these do you think has the higher danger rating?

  1. The Bull Ant or the Great White Shark?
  2. The Redback Spider or the Honey Bee?


Watch a video on DangerOz