Do You Know If This Australian Animal Is Harmless or Deadly?

By: Sameena Mughal

Do You Know If This Australian Animal Is Harmless or Deadly?
Image: Marco Simoni/Cultura/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Large and mysterious, Australia is an "island continent" that is a source of curiosity for many the world over. It is one of the southernmost regions in the world and covered with a desert-like area that is commonly called the Outback. Its great distance and wide, dry landscape add to its mystery. The animals of this land have piqued the interests of visitors for decades. Australia's diverse animal population make it even more unique.

The native animals of Australia are only found there. The continent has a variety of mammals, snakes, fish and birds. A tremendous variety of creatures can be found only on the land and in the waters of Australia.

The variety of animals that inhabit Australia make it an attractive destination for animal lovers worldwide. Australia boasts some of the most unusual species in the world. For example, the platypus is one of the few mammals in the world that lays eggs. Many of the bird species can only be found on this continent.  The snakes that live there are some of the deadliest in the world. As a matter of fact, out of the 25 most poisonous snake species in the world, Australia has 21.

Take a look at the images we've put together for you, and see if you can tell the most deadly from the harmless. See how much of an Australian animal expert you are! Have fun!

Great White Would this great white shark let you jump over it?
Harmless
Deadly
If they get close enough to land, great white sharks have no problem attacking people. This marine predator can reach almost 20 feet long, so it's not a good idea to try to out swim it!

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Thorny Devil Should you run for cover if you see a thorny devil?
Harmless
The thorny devil looks like a cross between a dinosaur and a dragon, so you would think it's formidable and to take cover. But it's actually content eating as many ants as possible, which it consumes a few thousand of on a daily basis.
Deadly

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Kookaburra Should you fear the call of the kookaburra?
Harmless
When a Kookaburra makes its call at sunrise or sunset, it sounds like a person laughing. These birds are so used to humans they have no problem being your neighbor in the Australian suburbs.
Deadly

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Western Australian Tiger Snake Can you tussle with a tiger snake?
Harmless
Deadly
Tiger snakes are not the tiger lilies of the snake world. Although they try to avoid confrontation, If they feel threatened, they will aggressively defend themselves. Their venom is extremely toxic to humans.

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inland taipan Should you go outward when you see the inland taipan?
Harmless
Deadly
Although is has the most venom of any snake in the world, the inland taipan is not an aggressive snake looking for humans to eat. It's actually on the shyer side and lives in the more remote regions of the Australian outback.

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Koala Bear Do you need to watch yourself around this big-headed marsupial?
Harmless
Koalas are vegetarian tree dwellers that spend most of their lives eating and sleeping. When they are not munching low-nutrient eucalyptus leaves, they're saving valuable energy by sleeping around 20 hours a day.
Deadly

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Redback Spider Can a red-back spider cause damage?
Harmless
Deadly
Red-back spider bites are a common occurrence during an Australian summer. The females are the ones who cause the most damage, but since they don't leave their webs often, humans don't have to be on the lookout.

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kangaroo Should you walk away slowly from this pouched jumping-bean?
Harmless
Deadly
Kangaroos are one of the signature animals of Australia. While not predators, from 2000-2010, the jumpers were responsible for 18 deaths by causing car accidents. Also, they have a pretty mean kick that can disembowel their opponent.

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Saltwater Crocodile Do you think this "saltie" crocodile would be salty with you?
Harmless
Deadly
Saltwater crocodiles are among the deadliest creatures on the planet. It's no bark and all bite, even for humans. It ambushes potential victims from under the water's surface and drowns them.

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Sydney Funnel Web Spider Is this a friendly spider?
Harmless
Deadly
Of all the spiders in Australia, the Sydney funnel-web spider is thought to be the deadliest. The venom can kill a human, but since an antivenom was developed a death hasn't been reported in over 37 years.

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Platypus Could this egg-laying mammal hurt you?
Harmless
The platypus is an unusual animal with a bill and webbed feet like a duck. It is a mammal, but it has odd characteristics like laying eggs and having venom, which isn't deadly to people but causes excruciating pain.
Deadly

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Box Jellyfish Would it be fun to tangle with this jellyfish shaped like a cube?
Harmless
Deadly
The box jellyfish may look soft and airy, but it's anything but. Its body comes with 60 tentacles carrying millions of stinging cells that can kill a human. The sting is painful and could cause a heart attack.

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Echidna Could this prickly animal be dangerous?
Harmless
Although it looks similar to a porcupine or hedgehog, the echidna is unique because it lays eggs. It also stands out because its spines are really rigid hairs. They are shy animals and tend to live alone.
Deadly

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eastern brown snake Do you think you could picnic with this snake?
Harmless
Deadly
Not your friendly garden snake, the eastern brown snake is the number-one killer snake in Australia. They are not mild-mannered by any means and will strike quickly when threatened.

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Red-Bellied Black Snake Could you curl up with this red-bellied black snake?
Harmless
Deadly
You can find the red-bellied black snake in the cities of Australia like Sydney. It will avoid humans, if possible, but if it gets into conflict with one its bite can threaten the nervous system and cause a blood-clotting illness.

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Dingo Is a dingo's bark worse than its bite?
Harmless
Dingoes can be found all over Australia, but most live far enough away from humans in the Australian outback to cause any harm. They're more of a danger to sheep and other animals that live on a farm.
Deadly

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Spotted Quoll Could you cuddle a quoll?
Harmless
The quoll population is dwindling to the point where they're either endangered or near threatened. Since they're slightly larger than a guinea pig, some people think they should be kept as pets to grow their numbers.
Deadly

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Tasmanian Devil Do you know if the Tasmanian devil's screech is worse than its bite?
Harmless
Mostly found in the state of Tasmania, the Tasmanian devil's claim to fame is its scream that could rival a banshee's. As scary as that screech can be, the animal itself is not a danger to humans.
Deadly

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mulga snake Can you get close to this king snake?
Harmless
Deadly
The mulga snake or king brown snake is one of the heavier snakes of Australia and can produce a lot of venom in a single bite, over triple the amount of a tiger snake. They bite with enthusiasm, sometimes chewing on victims.

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Wombat Would you have to combat with a wombat?
Harmless
Australia is the only place in the world you can find a wombat. The stocky herbivore is usually pretty peaceful, but if it has to defend itself, it can hide in a tunnel and kick its attacker off if it has to.
Deadly

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Blue Ringed Octopus Do you think it's a good idea to reach out and touch the blue-ringed octopus?
Harmless
Deadly
This smallish-looking sea creature may look cute with its pretty blue rings, but the blue-ringed octopus' bite is fatal. Its bite can pierce a wet suit and will kill a human swiftly.

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Numbat Is there anything to fear from this insect-eating marsupial?
Harmless
The striped and bushy-tailed numbat is not a threat to humans, but it is threatened by its natural predators, red foxes and feral cats. Less than 1,000 adult numbats live in the Australian wild.
Deadly

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Stonefish Do you wish to catch this stonefish?
Harmless
Deadly
Located in the tropics of Australia, the stonefish can come in vibrant colors, but their sting will lay a human out flat with its venom-filled spines which are so potent they can cut through rubber.

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Bull Shark Would a bull shark charge?
Harmless
Deadly
The bull shark is a powerful and aggressive predator and is not picky with the meat it eats. It will devour other sharks, stingrays and dolphins. If it gets close to freshwater, it will eat cattle and the dogs and people who herd them.

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Frilled Lizard Do you have to watch yourself around this "frilled dragon?"
Harmless
The frill-necked lizard or the "frilled dragon" gets its name from the way its skin drapes around its neck like ruffles. It's a reptile that lives most of its life in trees, so it poses no real threat to humans.
Deadly

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honeybee Is the Australian honeybee sweet?
Harmless
Deadly
There are some research scientists who say that the Australian honeybee's sting can actually be more potent than a spider's bite. However, since each sting imparts such a tiny amount of toxin, they're not a huge danger. Their venom can cause anaphylactic shock in people who are allergic.

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Irukandji Jellyfish Can you gel with an Irukandji jellyfish?
Harmless
Deadly
The Irukandji jellyfish is the smallest jellyfish on the planet, but the small size doesn't make it less deadly. If a person gets stung by one, it could lead to a brain hemorrhage.

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Quokka Could you get along with this miniature kangaroo?
Harmless
A native of Western Australia, the quirky quokka is the opposite of dangerous to people. It is very friendly and curious. It has actually been called "the happiest animal in the world."
Deadly

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Tiger Shark Could you swim with a tiger shark?
Harmless
Deadly
A tiger shark can reach almost 10 feet long. Since it doesn't hunt or scavenge in the open ocean, it makes its home in shallow waters making it easier to have contact with humans and do a lot of damage.

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Blue-Tongued Lizard Do you think you could fare well with a blue tongue lizard?
Harmless
This lizard stands out from the crowd because of its blue tongue. It is not a danger to humans, but it can sometimes be mistaken for snakes due to its little legs that are easy to miss.
Deadly

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Textile Cone Snail Is this a shell you can collect?
Harmless
Deadly
A type of sea snail, certain species of cone shell have a spear-like tooth that will shoot a venom that spreads quickly. It can affect the muscles and breathing. It can lead to death in some cases.

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Bull Ant Can a bull ant harm you?
Harmless
Deadly
One of the largest ants in the world, the bull ant has a long history that is close to 50 million years long. Today, their venom rivals an Australian honeybees and can lead to death if enough bites are delivered.

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wedge-tailed eagle Is a wedge-tailed eagle deadly?
Harmless
The wedge-tailed eagle is one of the largest eagles worldwide and the largest predator bird in all of Australia. It's a hunting bird that mostly hunts rabbits but has been known to hunt lizards.
Deadly

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Mouse Spider Do you think a mouse spider is timid?
Harmless
Deadly
Don't let the mouse part fool you. A mouse spider's venom can be about as lethal as a funnel-web spider's. If a human is bitten, the same antivenom can be used to treat mouse spider bite.

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Goanna Would you have to monitor this lizard?
Harmless
The Australian goanna is a sunbathing lizard that likes to lounge all day. They are hunters and eat other animals like snakes and other lizards. They coexist with humans and are common in the outback.
Deadly

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superb fairy-wren Is the superb fairy-wren superbly scary?
Harmless
Superb fairy-wrens are similar to peacocks in that the males have vivid coloring for mating season and females are a brown color. It's a small bird the size of a hummingbird and not a threat to humans.
Deadly

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Long-nosed bandicoot Do you think a bandicoot is more like a bandit?
Deadly
Harmless
The bandicoot has a distinctive look with its features that resemble a rat's. Like the kangaroo, they are marsupials and harmless. They're generally small and mostly eat insects and plants.

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Dugong Do you think this sea creature is safe?
Harmless
The dugong is a cousin of the manatee and steers clear of human beings. They are large animals and can be as much as 10 feet long. They are referred to as "sea cows" because they feed on seagrass.
Deadly

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Brown Recluse Should you avoid a recluse spider?
Harmless
Deadly
It's called a recluse spider for a reason. It lives in remote areas, making it less dangerous to humans. But its venom is so toxic that it is flesh-eating, leading to death in some cases.

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Cassowary Should you be wary of a cassowary?
Harmless
Deadly
A cassowary bird is a fruit eater but does not like outsiders in its area. This dinosaur descendant will defend it territory, and their middle claw is like a knife. Still, it's only deadly if you bother it. It's sometimes called "the world's most dangerous bird."

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