Quiz about Killers Down Under
Quiz about Killers Down Under

Killers Down Under Trivia Quiz


Here are some interesting (and surprising!) facts about the dangerous animals in Australia.

A multiple-choice quiz by Bheth. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
Bheth
Time
3 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
369,951
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
423
Last 3 plays: stephedm (10/10), Guest 104 (3/10), Guest 101 (7/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Can cane toad (Rhinella marina) venom kill humans?

Yes
No

2. Which shark, with the scientific name of Carcharhinus leucas, is generally considered to be the most dangerous to humans? Hint

Tiger shark
Nurse shark
White pointer shark (called the great white shark in the U.S.)
Bull shark

3. In which of these behaviors do Australian estuarine crocodiles (salties) NOT indulge? Hint

Burying food in the ground
Guarding eggs from predators
Climbing trees
Chirping

4. Has the Irukandji jellyfish (Carukia barnesi) caused more deaths in Australia than the Australian box jellyfish (Chironex Fleckeri)?

Yes
No

5. What Australian snake causes the most number of fatalities? Hint

Taipan
Eastern brown snake
Death adder
Tiger snake

6. Is the brown recluse spider the deadliest spider in Australia?

Yes
No

7. What is the name of the toxin found in the blue-lined octopus? Hint

Tetrodotoxin
Grayanotoxin
Jello
Phoratoxin

8. Which of the following insects kills the most people in Australia each year? Hint

Funnel-web spider
Giant Gippsland earthworm
Scorpion
European honey bee

9. The deadly stonefish, feared by swimmers and divers, is responsible for more than five deaths in Australia each year.

True
False

10. What non-human, non-insect animal is related to more human deaths in Australia than any other animal? Hint

Mako shark
Horse
Russel viper
Mouse spider


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Can cane toad (Rhinella marina) venom kill humans?

Answer: Yes

There have been human deaths resulting from the ingestion of cane toad toxin. The toxin produced by the cane toad can interfere with normal blood pressure, breathing, and heart rhythms. Ingesting the toxin can cause paralysis, salivation, vomiting, blisters, and sometimes, death, although this is rare.

The large parotid glands behind the cane toad's ears and the smaller ones along its back produce a mixture of toxic chemicals called bufotoxin. One of the components of bufotoxin is bufotenin, a hallucinogen which is a class 1 drug in Australia, right up there with heroin and marijuana.

Since the amount of bufotenin in bufotoxin is very small compared to the other toxins, one would have to lick a lot of toad goo to experience the mild hallucinogenic effects of the bufotenin. Unfortunately for the people who try it, they get a walloping dose of all the other toxins, and this can be deadly, especially for those with a small body weight. Rather a large price to pay for a very mild high that lasts less than an hour.
2. Which shark, with the scientific name of Carcharhinus leucas, is generally considered to be the most dangerous to humans?

Answer: Bull shark

At the cusp of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, there were only about two fatalities a year due to shark attacks in Australia. Did you know that over 70% of people attacked by sharks live to tell the tale? True.

Sometimes it is impossible to know which type of shark is responsible for an attack (especially in fatalities where the body is not recovered), and that is one reason for some disagreement between authorities. But most agree that the bull shark is more dangerous to humans than any other shark.

Bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) are omnivorous; they will eat anything. They are also one of the only sharks that can live for long periods in fresh water. They have been recorded 4000 km away from the ocean in the Amazon River system, and Lake Nicaragua, Central America, is a known breeding ground. This is a fish that hangs out in murky, fresh water, rivers and lakes... just where humans enjoy a good swim. Unfortunately, these sharks enjoy a good human, and they don't need fava beans and a nice Chianti...
3. In which of these behaviors do Australian estuarine crocodiles (salties) NOT indulge?

Answer: Burying food in the ground

Estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) will sometimes save food to eat later, hiding it in mangrove or underwater locations, but they don't bury food on land.

Female estuarine crocodiles, unlike their freshwater cousins, guard their nests, protecting the eggs from predators. Both the males and females will climb trees to regulate body temperature and survey their surroundings, and baby crocs make a chirping sound soon after they hatch.
4. Has the Irukandji jellyfish (Carukia barnesi) caused more deaths in Australia than the Australian box jellyfish (Chironex Fleckeri)?

Answer: No

In the twentieth century there were more than sixty verified fatalities in Australia caused by the Australian box jellyfish; the Irukandji had been implicated in fewer than five. Of course, since the lethal nature of the Irukandji has only been recognized in the late twentieth century, some deaths attributed to the box jellyfish may have been due to the Irukandji.

The Australian box jellyfish hangs out in the same area that swimmers do. They like shallow water with no sharp reefs, and they can tolerate the lower levels of salinity found at the mouths of rivers and streams. Even when washed up on the shore and stone dead, the tentacles are still dangerous and can deliver a sting.

To help a victim of box jelly venom, drench the stung area with plain vinegar for at least 30 seconds (sometimes you can find vinegar stored on beaches near jellyfish warning signs, and taking a bottle with you to the beach is an excellent idea). Most box jellyfish human fatalities result from cardiac arrest or shock, brought on by multiple stings and/or low body weight. Antivenom and/or CPR can save the lives of severely stung victims.
5. What Australian snake causes the most number of fatalities?

Answer: Eastern brown snake

You'd think it would have to be the "death adder", wouldn't you? All the snakes listed have caused fatalities, but the eastern brown is responsible for more than half of all fatal bites. Still, between 2000 and 2010, that only worked out to less than one per year!

Most snake bites in humans happen in one of two ways:
1. The human is walking around where there are venomous snakes, not wearing boots or other protective foot gear, and accidentally steps on the snake (and the snake doesn't care for it).
2. The human picks up the snake to kill it or relocate it, and the snake doesn't care for that either. There are some authorities who state that over half of all fatal snake bites happen this way!
6. Is the brown recluse spider the deadliest spider in Australia?

Answer: No

The Sydney funnel-web spider is probably responsible for most recorded deaths from spider venom. However, the last recorded death in the twentieth century was in 1981; since then, there is readily-available antivenom.

A bite from a brown recluse spider (native to the Americas and not to Australia at all) can cause a nasty wound, but even in the United States where these spiders are commonly found, as of 2014 there has been only one confirmed death from the bite of a brown recluse spider. A 63-year-old man was bitten on the back of the neck, and did not seek treatment until it was too late.

Most spiders will only bite a human in self-defense, and most of the time this is due to the human rolling over on them or otherwise accidentally threatening the spider.
7. What is the name of the toxin found in the blue-lined octopus?

Answer: Tetrodotoxin

The blue-lined octopus is the most common member of the blue-ringed octopuses found from Southern Queensland to southern New South Wales. These octopuses are brown in color, and only flash their distinctive blue markings when disturbed.

The powerful toxin carried by these creatures is tetrodotoxin, a strong neurotoxin also found in pufferfish and some other fishes, some toads, the rough-skinned newt, several species of sea star, and others. In humans this toxin causes paralysis of voluntary muscles, such as the diaphragm and intercostal muscles (which can stop the person breathing). It also interferes with the regulation of heart rate. This is the same toxin that scientist Wade Davis theorized might be the effective ingredient in voodoo zombie potions, since an affected person can appear to be dead for several days.

Even though their toxin is powerful, the blue-lined octopus is small and very shy. Most stings occur when a human tries to pick one up (sound familiar?). Children, because of their low body weight, are particularly vulnerable to the fatal effects of this toxin, so must be warned not to play with the pretty blue-ringed octopuses.

Grayanotoxin is found in plants of the family Ericaceae (such as rhododendrons) and also in honey made by bees who feed on these plants.
Phoratoxin is the toxin found in mistletoe.
Jello is a toxin fed to patients in hospitals. (This is, of course, a joke.)
8. Which of the following insects kills the most people in Australia each year?

Answer: European honey bee

Did you spot the trap? Spiders, scorpions, and worms (even the giant Gippsland earthworm, the largest recorded specimen coming in at a whopping four meters!) are not insects.

Several people per year in Australia die from European honey bee stings after going into anaphylactic shock (a severe allergic reaction). If you have an allergy, or even if you are worried that you may have an allergy to bees, you can carry an epinephrine auto-injector pen in your first aid kit. These auto-injectors save many lives each year.
9. The deadly stonefish, feared by swimmers and divers, is responsible for more than five deaths in Australia each year.

Answer: False

Most sources state that (as of 2014) there has been only one confirmed death from stonefish venom... in 1915. Some others say two deaths. I think you'll agree, that is not worth worrying about!

The stonefishes (fish of the family Synanceiidae), are some of the most venomous fish in the world. They are called stonefishes because of their ability to use camouflage to resemble stones. They wait, disguised, and let prey come to them. Humans receive a dose of the potent venom from the spines of the fish when they are swimming or scuba diving and accidentally step on the fish, or... you guessed it... pick it up. These fish can survive out of water for over an hour, so picking one up on the beach can be just as dangerous.

There are two things you can do to lessen the effects of this excruciatingly painful sting. Receiving a course of antivenom (the second-most common antivenom given in Australia) is the most effective countermeasure, but until you can get to hospital, apply hot (hotter than 45C (113F)) water to the affected area. Hot water can destroy stonefish venom. There are some reports that the application of vinegar can also lessen the pain.
10. What non-human, non-insect animal is related to more human deaths in Australia than any other animal?

Answer: Horse

In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, about twenty people a year died from accidents related to horse riding, making the horse one of the deadliest creatures in Australia!
Source: Author Bheth

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor Tizzabelle before going online.
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Mar 17 2023 : stephedm: 10/10
Mar 04 2023 : Guest 104: 3/10
Feb 09 2023 : Guest 101: 7/10
Feb 05 2023 : ozzz2002: 8/10

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