Skip to main content
Unit of study_

Science of Australia's Deadly Animals - OLET1664

Year - 2020

Australia's biodiversity is globally celebrated for its unique beauty and distinctiveness. Australia also has a reputation for being home to some of the world's deadliest animals. This reputation, sometimes well earned, has created an aura of danger and mystique around Australia's native fauna. The purpose of this unit is to provide students with an appreciation of these animals and the skills to investigate organisms perceived as risks to humans. Completing modules on snakes, spiders, crocodiles, sharks, octopuses, jellyfish, insects, and ticks, you will assess and evaluate the evidence addressing key questions: Just how dangerous are Australian animals? How much of their deadly reputation is myth? Why, and how, do people get killed by these extraordinary animals? How well do we estimate the risks they pose? How does understanding of the science of how these animals operate help us manage the dangers they pose? You will learn about how the threats posed by different animals are a function of their behaviour, ecology, morphology and evolutionary history. You will also identify medical responses to these threats, examining the latest research and investigating how these advances have changed our perceptions of the risk posed by these animals. You will also reflect on the role these animals play in Australian culture, looking how they have been portrayed historically and how they are represented today. By completing this unit you will develop a deeper understanding of the evidence, knowledge gaps, and misconceptions that are behind the science of our most misunderstood animal groups; those that pose a threat to us.

Onl ine

8 x online quizzes (50%); reflective exercise (20%); video presentation (30%)


Faculty: Science

Intensive September

24 Aug 2020

Department/School: Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Study Mode: Online
Census Date: 11 Sep 2020
Unit of study level: Junior
Credit points: 2.0
EFTSL: 0.042
Available for study abroad and exchange: Yes
Faculty/department permission required? No
More details
Unit of Study coordinator: Dieter Hochuli
HECS Band: 2
Courses that offer this unit

Non-award/non-degree study If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student. Cross-institutional study If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to undertake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.