How Much Do You Know About Killer Beasts?


J. Reinoehl

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Often we think about giant killer animals like the ones we see in movies. However, many killer animals are shorter than the average human and some are quite tiny. Are you a dangerous beast expert? Find out by taking this quiz.

Which deadly arachnid is found primarily in the Sahara and Negev deserts?

The deathstalker scorpion (Leiurus quinquestriatus) is one of the few scorpions that can kill a healthy adult. It requires large amounts of antivenom to treat the sting.


Which animal is dangerous but can also produce a product useful to humans?

It takes 1,000 stings to kill the average adult. Although a pure European bee would not attack this viciously (fewer European bees sting during hive defense), the smaller African-European hybrid does and kills on average two people per year. African bees produce less honey than European bees, but they can be used for honey production.


Which dangerous animal lives inside a shell?

Snails kill about 10,000 people each year because the snails are host to the parasite, Schistosomiasis, which they release into fresh water. Cone snails are actually venomous and can kill a human within five minutes.


Which animal uses pressure-activated spines for defense?

The stonefish captures its prey by creating a suction that pulls them into their mouths. The spines with venom are on their back and solely for defense.


Which of the following insects is the most deadly?

The Tsetse fly is the deadliest biting insect native to Africa. Their bite releases an extremely potent toxin with each sting. Tsetse flies have caused the death of an estimated half a million people.


Which of the following dangerous animals is a type of snake?

"I shaved this morning for precisely that reason. I was like, ‘Well, you never know when someone is going to clamp down on your calf and try to suck out the snake poison.’" –Margo, Paper Towns by John Green


Which of the following dangerous animals is a mammal?

Cape buffalo are shorter than 5 feet 6 inches, but they are extremely aggressive. They have killed more big game hunters in Africa than any other animal. They also have been known to ambush a hunter who has injured them.


Which animal produces a toxin used by natives for hunting?

“‘Poison!’ Grover yelped. ‘Don't let those things touch you or...’ ‘Or we'll die?’ I guessed. ‘Well...after you shrivel slowly to dust, yes.’" –Grover and Percy, Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan


Which dangerous beast sometimes attacks in groups of 100?

The Asian giant hornet kills about 40 people each year in Japan alone. It also decimates honeybee hives.


For which of the following animals would you want to use vinegar as part of treatment?

"The box jellyfish takes you into an area of what I’d call science fiction. You feel like you’ve been dipped in hot burning oil. You burst into flames." –Diana Nyad, endurance swimmer


Which of the following gives you a relatively painless bite that could paralyze you if you don’t get immediate medical help?

All sea snakes are more venomous than land snakes. Yellow bellied sea snakes will sometimes form giant floating mats of up to 1,000 individuals on the open sea, but usually humans only come in contact with a single sick sea snake that has washed up on shore.


Which venomous fish is often sold in pet stores?

Lionfish venom is not the most powerful venom in the sea, but some deaths have been reported. Even dead lionfish can sting you, so it is best to wear gloves when you are handling them.


Which of the following has a bone-crushing, venomous bite?

Komodo dragons repeatedly bite their prey, injecting venom that prevents blood from clotting and lowers blood pressure, which can cause the victim to lose consciousness. Initially, Komodo dragons only rarely attack humans, but at least two of these attacks have resulted in deaths in the past ten years.


Which animal has a painful bite but is dangerous because it carries the protozoan that causes sleeping sickness, which can be fatal without treatment?

Tse-tse flies survive only on blood, unlike mosquitoes, which have a varied diet. Tse-tse flies are also unique in that they give birth to larva instead of laying eggs.


Which animal bites you with no immediate effects, but after several hours (or even two days) you develop internal hemorrhaging that will be difficult to treat?

The boomslang is extremely shy and lives in trees, so it does not bite too many humans. The first recorded person to die from the bite was Dr. Karl Schmidt who was bitten in 1957 and didn’t believe the snake would kill him. Instead of seeking immediate medical attention, he documented the effects of the poison as it traveled through his body.


Which fish is considered a delicacy in Japan but can be deadly to humans when not carefully prepared?

On average, 30-40 people are hospitalized each year in Japan after eating the fish. Chefs who wish to obtain certification for serving the fish must train for two years and undergo a test that only two-thirds of them will pass.


Which dangerous beast carries Chagas disease?

Kissing bugs (Triatominae) not only bite in a way that most people don’t feel, but also give people Chagas disease. Chagas is asymptomatic or only causes mild flu-like symptoms during the first year of infection, but these symptoms disappear. Within 20 years, people who have the disease are up to three times as likely as those who do not to develop heart disease and die from it. At least 10,000 people die each year Chagas disease.


Which beast kills more people per year than any of the others?

The carpet viper (saw-scaled viper) kills more people each year than any other snake, and snakes in general (with 50,000 deaths caused by them each year) are only second to mosquitoes when it comes to beasts killing people. Ten percent of Nigeria’s hospital beds are usually filled with carpet viper victims.


The song “Day-O” references which deadly beast?

The Brazilian wandering spider is in the genus Phoneutria (which is from the Greek word for “murderess”). The Guinness Book of World Records lists them as the most venomous spider, and they can kill in one hour.


Which ocean beast has a venomous bite that can’t yet be treated with antivenom?

The blue-ringed octopus is only 5-8 inches long and its bite is so tiny that it is frequently painless. Minutes later, the victim experiences respiratory arrest and paralysis and must remain on life-support until the venom clears out of the body.


Which land animal spends most of its time in the water?

Although hippos only stand about 4 feet 11 inches at the shoulder, males can weigh up to three tons and run almost 20 miles per hour. Since they kill about 500 people each year, they are considered one of Africa’s most deadly animals.


Which animal generates 600 volts of electricity to stun prey or defend themselves?

Electric eels are actually knife fish. They must come to the surface to breathe air and can only stay submerged for ten minutes.


Which spider is a cousin of the black widow?

"He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them." –Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Which beast lives in a human intestine?

The tapeworm head is specialized with hooks and/ or suction cups to help it remain attached inside your intestine. They don’t have an interior gut and simply absorb the nutrients from their environment.


Which of the following dangerous animals is most likely to have a mane?

African lions only stand about four feet at the shoulder but they kill about 100 people each year in Tanzania alone. Occasionally, lone man-eaters, such as the lions of Tsavo, kill 50 people before they are killed.


Which beast kills several million people and makes hundreds of millions of people sick each year?

“It is astonishing how much worse one mosquito can be than a swarm. A swarm can be prepared against, but one mosquito takes on a personality—a hatefulness, a sinister quality of the struggle to the death.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sleeping and Waking


Which bacterium enters a spore form that protects it when boiled and produces a deadly toxin?

Bacteria were once classified as plants, but are now in a category of their own (Monera) that is neither plant nor animal. Bacillus coagulans, bifidobacterium breve, and lactobacillus acidophilus are all “good” bacteria that benefit humans.


Which beast is known to eat everything in its path?

Siafu ants are the deadliest, most aggressive army ants. These ants are completely blind but can see light and dark. Mobile humans can generally escape the ants, but the ants have killed the elderly and young.


Which animal bites first and then drags its prey under water?

“Crocodiles are easy: They try to kill and eat you. People are harder: Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first.” –Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter


Which beast is known for its laughing call?

"I am working on a new book about a boa constrictor and a litter of hyenas. The boa constrictor swallows the babies one by one, and the mother hyena dies laughing.” –E. B. White


Which deadly beast is a parasite that is picked up by humans as an egg?

Although there are many types of roundworm, most of them migrate throughout the human body during their lifetimes. Most roundworm infections occur in tropical regions such as those in Africa, but one third of American children are infected with pinworm (enterobiasis).


Which dangerous spider is red, blue, and black?

The Missulena or mouse spider has highly toxic venom. It is not as aggressive as other spiders and therefore only a few serious cases of bites from this spider have been reported.


Which of the following snakes has the most deadly venom?

In 2012, a power line worker’s body was found three hours after he stopped responding to his radio. The autopsy revealed the 57-year-old had been bitten by a taipan and died almost instantly.


Which of the following dangerous beasts is also considered an endangered species?

Tigers kill about 85 people each year in India. If a single tiger kills more than one person, government officials issue a permit so the beast can be killed.


Which of the following is the deadliest animal in Antarctica?

As more humans explore the continent over the South Pole, they discover that leopard seals are very dangerous. Kirsty Brown was attacked and dragged underwater to her death in 2003.


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