Located in the Southeast Asian country of Indonesia, Bali is an exciting island to visit for tourists of all sorts. Bali is known for its diverse wildlife and plenty of safaris and wildlife activities to engage in while visiting the island.
Plenty of dangerous animals are present in Bali, from thieving primates to venomous snakes to daunting sharks. These animals are fascinating to observe from afar, with intriguing appearances and personalities.
Here is seven of the most dangerous animals roaming Bali island.
1. King Cobra
Scientific Name: Ophiophagus hannah
Habitat: Forests, mangrove swamps, bamboo
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Known for being the longest venomous snakes (they can grow eighteen feet in length), king cobras are abundant in Western Bali.
However, these snakes have been spotted throughout Bali, and King cobras largely reside in India, Southeast Asia, and southern parts of China.
In the wild, king cobras live an average of twenty years old. They can weigh as much as twenty pounds. They are adaptable reptiles that can thrive in various environments, such as rainforests, mangroves, and grasslands.
King cobras are incredibly agile snakes that have the ability to stand as tall as a human. The diet of a king cobra often includes snakes, lizards, and other small mammals.
The king cobra snake is predominantly timid regarding humans they may be sharing the island with, and cobras create nests in which they lay their eggs, and then they relentlessly guard these nests.
The snakes will likely not attack humans unprovoked, but they perceive humans coming close to their nets as a significant threat.
King cobras can hoist half of themselves into the air and attack humans. What primarily makes king cobras dangerous is that there is currently no antivenom available for victims in Bali.
Venom from a king cobra is highly neurotoxic to humans and has the potency to cause as many as twenty human fatalities. When these snakes strike their victims, they typically inject them with a high volume of poisonous venom.
The toxic venom from this snake can inflict cardiac and respiratory arrests upon its victim.
Serious complications at the site of the bite may also arise. Common complications include blistering, cellulitis, and skin necrosis, which may eventually lead to amputation of the limb.
Additional severe symptoms of a king cobra bite are swelling, pain, nauseous and vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
Scientific Name: Macaca
Habitat: Tropical rainforests, wetlands
Conservation Status: Not extinct
These primates can be spotted throughout many Asian countries, including Bali.
In fact, Bali is home to a thriving Macaque population. Several monkey sanctuaries and sites are dedicated to preserving the Macaque population in Bali.
Macaques come from several species, such as the crab-eating macaque and the lion-tailed macaque. Depending on their species, they can flourish in a wide range of environments like forests or even rocky terrain areas.
Macaques typically sport a brown or black coat. They usually have legs and arms of equal length.
Female macaques are usually smaller than their male counterparts, weighing between five and twenty-eight pounds. Male macaques weigh, on average, between eleven and thirty-nine pounds.
Macaque primates are omnivorous animals. Apart from the occasional invertebrate and small vertebrate, their diets predominately include vegetation such as seeds and flowers.
Macaques have the ability to store a surplus of food due to sizeable pockets in their cheeks.
Macaques in Bali are known for being exceptionally smart and curious animals. These primates have even been recorded to “rob” innocent bystanders of their belonging, bartering the items for payment in food.
A large portion of macaques’ food comes directly from tourists feeding them.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic catastrophically affected the global tourism industry, macaques were deprived of food. This has resulted in an uprising in the reports of aggressive behavior amongst macaques.
Macaques can carry dangerous diseases such as rabies, Herpes B, and tetanus. Primate bites are not all that unusual. According to the World Health Organization, these bites can constitute up to a fifth of all animal bites reported.
When provoked or agitated, macaques will attack humans. Bites from a macaque can result in painful blisters and infections at the bite site.
3. Yellow-Lipped Sea Krait
Scientific Name: Laticauda colubrina
Habitat: Oceans, coastal waters, coral reefs, mangroves
Conservation Status: N/A
The yellow-lipped sea krait is a daunting snake species that inhabits the Indo-Pacific oceans. The snakes have been identified in Bali Island and Nusa Penida, and may also be referred to as the colubrine sea krait or banded sea krait.
These snakes have a very distinguishable appearance, with a striking pattern of black bands across their body, paired with a bright yellow snout. The yellow-lipped sea krait often populates coral reefs and shallow oceanic waters.
Though yellow-lipped sea kraits essentially live in the water (where they do most of their hunting), they will also travel onto the land for mating.
Yellow-lipped sea kraits enjoy a carnivorous diet, with eels and smaller fish commonly on the menu, and primarily hunt their prey further out in the ocean, while males hunt closer to shore.
As yellow-lipped sea kraits travel between land and sea, you will likely encounter one during your time in Bali. Despite their frequency in Bali, snakes rarely strike unprovoked at humans.
Nevertheless, a bite from a yellow-lipped sea krait can be fatal.
The venom from a yellow-lipped sea krait is highly neurotoxic to humans. Once this venom enters a human’s bloodstream, paralysis, seizures, respiratory failure, and hypertension may occur.
Symptoms that may arise from a yellow-lipped sea krait bite include headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizzy spells, and pain at the site of the bite. Fatalities may occur within just hours without proper medical attention after a bite.
4. Red-Necked Keelback
Scientific Name: Rhabdophis subminiatus
Habitat: Forests, grasslands
Conservation Status: Least Concern
The red-necked keelback is a venomous snake spotted throughout parts of Bali.
Outside of Bali, these snakes have been recorded in China, Indonesia, India, Thailand, and other countries in Asia, and typically inhabit low-lying forests and grasslands.
An extensive set of eyes and a sizeable head characterize them. Red-necked keelbacks have slim bodies that average forty-three inches in length. Females are generally significantly larger than males.
They can be a variety of colors, from brown to black, with yellow markings. Red-necked keelbacks are named after their red necks, making it simple to point one out.
These are carnivorous snakes, with diets commonly consisting of aquatic vertebrates such as frogs and fish.
Red-necked keelbacks are rear-fanged, meaning the snakes must latch and hold onto human skin or bite several times to release their venom.
However, if their rear-teeth release venom that protrudes from human skin, serious consequences can occur.
The venom from the red-necked keelback has been linked to severe hemorrhaging (including in the brain), coagulopathy, and kidney failure.
Less severe symptoms of a red-necked keelback bite are nausea, headaches, pain and swelling at the site of the bite, and difficulty breathing.
5. Sea Urchin
Scientific Name: Echinoidea
Habitat: Varying depths of oceans
Conservation Status: Not Extinct
There are 950 unique species of sea urchins, such as hatpin urchins.
Species of sea urchins vary in their colors. Common colors of sea urchins are yellow, green, red, brown, and black.
Sea urchins can have incredibly long lives, with some living up to two hundred years.
Sea urchins have an omnivorous diet and are not picky eaters! They generally eat plankton, kelp, and algae. Sea urchins are frequently preyed on by birds, lobsters, and cod.
Humans even harvest sea urchins to eat. While sea urchins do not attack humans, their spikey spines can wound humans wafting through the waters of Bali.
The pedicellariae of a sea urchin can expel venom if they come into contact with human skin.
Depending on the sea urchin species, they can have sharp spines up to over eleven inches.
The average sea urchin sting will likely result in pain and swelling (along with a blue color appearing) at the site of the sting and muscle aches.
If you are stung by a sea urchin multiple times, you can anticipate more serious symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty breathing, and even death. Painful symptoms following a sea urchin sting may occur for several days.
6. Fire Coral
Scientific Name: Millepora
Habitat: Shallow reefs
Conservation Status: Not Extinct
Don’t let the name fool you – the fire coral isn’t actually a subspecies of coral reefs. Instead, fire coral falls under the class of hydrozoa. Hydrozoa also includes jellyfish and sea anemones.
Fire coral can be identified by their vibrant colors, ranging from yellow to brown. They are typically found in the shallow reefs of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. Fire corals come from seventy species, including the box and net coral.
As for their diet, fire corals are omnivores. They photosynthesize with algae, as well as zooplankton. Fire corals live for around ten years.
Painful skin rashes can occur if a human comes into contact with fire coral.
Of course, fire corals are not capable of actively attacking humans. Fire coral can cause severe stings.
If you accidentally come into contact with a fire coral, you may be scratched (from the pointy skeleton) or stung (nematocysts). Worst case scenario, you may be scratched and stung by s fire coral.
The fire coral has a painful sting that later leads to a hot, itchy rash on the skin. Depending on the severity, rashes following stings may last for days or weeks.
Other less common symptoms of fire coral stings include nausea and vomiting, muscle spasms, and abdominal pain.
7. Whitetip Reef Shark
Scientific Name: Triaenodon obesus
Habitat: Shallow ocean waters with coral and rocks
Conservation Status: Vulnerable/Near Threatened
Whitetip reef sharks are one of the three most commonly seen sharks in Bali, along with the blacktip and grey reef sharks. Outside Bali, whitetip reef sharks live as far as South Africa and Central America.
These sharks are nocturnal and do most of their hunting during night hours, fulfilling their carnivorous appetite for aquatic animals such as crabs and octopuses. Throughout the day, whitetip reef sharks rest in caves of coral reefs.
The average whitetip reef shark will reach about five feet in length and typically live well into their twenties. Some whitetip reef sharks can grow to be especially large, with records of seven feet.
Whitetip reef sharks generally have a curious and nonaggressive demeanor, and there have been few attacks on humans ever reported.
If a whitetip reef shark were to attack, they are equipped with more than enough sharp teeth to tear through human flesh easily.
The whitetip reef shark’s thin physique allows them to fit through tiny crevices to reach humans.
Shark bites can result in massive blood and tissue loss, sometimes leading to the loss of a limb or even fatalities. Without proper medical attention, shark bite victims may also experience wound infections.
By better understanding Bali’s wildlife and native species, you will be better equipped to handle an unplanned meeting with any of these seven animals.
When enjoying the appealing beaches of Bali, be on the lookout for whitetip reef sharks, fire coral, sea urchins, and yellow-lipped sea kraits.
As you venture through the streets, keep an eye out for macaques that may steal your wallet or a lurking king cobra.