Can You Identify these Australian Animals From a Description?

J. Reinoehl

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Australia is home to some of the most unusual and unique animals on the planet. Are you familiar with some of the animals that can only be found Down Under? Find out by taking this quiz.

Which of the following Australian mammals lays eggs?

The first scientists who examined a platypus specimen believed it was a hoax. The males are one of the few venomous mammals.

Which Australian carnivore has a Looney Toon named after it?

About 400 years ago, Tasmanian devils lived on both mainland Australia and Tasmania. Tasmanian devils stand only about 12 inches high (30 cm) and store fat in their tails.

Which animal became the Sony PlayStation’s mascot, similar to Mario (Nintendo) and Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega)? Crash ________

Bandicoots are marsupials that eat grubs, cockroaches, and spiders. Although female bandicoots can live to be 18 months old, males only live for 12 months because they will actively defend a territory that is almost 18 acres (7 hectares).

Which of the following is a flightless bird found on the Australian coat of arms?

In 1932, an estimated 20,000 emus wreaked havoc on farmlands by trampling crops and tearing down fences that kept out invasive rabbits. The military was called in and even with the use of machine guns, took down very few of the creatures (it took about 10 bullets per kill). Only when a bounty system was introduced in 1934 did about 57,000 die. A 1999 act finally protected the creature.

What kind of animal is a kookaburra?

The song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree” was written by Marion Sinclair in 1932 and given to the Girl Guides in 1988 when she died. The Guides donated the song to the State Library of South Australia where it was then sold to Larrikin Music Publishing. Since a similar riff occurs in the song, “Down Under,” (1983) by Men at Work, the new owners of “Kookaburra” sued them and won- highlighting the problems with modern copyrights, especially when creative artists pass away and attempt to leave their work to charity and public domain.

Which Australian bird is a popular pet store offering?

A parakeet is technically any small parrot, but Americans generally refer to Budgies (Budgerigar) as parakeets. These birds have been bred as pets for hundreds of years and come in a wide variety of colors, including yellow, white, blue, and green.

Which of the following Australian animals is a marsupial?

Kangaroos stand over 6 feet tall. They travel faster than 30 mph (40 kph) and can jump forward 30 feet at a time.

Which of the following are sometimes called “wild dogs,” although they are closer to wolves than they are to domestic dogs?

Baby Azaria Chamberlain’s death in 1980 at the jaws of a dingo was the first one recorded. Her mother served time in prison as a murderer until better testing techniques were developed and a missing matinee jacket was found. Dingoes also killed a 9-year-old in 2007 and attempted to drag off a 13-month-old in 1998.

Which Australian animal is one of the most deadly marine invertebrates in the world?

Unlike other jellyfish, box jellies have eyes and can actively move through the water hunting prey instead of just drifting with currents. The University of Hawaii did extensive research on box jellyfish stings and discovered pouring vinegar over tentacles (not seawater or ice) was the best way to prevent further tissue damage.

What kind of animal is a sugar glider?

In Australia, sugar gliders are illegal as pets in most of the provinces, but they are listed as “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Although they can be trained to be lovable, they make poor pets because they generally live in colonies with a minimum of 12 individuals, they are nocturnal, and they eat insects and eucalyptus tree sap.

Which of the following Australian animals is a dangerous snake?

"The taipan is the one to watch out for. It is the most poisonous snake on Earth with a lunge so swift and a venom so potent that your last mortal utterance is likely to be, “I say is that a sn—” –Bill Bryson, best-selling travel author

What is a feral Australian horse called?

The “First Fleet” that sailed from Great Britain to establish the first Australian British colony brought horses that ended up escaping or being abandoned. It is thought these were the horses that became the modern Brumbies. The Brumby population increases almost 21 percent each year.

Which Australian lizard raises on its hind legs, extends a skin flap, and opens its mouth when threatened?

The lizard’s frill is up to one foot wide. It can only open its frill if its mouth is also open.

Which of the following Australian marine animals is venomous?

The adult blue-ringed octopus is only 3 inches (8cm), or about the size of a golf ball. It has two types of poison: one for hunting and one for attacking predators. There is no anti-venom, and bites are small and frequently painless, but quickly cause paralysis.

To which family do wallabies belong?

Wallabies are smaller than kangaroos, but they also have different teeth and brighter coloring.

Which Australian marsupial is sometimes called a “bear”?

Each koala requires 100 eucalyptus trees to sustain it. Koalas eat so many eucalyptus leaves that they smell like cough drops.

Which of the following Australian birds resembles an owl?

Tawny frogmouths are actually members of the nightjar, whippoorwill, and nighthawk family. They hunt at night, and raise their head to imitate a branch if disturbed from their sleep during the day.

Which of the following Australian spiders can kill a human with its venom?

Two species of funnel-web spiders made Outdoor Life’s “10 Most Dangerous Spiders in the World” list: the northern funnel-web and the Sydney funnel web. These spiders frequently bite multiple times and always inject venom. One small child died within 15 minutes of being bitten, but no deaths have been recorded since an anti-venom was developed in 1980.

Which of the following birds found in Australia are NOT commonly sold as pets?

Lyrebirds get their name from the shape their tails make when spread. They are highly proficient mimics and have been recorded imitating camera shutter clicks, car alarms, and even chainsaws.

What kind of animal is a bettong?

Bettongs are extinct, or suffer great population reductions on the mainland of Australia, primarily because of foxes. Attempts have recently been made to re-introduce them in areas where they no longer exist.

Which reptile is an Australian monitor lizard and in the same family (Varanidae) as the Komodo dragon?

Although goannas are not endangered, some monitor lizards in India are being illegally sold for meat, drum skins, sandals and their genitals (which are sold to people in Australia, the UK, and the USA as the “herb root hatha jodi” on legitimate websites). Conservationists are worried these uses will eventually destroy populations worldwide.

Which of the following Australian animals is a marsupial carnivore?

When cane toads were introduced to get rid of the beetle problem, quoll numbers declined from poisoning. In addition to amphibians, quolls eat birds, eggs, rabbits, small wallabies, gliders, possums, and even dead animals.

Which of the following is an Australian species, listed as extinct, that was last officially seen in captivity in the 1900s?

After years of paying bounties for pelts, the Tasmanian government listed the Tasmanian tiger as protected July 10, 1936. The last confirmed Tasmanian tiger died in a zoo a few months later because it was accidentally locked out of its shelter on a cold night. Dingoes are thought to be responsible for the Tasmanian tiger’s decline on the mainland.

Which animal is the Australian Easter icon that replaces rabbits?

Rabbits are an invasive species in Australia and contribute to declining bilby populations by competing with them for food. Conservationists have begun reintroducing the animals to habitats cleansed of feral cats and invasive foxes.

What kind of animal is a wombat?

The wombat’s pouch faces backward. The rump of a wombat is made primarily out of cartilage, making it difficult for predators to bite.

Which of the following Australian reptiles is NOT a snake?

The legless lizard is not a snake, although they resemble them because their legs are small or undeveloped. Also called flap-footed lizards or scaly-footed lizards, they can be distinguished from snakes by visible ear holes on the sides of their head and fleshy, non-forked tongues.

Which of the following is a real tree-dwelling Australian animal (the rest are fakes)?

Tree kangaroos are extremely clumsy on the ground but move agilely in trees. They can jump to other trees up to 30 feet below them (9 m) and can land on the ground from heights of 60 feet without being hurt (18 m).

Which Australian reptile can flatten its body and puff out its neck when threatened?

Bearded dragons have been sold in U. S. pet stores since the 1980s from American breeders. It has been illegal to transport them out of Australia since the 1960s.

Which is a type of Australian marsupial anteater?

Although they are considered marsupial anteaters, they almost entirely eat termites. In addition, they have more of a tiny skin flap than an actual pouch.

What kind of animal is a thorny devil?

The thorny devil has moisture-attracting microgrooves between thorns on its back. Dew from plants runs down its body as it walks through them and is drawn to its mouth. They only eat ants and can eat 3,000 at each meal.

Which Australian spider is in the same genus (Latrodectus) as the black widow spider?

Although the redback spider bite is not as fatal as the funnel-web spider, it is estimated 2,000 people are bitten by the redback each year, with up to 500 requiring anti-venom treatment. In contrast, the funnel web only bites about 30-40 people each year with only about 100 anti-venom treatments needed since it was first developed in 1980. Although other venomous spiders are found in Australia, redbacks and funnel-webs are the only ones who have been responsible for human deaths.

Which of the following Australian animals is a flightless bird?

The cassowary is generally reclusive and shy, but signs in Australia stating “Be Cass-o-wary” should be taken seriously. These birds have a 5-inch claw (13 cm) on each foot that can easily open a human stomach or throat. They have been known to break bones and cause serious cuts.

Which Australian reptile gives birth to live young instead of eggs?

Most skinks give birth to live, placental-bound babies. The young eat their placenta and shed their skin before permanently leaving the nest a few days later.

Which of the following Australian animals has fur?

"I have often thought that the image of myself, large and flabby, astride a bicycle with a quokka on my left ear and the quokka’s tail in my left hand would have made a splendid photograph. The sort of thing Time magazine would pay a lot for..." –Kenneth Cook, journalist, Wombat Revenge

What kind of animal is an echidna?

The echidna’s snout allows it to detect electricity. Research has shown their receptors can detect electrical field strengths down to 1.8 mV/cm.

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