The Seven Deadliest Australian Animals

As a scientist and an adventurer in the wild, Brady Barr often comes face-to-face with some of nature's most dangerous creatures. And now he's taking on Australia, home to many of the world's most venomous animals.

One bite from some of these beasts, and there's no chance of recovery, but that didn't stop Barr, of the National Geographic show "Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr," from giving "GMA" a first-hand look at Australia's deadliest creatures.

"I've got this thirst for knowledge," Barr told "Good Morning America." "I mean, when do you ever get to see a platypus? ... You rely on guys like me to give you that up close and personal look so you can find out more about these amazing creatures. They are deadly but fascinating."

Barr created a list of the most deadly Australian animals based on a combination of four categories: venom, attitude, chance of contact, and death toll.

Why are there so many dangerous animals in Australia?

"That is a really good question," Barr said. "There are a lot of theories. One hypothesis is it's an isolated place. A really harsh place to live and you better be tough. You better be harsh if you're going to survive."

Find out more about these amazing animals below and watch the "Dangerous Encounters: Deadly Australia" when it premieres Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 10 p.m.

To learn more about Australia's animals, visit the Australian Museum.

Stonefish

Possibly the deadliest fish in the world, the stonefish gets its name from its ability to camouflage itself in a rocky sea environment.

The stonefish feeds on smaller fish and shrimps, but its deadly sting is not used for catching prey. Thirteen venomous spines projecting along its back offer protection from sharks, rays, and other creatures that might think of having the stone fish for dinner.

When these spines feel pressure from a gulping mouth or a stepping foot, a highly toxic venom is involuntarily expelled into the unwitting victim. The sting causes terrible pain and can result in death if not treated.

Duck-Billed Platypus

With its duck bill and webbed feet, the platypus might look funny, but the world's only venomous furred animal is no joke. A male duck-billed platypus has a poisonous spur on his hind legs. The potent defense mechanism is curious as the platypus had no natural predators.

When a platypus feels threatened, it will throw venom out of this spur on to the intruder. The venom from a platypus sting isn't likely to kill, but the pain is excruciating and there is no way to stop it.

The platypus lives in Australia's rivers and banks, feeding on shrimp, insects, and other river-dwellers.

Deadly Australia: More Dangerous Animals

Blue Ringed Octopus

Found only in the waters of southern Australia, the blue ringed octopus is beautiful, but deadly. A little over 5 inches in length, it is named for the florescent blue rings that appear as a warning when the cephalopod is agitated.

The tiny octopus uses its poison, secreted from two separate glands, for hunting and self-defense. It uses one poison to kill crabs and shrimp before it consumes them. The other poison is fatal and causes almost instant paralysis. The little octopus will generally swim away and is only likely to sting a human if it is stepped on.

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