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



By: Sameena Mughal

6 Min Quiz

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!

Would this great white shark let you jump over it?

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!


Should you run for cover if you see a thorny devil?

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.


Should you fear the call of the kookaburra?

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.


Can you tussle with a tiger snake?

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.


Should you go outward when you see the inland taipan?

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.


Do you need to watch yourself around this big-headed marsupial?

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.


Can a red-back spider cause damage?

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.


Should you walk away slowly from this pouched jumping-bean?

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.


Do you think this "saltie" crocodile would be salty with you?

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.


Is this a friendly spider?

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.


Could this egg-laying mammal hurt you?

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.


Would it be fun to tangle with this jellyfish shaped like a cube?

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.


Could this prickly animal be dangerous?

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.


Do you think you could picnic with this snake?

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.


Could you curl up with this red-bellied black snake?

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.


Is a dingo's bark worse than its bite?

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.


Could you cuddle a quoll?

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.


Do you know if the Tasmanian devil's screech is worse than its bite?

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.


Can you get close to this king snake?

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.


Would you have to combat with a wombat?

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.


Do you think it's a good idea to reach out and touch the blue-ringed octopus?

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.


Is there anything to fear from this insect-eating marsupial?

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.


Do you wish to catch this stonefish?

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.


Would a bull shark charge?

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.


Do you have to watch yourself around this "frilled dragon?"

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.


Is the Australian honeybee sweet?

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.


Can you gel with an Irukandji jellyfish?

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.


Could you get along with this miniature kangaroo?

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."


Could you swim with a tiger shark?

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.


Do you think you could fare well with a blue tongue lizard?

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.


Is this a shell you can collect?

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.


Can a bull ant harm you?

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.


Is a wedge-tailed eagle deadly?

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.


Do you think a mouse spider is timid?

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.


Would you have to monitor this lizard?

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.


Is the superb fairy-wren superbly scary?

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.


Do you think a bandicoot is more like a bandit?

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.


Do you think this sea creature is safe?

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.


Should you avoid a recluse spider?

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.


Should you be wary of a cassowary?

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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