Dangerous animals in Bali: the ones you SHOULD worry about

Alexis
Modified on December 11, 2023

Not all animals in Bali are dangerous, but the truly dangerous ones aren't always the ones you think about. Here are the main ones that you should keep an eye out for.

The Mosquito: The Animal That Causes the Most Deaths in Bali

mosquito dangerous animal bali

The mosquito is by far the most dangerous animal in the world and, therefore, the most dangerous animal in Bali.

Aside from the itching from their bites, the main dangers of mosquitoes in Bali come from the diseases they can transmit.

The most feared is dengue, which can be particularly dangerous and even fatal. It is entirely possible to contract dengue in Bali even if you are only there for a few weeks. Other diseases like chikungunya are also transmitted by mosquitoes in Bali.

The good news is that protecting yourself from mosquitoes in Bali is quite simple: just buy a repellent spray (or cream) like Soffel from any minimart and apply it when you go out at night or in frequently affected areas.

Bali's Snakes: Several Dangerous Species

There are many snakes in Bali. Not all of them are dangerous, but they are not always easy to distinguish for an untrained eye. They can be found both on land and in the sea.

green island viper dangerous snake bali

Dangerous Snakes on Land in Bali

Among the almost 50 species of snakes found in Bali, only 5 are real threats to humans on land:

  • The king cobra: rare, fairly easy to recognize by its size and hood
  • The spitting cobra: common and dangerous
  • The island viper: probably the most aggressive venomous snake in Bali and quite common
  • The blue krait: very dangerous, difficult to identify, but infrequent
  • Sea kraits: very non-aggressive, more often in the water than on land

On land, you are more likely to encounter non-dangerous snakes than dangerous ones. However, it's better not to do anything if in doubt.

Snakes almost exclusively attack to defend themselves, so there is not too much concern. Just be careful where you walk at night, and don't go barefoot in tall grass or Bali's rice fields.

Dangerous Sea Snakes Found in Bali

In the sea, the situation is somewhat paradoxical: almost all the snakes you encounter are venomous, but bites are extremely rare.

It is possible to be chased by a sea snake, but that's normally the worst that can happen if you are not actively trying to handle a sea snake. Almost all sea snake bites are due to fishermen or people trying to manipulate them.

If you encounter a sea snake in Bali, assume that it is venomous, as it probably is. However, just let it go about its business to be safe on your side.

Bali's Dogs: Sometimes Aggressive and Carriers of Rabies

bali dog dangerous animal

Bali's dogs are not always your best friends.

Firstly, you should know that they are everywhere, very territorial, and can be aggressive when you enter their territory.

Balinese usually leave their dogs in the street to guard the neighborhood. Consequently, it's not uncommon to have 5-6 dogs following and barking at you when you enter an area where owners love canines.

Most of the time, dogs only bark and show their teeth and won't bite. But don't put your fingers there, some won't hesitate to bite you.

You should know that rabies is endemic in Bali, often transmitted by dogs that are not always vaccinated. If you get bitten, it is essential to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Remember, developed rabies is fatal in 99.99% of cases.

So, if you don't know a dog in Bali, avoid touching it unless you're sure it won't bite you.

Bali's Monkeys: Not as Friendly as You Think

Bali's monkeys are indeed funny, sometimes cute, but far from being as friendly as you might imagine.

Monkeys are actually quite aggressive, both among themselves and with other species. If you have something they want, like food, they can surround you in a group of 10 and be particularly threatening by displaying their long canines that can pierce your flesh in no time.

Like dogs, they are also vectors of rabies, so if you get bitten, you absolutely must go to the hospital to receive a rabies vaccine.

Monkeys are also notorious kleptomaniacs: sunglasses, mobile phones, snacks... if they want something, they will go for it, even if it's on your head or in your hand.

Water Monitor Lizards: Better to Leave Them Alone

water monitor bali dangerous animal

Monitor lizards can be impressively sized in Bali. None reach the size of the famous Komodo dragons, but that doesn't mean you should disturb the monitor lizards you encounter.

These giant reptiles don't want to attack you, but they are not afraid either. If they feel threatened, they can attack! Their jaws can easily cut a finger or cause serious injuries. They also transmit germs you don't want in your body and even have venom that makes the bite painful.

Monitor lizards are deterrent enough, but who knows, if you decide to get too close for one reason or another, know that it's a bad idea.

Sharks: Very Few Attacks, but Some Are Present in Bali

Some sharks are present in Bali, but none of a species that typically targets humans.

Most of Bali's sharks are reef sharks and are harmless to humans. Some attacks have occurred, especially at the Balian surf spot, which is known to harbor many sharks, especially after rain (Balian is a spot in an estuary), but none have been fatal.

Considering the number of surfers in Bali and the number of shark attacks, you can be reassured; the chances of an attack are more than infinitesimal. However, statistically, this chance is not zero either.

Other Bali Animals More Annoying Than Dangerous

Aside from animals that can kill you or transmit life-threatening diseases, there are many other animals that can be very annoying in Bali without necessarily posing a threat to your life, unless you are allergic.

Here is a selection of pesky insects you may encounter in Bali that won't kill you:

  • Wasps and hornets: same dangers as elsewhere
  • Red ants: sting pretty hard
  • Centipedes and millipedes: VERY painful bites
  • Tomcats: rare insects but venom worse than the cobra
  • Spiders can be impressively sized
  • Scorpions are rare but exist (their sting is not deadly)
  • Jellyfish: can be itchy in certain areas
  • Sea urchins: watch out for steps on reefs
  • Fire coral that can burn your skin
  • ...

What to Do If You Are a Victim of a Dangerous Animal in Bali?

If you are bitten by a snake in Bali, there is only one hospital you should go to: Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar, also known as RSUP Sanglah.

Sanglah is the only hospital in Bali with snake antivenoms, especially those for cobras. So, there is no need to go to other hospitals if you are bitten by a snake; you will eventually be redirected to Sanglah in any case.

For other animals, in case of allergy, bite, or disease caused by animals like dengue, you can go to the hospital of your choice to receive medication, any assistance, or a rabies vaccine.

Also, don't forget that medical care in Bali is never free if you are not a resident. A good travel insurance is essential, especially if you don't have a mountain of cash on hand.

Conclusion

You will undoubtedly encounter many animals in Bali, but the most dangerous ones are not necessarily the most exotic.

Beware of mosquitoes, snakes, and dogs, and you shouldn't have any problems with Bali's fauna.

You will likely encounter insects and other animals that can make your stay unpleasant, but nothing that should send you to the hospital or the morgue unless you have allergy problems.

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