Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

I am Australian. I have noticed online that people who are not Australian seem to work under the assumption that this is an island of death, where every step you take you run the risk of being bitten, stung, impaled or eaten alive by a murderous wild creature. I am here today to tell you that they are only half right.

Yes, under certain circumstances (and in certain places) there are some animals that you simply do not want to fuck with. Red Back Spiders. Brown Snakes. Anything that lives in the water. But focusing on that half of the narrative means you're missing out on the other, cooler half of what happens when a continent drifts for millions of years and grows a bunch of its own weird-arse animals.

Here, then, are animals that may hurt you, but will not kill you, ranked in order of...I dunno, how badly I want each one as a pet.


Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

Kangaroos are our national icon. They are also shit. The worst. They're pests. They may look it, but they're not cuddly. The longer you look at one, the more you start noticing how gross and weird and sinewy their legs are. Like someone stuck a fox onto some giant, raw chicken wings.

WILL IT KILL YOU? Not directly. They will attack and give you a good punch-up if you annoy them (especially the big Red Kangaroos), but they won't seek you out to kill you. They do, however, kill people indirectly by jumping out in front of cars at night. Hence their place at #10.


Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

They have very cool haircuts. And can talk to humans. Almost the perfect bird.

WILL IT KILL YOU? Haha, nope.


Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

The waters off the coast of Australia are full of things specifically designed to end your life, but not everything is a killer. The Port Jackson shark, which grows to around 4-5 feet long, generally just chills at the bottom of the ocean, and has one of the most amazing eggs on the planet, which looks like it was laid by an alien that would grow up to destroy Tokyo.

Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

WILL IT KILL YOU? The last recorded "attack" by a Port Jackson shark came in 2011. Its teeth didn't even break the guy's skin.


Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

The Sugar Glider is a possum. Now, to Americans, a possum is a shrieking creature from the depths of hell. Australian possums are different. They're like squirrels, only noisier. And this one can fly! Well, glide. And it's super cute.

WILL IT KILL YOU? With those big soft eyes, maybe.


Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

A Quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos.

WILL IT KILL YOU? Why are you even asking this question.


Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

Koalas sleep for 18-20 hours a day, every day. They, like almost every other animal on this list, look like Pokemon.

WILL IT KILL YOU? No. They will very occasionally attack humans if they feel especially threatened, but with 20 hours of sleep to get through in a day, they can't be bothered finishing you off then feasting on your bones.


Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

As the breeding season approaches, wedge-tailed eagle pairs perch close to each other and preen one another. They also perform dramatic aerobatic display flights together over their territory. Sometimes, the male dives down at breakneck speed towards his partner. As he pulls out of his dive and rises just above her on outstretched wings, she either ignores him or turns over to fly upside down, stretching out her talons. The pair may then perform a loop-the-loop.

WILL IT KILL YOU? You? No. Any other living land animal on the Australian continent? Most surely.


Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

It's like a mouse, kinda? Only fat, like a pig. And it lives underground. And does square poops (literally). Tamer ones love cuddles. And when attacked, it doesn't fight runs into its burrow head-first, protecting itself by blocking the hole with its teeth-proof butt. I did not make that last bit up.



Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

What the fuck even is a platypus. When the British first took some back to the Old World, everyone thought they were taking the piss, that it was some elaborate colonial hoax. Nope. We really do have duck rabbits who live in the water and are mammals.

WILL IT KILL YOU? No. But it can hurt you. Not with its bill, but with its barbs. Yes, it has barbs (you can see them protruding from their flippers), and they're venomous. A venomous mammal. Australia.


Australian Animals That Won't Kill You, Ranked

LOOK AT THIS THING. I swear this is a real animal, and that this is its actual name. It's a Pokemon come to life. It's a kangaroo that lives in trees. It is cute as hell. I want one real bad.

WILL IT KILL YOU? Get outta here.


    I was once swooped by a magpie so bad a contact lens popped out.

      I once (when I was about 10) was staying with family on the gold coast in the september school holidays. I made the mistake of cutting through a park to go to the beach, and had a magpie not only swoop me, but sit on my shoulder and start pecking at my face until I got far enough away from it's tree that it left me a lone... left a bunch of nice scratches on my cheek!

      i had one pierce my skull when i was 5 and walking home from the school bus stop to my house (a distance of around 100m). ended up getting a few stitches and we had to get the cops to come around and shoot the ones around house because they were attacking the other residents of the caravan park as well

      Fun fact: Magpies will actually have certain people they don't like and will swoop them more viciously. You can get in their good books by leaving food out for them. We have two in our front yard that will come sit with me near the porch but go apesh1t at passers by :)

        Fuck that!
        I will not be ruled by these flying gods of death...


      Plovers man... fucking Plovers.

    Wombats are the best

    But are they 2 or 3?

      i think wombats are 3nd on the list

        haha best answer!!

        And to relate it back to gaming - see if you can hunt down an arcade game called MOCAP BOXING from Konami (yeah them, when they used to be cool)

        On the ranking page they have (I kid you not)


        In what planet is the Champion not considered in 1st place!! (we had the Korean version at my joint, but I assume the same error appears in Japanese and Asian releases)

          thats amazing. during the eurovision a similar thing happened with one of the countries being in 23th position or something like that.
          and this is all i could think of at the time

          When you hear about the "Number 1 ranked fighter" they're actually second best. The champion is outside the rankings. So you have Champion then 1st ranked contender, 2nd, etc.

          "Mocap Boxing" sounded super dumb until I looked it up and saw the cabinet. Now I want to play it.

            Play it, its fun

      I was gonna make an awesome wisecrack about in Australia 3 comes before 2 but then he fixed the post and ruined my fun. Awww.

    Does anyone else remember when Kotaku used to be a game news website?

      Shut up. no one cares about your opinion. This article has a Tree Kangaroo. Your argument is invalid.

        You're right. I'm sorry. I didn't see the Tree Kangaroo.

      What's games?

      Remember when gaming wasn't such SERIOUS BIZNESS that people could have a bit of fun, go a little off-topic, or just generally have a good time?

      Come on, man. It's cool. Live a little.

        Gaming is a mega $$$ business, and it should be treated seriously but I know that's not your point. I'm amazed that I'm copping so much heat for this view.

        @MarkSerrels stood at the front of the PAX auditorium in 2014 and declared himself a journalist. I think, for the most part, that label has suited him well. Kotaku AU, moreso since Alex Walker came on board, have probably led the charge in quality writing for video games, certainly when compared against Kotaku USA.

        Allure Media have two other sites - one of which (Lifehacker) would have been far more appropriate than Kotaku for this article (but even then, I think BuzzFeed have pretty much cornered the market here).

        Even IGN - the most popcorn, unfriendly site to visit for mobile data and read-while-taking-a-shit - keeps things loosely in the borders of 'entertainment'.

        I'm simply lamenting over having no dedicated gaming news sites anymore. I think it's a fair cop.

          I guess you're getting a lot of flak for it because historically, every time someone posts something interesting but ultimately only tangentially gaming related, there's has a small group of people who are Mad On The Internet about it. So even if you didn't mean to, you said a thing that was going to catch heat because some buttlords came in before you and farted up the place saying pretty much verbatim what you did.

          Kotaku is mostly a gaming site. It really hasn't ever been a Gaming Only site. there has always been a bit of pop culture mixed in. There have always been articles about anime, board games, cosplay, Japan being generally strange as hell, and even politics when it effects the gaming world.

      I agree. And also this article is wrong - the real winner is the baby western pygmy possum

    This is by far the best "ranked" list kotaku has ever produced.

      It's nice to actually have a description/reason attached for a change, instead of just a number.

        YES, this is great.

      No Echidna.... List fails

        Echidnas look like they should be able to kill you. Even if just by being thrown at your face.

        For some reason I can't stop laughing at Firefox desperately trying to correct "Echidna" to be "Enchilada".

          Yeah I had to double check

        There's a special list for Echidna's on which each head of their penis takes one place.

        Seriously, they have a 4-headed penis.

    Now that I think about it, I'm surprised they aren't any noticeably Australian Pokemon.


        you forgot to add in the

    Only male platpuses have venomous barbs and they are off the rear ankles. The "barbs" the rookie author says are venomous are just regular old claws.

      Not sure I would have ranked the platypus as 2. Cute yes but the venom produces long lasting and "excruciating" pain that is not relieved by conventional painkillers

      I've seen someone in hospital after being stuck by a platy spur and there was a lot of screaming despite a truck load of analgesia. Not nice at all.

        Only males, though.

        I have been swimming with a tame female. She enjoyed climbing on my back, being tickled on the belly, and swimming in loops between my legs.

        Belly tickles are unbelievable. Pretty sure I died. I'm now dead from a platypus but in a good way.

    Fun Fact: a wombat has the strength to rip your rear axle off a moving car. True Story.

      Even better true story: They've done it to trucks apparently.

      Also pretty sure their teeth can pierce skin (and they are known biters)

      Was going to say this. they're not all that safe at all if they aren't tame and some I've been around have been pretty aggressive, the huge numbers of them in Kangaroo valley are pretty aggressive if you annoy them. Still bloody nice animals though.

    HAHAHA You think these can't kill you...

    "Won't kill" and "Waiting orderly in line, biding their time for their turn" are two entirely different things my friend...

    In all seriousness, Kanga's have killed over 18 people so far in recorded history and injured potentially hundreds. Just sayin'. :)

    Last edited 25/02/16 11:53 am

      About 10 years ago, a friend of my gran was driving down south of WA, was mid-afternoon. Hit a Kanga, it went over the bonnet and through the windshield, clawed her and the passenger to death trying to get out before dying of its own injuries. Does that count for two of your tally? Or go into the motor vehicle category..........

        More than likely, found the stat on a website that was updated as of last year. That's awful to hear, condolences on that :\

        Here's the site:

        They're a savage animal when injured, cornered or provoked, they've been compared to enraged lions in the past. We watched a big red, around 15 years ago, through binoculars (no way I was going near it) out near Isa, as it went to town thumping a car wreck, trying to get at a smaller roo that was hiding inside it. It was just kicking in the panels on the wreck. Unbelievable how powerful it was.

        Last edited 25/02/16 12:41 pm

    this is list has quite a few animals on that will kill you. Kangaroos, Koalas, Platypus and Wedge Tail Eagle are all extremely capable of killing a grown man let alone a baby or small child. Hell one of mates who is a paraglider gets attacked regularly by Wedge Tails while in the air. A Roo is capable of not only disembowling but also drowning your arse. PLatypus has a very potent venom that can cause extreme pain and kill if they not handled in a correct way. And koalas can be extremely vicious.

    for bonus points Wombats love to dogs and cats that cchase them into their burrows buy crushing their skulls, they also fucking great acclerateration and can run at upto 40kph so if one charges you you best get out the way fast

      Just incidentally the Platypus's venom is known to be incredibly painful but it's non-lethal to humans (but severely lethal to animals). There's never been a recorded fatality, though there's been plenty of recorded injuries (severely long lasting too!)

      Last edited 25/02/16 1:04 pm

      Koala and Platypus? C'mon... Just no. Never been recorded as human killers. Sure, some injuries, but FAR from capable of killing you.

      Wedge Tailed Eagles, though huge and magnificent, have never been on record as a human killers either, though I guess the exception may be indirect kills via attacking paragliders. Also never heard of that but could be proven wrong.

      Got a mate that was part of an army unit out here that had some yanks come over to demonstrate the Predator Drone (1st or 2nd generation, I think), they were trying to sell us on them.
      It's circling the area, on the ground underneath are a couple of generals (some American, some ours), a few bird colonels, some hangers on, a dozen engineers and technicals.
      Out of the clear blue a Wedgetail takes a dislike to this thing and drives it straight into the ground.

      He recons it's still one of the funniest things he'd seen in his time in service.
      Watching a yank general go completely off his trolley about the damn wildlife in our accursed country, whilst the wreck of this very expensive piece of kit smokes in front of them.

      Last edited 25/02/16 8:48 pm

    Normally an attack warrants the threat of injury that could be serious enough to result in death. So saying No they wont kill you is kind of misleading.

    A great white shark wont kill you, but in the right situation might give you a love bite that causes you to bleed out while you wave your arms frantically around in a ocean of salt water and your own bodily fluids.

      That's called killing you.

    This list is un-Australian without a Dingo. Will someone think of the babies.

      Ashamed to admit I laughed my ass-aria off at this...

    I nearly died from a drop bear attack while reading this article. Remember to look up and survive. Always be vigilant people!

      I'll add snakes to that list of things to watch out for when under trees. Had a tree snake fall from the tree on to me. I had to change my pants after that one :-( But that found fossils that could be from a drop bear of sorts.

      You know you can use Vegemite as a drop bear repellent... right?

        Just a smidge behind the ears and those bastards will leave you alone all day.

    Number 9 - Cockatoo

    WILL IT KILL YOU? Haha, nope.

    But they will swear at you. Also, these birds are the clowns of the bird kingdom. Hanging upside down from trees for shits n giggles.

      speaking of cockatoos swearing...

      And they will bite your finger damn hard if you stick your finger in their cage.... first hand experience.

    What no eastern barred bandicoot. Boo-urns

    This list is a lie.2 years ago a Koala broke into my house in the middle of the night and threatened my family with a knife,demanding all of our Eucalyptus leaves.Also,a Cockatoo burned my oldest mates house down while cackling and screeching "Who wants a cracker now bitch ?".Beware...

    Any article claiming kangaroos are harmless should include this video:

    Quolls would be my number 1.

      Hoop snakes would be close. They just roll away.

    That's a big-ass wombat! Does anyone know how big they can get?

      About that big.

      Pretty sure that's about the biggest wombat recorded. Normally they grow to about the size of a medium dog at most. A medium dog that is also a tank.

        Definitely a tank. Instant write-off if you happen to hit one with your car

    For koalas

    "WILL IT KILL YOU? No. They will very occasionally attack humans if they feel especially threatened, but with 20 hours of sleep to get through in a day, they can’t be bothered finishing you off then feasting on your bones."

    Arent the ones that ARE bothered known as drop bears?

    That's a big ass wombat!

    can a Roo Kill?
    It can Kick your plums off!

    I was wondering why the emu wasn't on the list, but then I remembered the Great Emu War

    On a semi-related note, the best description of a kangaroo I have ever heard is "giant jumping rat".

    Honestly, the absence of the Tasmanian Devil is somewhat surprising.
    It's iconic enough to have been made into a cartoon character.

    I friggin love the Quokka...

    Seriously, that animal never looks unhappy... you'd never know it was a cold, calculating, vicious predator to look at it.

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