AY Honor Harmful Animals Answer Key

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Harmful Animals

Skill Level






Approval authority

South American Division

Harmful Animals AY Honor.png
Harmful Animals
Skill Level
Approval authority
South American Division
Year of Introduction


What are harmful animals?

Harmful animals do harm to humans by spreading disease, causing injury, destroying crops and goods, or otherwise causing unpleasant effects. An animal can be harmful in certain circumstances but not in others. For example bees produce tasty honey and pollinate plants but if they attack a human it hurts.


What is the difference between harmful animals and poisonous animals?

Some harmful animals are poisonous but not all poisonous animals are harmful.


Know how some harmful animals can be directly related to some epidemics and pandemics.

An epidemic (from Greek ἐπί epi "upon or above" and δῆμος demos "people") is the rapid spread of infectious disease to a large number of persons in a given population within a short period of time, usually two weeks or less. An epidemic may be restricted to one location; however, if it spreads to other countries or continents and affects a substantial number of people, it may be termed a pandemic.

Zoonosis describes the process whereby an infectious disease is transmitted between species,usually to diseases that can travel from animals to humans. They include all diseases. Many serious epidemic diseases are zoonoses which originated in animals. These include rabies, Ebola virus disease and influenza. In a systematic review of 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans, 61% were zoonotic. The emergence of a pathogen into a new host species is called disease invasion or "disease emergence". The emerging interdisciplinary field of conservation medicine integrates human and veterinary medicine.

Zoonoses can be classified by infectious agent type:

  1. Parasites
  2. protozoa, helminths (nematodes, cestodes and trematodes)
  3. Fungi
  4. Bacteria
  5. Viruses
  6. Prions


Know at least 4 kinds of diseases transmitted by harmful animals.

  1. Rabies obtained from being bitten by an infected animal like a dog or bat
  2. Malaria (mosquito bite spread)
  3. Herpes B is commonly found in macaque monkeys, including rhesus, cynomolgus, pig-tailed, stump-tailed, and Japanese macaques. The B virus can be shed lifelong in their saliva and all adult macaques should be assumed to be carriers. The B virus can be transmitted to people through bites and scratches, and can cause acute neurological disease and fatal encephalitis.
  4. Cat scratch disease is a mild to severe bacterial disease caused by Bartonella henselae. Young cats and kittens are the most likely source of human infection. The infection is transmitted between cats by fleas. Infected flea droppings on the cat's fur are the source of human infections, which are spread from the cat to a person by a cat bite, scratch, or lick. Cats rarely show signs of illness but people can develop skin lesions, fever, or in severe cases, systemic (whole body) infection.
  5. E. coli infection from animal or human fecal matter
  6. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that infects both humans and a wide range of animals. It occurs worldwide but is more common in temperate and tropical areas of the world. Some people infected with leptospirosis will have no symptoms at all, and some people will become severely ill. Some wild and domestic animals, such as cattle, pigs, dogs, raccoons, and rodents, carry the bacteria and pass them in their urine. People become ill following direct contact with urine or tissues from infected animals, or exposure to contaminated soil, food, or water, including from swimming in contaminated water.
  7. Lyme disease, a bacterial disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted by the bites of infected ticks. Ticks become infected by feeding on infected rodents.
  8. Plague is a serious infection of humans caused by bacteria the bacteria, Yersinia pestis. The bacteria are present in wild rodents and their fleas.
  9. Rat Bite Fever is a bacterial disease that is spread to people through bites or scratches from rats. Symptoms include abrupt fever, vomiting, headache, muscle, back, and joint pain, and then a rash on the hands and feet and swollen joints.
  10. West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that pick up the virus after feeding on infected wild birds. People, horses, and certain types of birds are most often affected by this virus. Most people infected with the virus don't get sick, but some may have an illness ranging from mild to severe. In the severe forms, West Nile virus affects the nervous system and may result in meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis, or death.


How can animals harm plants and the lives of other animals?

Invasive species of dangerous animals can create problems for established species. The harmful animal may kill off other species directly by eating them, or indirectly by using up resources the established species needs to survive.


Choose and present the following characteristics of two harmful animals:

See examples in Requirement 7.




Type of sexual reproduction


Eating habits


Diseases and harm to humans




Name at least three harmful animals in the following classes:



Rattus rattus

Rattus rattus

Black rat (Rattus rattus)

Description: common long-tailed rodent of the genus Rattus (rats) in the subfamily Murinae (murine rodents). The species originated in tropical Asia and spread through the Near East in Roman times before reaching Europe by the 1st century and spreading with Europeans across the world. Black rats are generalist omnivores. They are serious pests in nature as they eat birds and insects, and to farmers as they eat a wide range of agricultural crops. They are vectors of many diseases including the bacterium Yersinia pestis, an agent of bubonic plague. Habitat: everywhere they can get a foothold
Type of sexual reproduction: breed like other mammals
Eating habits: Black rats express great flexibility in their foraging behavior. They are predatory animals and adapt to different micro-habitats. They often meet and forage together in close proximity within and between sexes. Rats tend to forage after sunset. If the food cannot be eaten quickly, they will search for a place to carry and hoard to eat at a later time. Although black rats eat a broad range of foods, they are highly selective feeders; only a restricted number of the foods they eat are dominant foods. When black rat populations are presented with a wide diversity of foods, they eat only a small sample of each of the available foods. This allows them to monitor the quality of foods that are present year round, such as leaves, as well as seasonal foods, such as herbs and insects. This method of operating on a set of foraging standards ultimately determines the final composition of their meals. Also, by sampling the available food in an area, the rats maintain a dynamic food supply, balance their nutrient intake, and avoid intoxication by secondary compounds.
Diseases and harm to humans: when introduced to a new area, black rats often destroy native vegetation and can cause native species of other animals and birds to go extinct. Black rats are able to carry a number of pathogens, of which bubonic plague (via the rat flea), typhus, Weil's disease, toxoplasmosis and trichinosis are the best known. Rats also eat food stores and destroy other property.
Prevention: municipal sanitation and pest control measures are widely practiced to control the rat population. This includes poisons and traps. Pesticides are sprayed from planes when attempts are made to kill of rats on islands. When efforts are let up, the rat population often rebounds within months.

canis latrans

canis latrans

Coyote (canis latrans)

Description: the coyote is a canid native to North America. It is a smaller, more basal animal than its close relative, the gray wolf,[2] being roughly the North American equivalent to the old world golden jackal, though it is larger and more predatory in nature. Habitat: widespread in North and Central America including rural and urban environments
Type of sexual reproduction: breed like other mammals, a type of dog
Eating habits: It has a varied diet consisting primarily of animal matter, including ungulates, lagomorphs, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates, though it may also eat fruit and vegetable matter on occasion. Coyotes eat grass an grains as well.
Diseases and harm to humans: Coyotes target pets and are the leading cause of livestock losses in North America. Coyote attacks on humans are uncommon and rarely cause serious injuries, due to the relatively small size of the coyote, but have been increasingly frequent, especially in the state of California. In the 30 years leading up to March 2006, at least 160 attacks occurred in the United States, mostly in the Los Angeles County area.
Prevention: The US government authorized the killing of 90,000 coyotes to protect livestock in one recent year. Livestock dogs are often kept with sheep. Keeping pets contained and garbage contained reduces coyote problems.

Pagophilus groenlandicus

Pagophilus groenlandicus

harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus)

Description: The harp seal or saddleback seal is a species of earless seal native to the northernmost Atlantic Ocean and parts of the Arctic Ocean. The latin name means "ice-lover from Greenland" Habitat: northernmost Atlantic Ocean and parts of the Arctic Ocean, often on ice flows
Type of sexual reproduction: breed like other mammals
Eating habits: seals eat fish
Diseases and harm to humans: seals are hunted for meat and fur, but the primary justification is that they eat a lot of fish that humans want to catch. The seal harvest is very controversial.
Prevention: Seals are hunted in Canada, Namibia, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Russia, Finland and Sweden.





Heloderma suspectum

Heloderma suspectum

Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum)

Description: A heavy, slow-moving lizard, up to 60 cm (2.0 ft) long, the Gila monster is the only venomous lizard native to the United States and one of only two known species of venomous lizards in North America, the other being its close relative, the Mexican beaded lizard (H. horridum). Habitat: Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexican state of Sonora.
Type of sexual reproduction: The male initiates courtship by flicking his tongue to search for the female's scent. If the female rejects his advances, she will bite him and crawl away. When successful, copulation has been observed to last from 15 minutes to as long as two and a half hours. The female lays eggs in July or August, burying them in sand 5 in (13 cm) below the surface. The clutch consists of two to 12 eggs: five is the average. The incubation lasts nine months, as the hatchlings emerge during April through June the following year.
Eating habits: The Gila monster feeds on small birds, mammals, frogs, lizards, insects, and eggs - primarily on bird and reptile eggs. It eats infrequently (only five to ten times a year in the wild), but when it does feed, it may eat up to one-third of its body mass. Its sense of smell is so keen, it can locate and dig up chicken eggs buried 15 cm (6 in) deep and accurately follow a trail made by rolling an egg. Prey may be crushed to death if large or eaten alive if small, swallowed head-first, and helped down by muscular contractions and neck flexing. Unusually, after food has been swallowed, the Gila monster immediately resumes tongue flicking and search behavior, probably as a result of a history of finding clumped prey such as eggs and young in nests. Gila monsters are able to climb trees and cacti in search of eggs.
Diseases and harm to humans: While poisonous, there are no reports of death from bites after the 1930's and those deaths likely were related to poor medical care. If bitten, the victim may need to fully submerge the attacking lizard in water to break free from its bite. Symptoms of the bite include excruciating pain, edema, and weakness associated with a rapid drop in blood pressure. Expect to be sick for about 5 days. "I have never been called to attend a case of Gila monster bite, and I don't want to be. I think a man who is fool enough to get bitten by a Gila monster ought to die. The creature is so sluggish and slow of movement that the victim of its bite is compelled to help largely in order to get bitten. ” —Dr. Ward, Arizona Graphic, September 23, 1899 On the positive side, science is finding useful medicine from the Gila monster including a diabetes drug Byetta approved by the US FDA in 2005
Prevention: Don't bother the Gila monster and it will not bother you.

Crocodylus niloticus

Crocodylus niloticus

Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)

Description: An apex predator, the Nile crocodile is the second largest reptile in the world. On average the Nile crocodile is between 4.1 metres (13 ft) to 5 metres (16 ft), weighing around 410 kg (900 lb). However, specimens measuring 6.1 metres (20 ft) in length and weighing 907 kg (2,000 lb) have been recorded. They have thick scaly skin that is heavily armored. Habitat: The Nile crocodile is quite widespread throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, occurring mostly in the central, eastern, and southern regions of the continent and lives in different types of aquatic environments such as lakes, rivers and marshlands.
Type of sexual reproduction: Nile crocodiles lay eggs to reproduce, which are guarded by the female. The hatchlings are also protected for a period of time, but hunt by themselves and are not fed by the parents.
Eating habits: Adults are apex predators and prey upon various birds, reptiles and mammals. This includes ostrich and pythons, antelopes, gazelles, waterbuck, bushbuck, impala, sitatunga, lechwe, eland, kudu, gemsbok, sable antelope and wildebeest zebras, warthogs and baboons. When crocodiles grow they prefer larger prey for energy efficiency. Therefore large adults rarely tackle small prey. Large adults sometimes take on larger prey such as giraffe, Cape buffalo, young hippos, and young elephants and even black rhinoceros and hippopotamus. Even other predators like hyenas, cheetah, African wild dogs, jackals, leopards, and lions have been killed by crocs.
Diseases and harm to humans: Given their preference for large mammals, it is not surprising that hundreds of people and large numbers of livestock are lost each year to attacks. They usually catch prey that comes to the water to drink, but can also hunt on land, lying in ambush near forest trails or roadsides, up to 50 m (170 feet) from the water's edge. The species is hunted and farmed for its skin used for leather.
Prevention: Awareness of surroundings and caution is the only real prevention.

Oxyuranus scutellatus

Oxyuranus scutellatus

Coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)

Description: Coastal taipans are the largest venomous snake in Australia. Adult specimens of this species typically attains sexual maturity around 1.2 m (3.9 ft) in total length (body + tail). More mature specimens can grow to between 1.5 and 2.0 m (4.9 and 6.6 ft). Habitat: Coastal taipans can be found in a variety of different habitats. They can be found in warm, wetter temperate to tropical coastal regions, in monsoon forests, wet and dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands, and in natural and artificial grassy areas, including grazing paddocks, and disused rubbish tips. The coastal taipan snake, despite its name, does live in habitats hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest beach. The can be found in northern and eastern Australia and the southern portion of the island of New Guinea.
Type of sexual reproduction: Courtship observed in captive Coastal Taipans appears to follow the basic pattern seen in many other snake species. Upon encountering a receptive female the male becomes highly excited and moves up and along the body of the female, continually tongue-flicking and rubbing his chin against her. In captivity, copulation has lasted as long as three hours and 20 minutes. Two to three months after mating the female will lay between 3 and 21 soft-shelled eggs (average of 11), usually in a log hollow, under tree roots or in cavities in the ground. In captivity females often produce a second clutch many weeks after the initial mating – this suggests the female may be able to store sperm for several months.
Eating habits: Rats, mice, bandicoots, and various species of birds make up their entire diet. Once prey is detected, the snake ‘freezes’ before hurling itself forward and issuing several quick bites. The prey is released and allowed to stagger away. This strategy minimises the snake’s chance of being harmed in retaliation, particularly by rats, which can inflict lethal damage with their long incisors and claws
Diseases and harm to humans: Its venom contains primarily taicatoxin, a highly potent neurotoxin known to cause blood clotting reactions. Without treatment expect to die within 90 minutes, and as little as 30 minutes for a severe bite. Every bite delivers a fatal dose of venom, so untreated bites have a mortality rate of 100%. They prefer to leave rather than fight, but if cornered they will strike repeatedly and can jump far off the ground.
Prevention: Avoid disturbing the snake, and if bitten, seek medical attention immediately. An antivenom was introduced in 1956, but before that fatalities were 100%.

List of dangerous snakes



Rhinella marina

Rhinella marina

Cane toad or Marine toad (Rhinella marina)

Description: A large, terrestrial true toad which is native to Central and South America, but has been introduced to various islands throughout Oceania and the Caribbean as well as northern Australia. Adults average 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) in length; the largest recorded specimen weighed 2.65 kg (5.8 lb) with a length of 38 cm (15 in) from snout to vent. The species derives its common name from its use against the cane beetle (Dermolepida albohirtum). Habitat: The cane toad inhabits open grassland and woodland, and has displayed a "distinct preference" for areas that have been modified by humans, such as gardens and drainage ditches. In their native habitats, the toads can be found in subtropical forests.
Type of sexual reproduction: The cane toad is a prolific breeder; females lay single-clump spawns with thousands of eggs.
Eating habits: Its reproductive success is partly because of opportunistic feeding: it has a diet, unusual among anurans, of both dead and living matter. Most frogs identify prey by movement, and vision appears to be the primary method by which the cane toad detects prey; however, the cane toad can also locate food using its sense of smell. They eat a wide range of material; in addition to the normal prey of small rodents, reptiles, other amphibians, birds and a range of invertebrates, they also eat plants, dog food and household refuse.
Diseases and harm to humans: The cane toad has poison glands, and the tadpoles are highly toxic to most animals (including livestock) if ingested. There have even been human deaths due to the consumption of cane toads. The cane toad is now considered a pest and an invasive species in many of its introduced regions; of particular concern is its toxic skin, which kills many animals—native predators and otherwise—when ingested. This is a big problem in areas where it has been introduced as local animals are not aware of the danger it poses them.
Prevention: Because of its voracious appetite, the cane toad has been introduced to many regions of the Pacific and the Caribbean islands as a method of agricultural pest control. The cane toad does have its uses including in drugs, as leather, and for scientific research. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends residents kill them.

Amietophrynus regularis

Amietophrynus regularis

Egyptian toad or African common toad (Amietophrynus regularis)

Description: The most common frog or toad in Egypt, and across much of Africa. The African common toad is a large sturdy toad with a warty skin. Males grow to a snout-to-vent length of 62 to 91 mm (2.4 to 3.6 in) and females reach 70 to 130 mm (2.8 to 5.1 in). The paratoid glands are large and either parallel or kidney-shaped and the male has a single vocal sac under the chin. The dorsal surface is dark olive-brown with dark patches on the back, often arranged fairly symmetrically, and in younger animals, there is a paler band along the spine. There are smaller dark blotches on the upper lip and the eyelids, and the warts on the flanks are often separated by dark markings. The throats of males are black and the underparts of both sexes are white to beige. The call is a rattling sound made up of two pulses and lasting for about 0.9 second. Habitat: both moist and dry savanna, montane grassland, forest margins, and agricultural habitats. It is often found near rivers, where it also breeds. It is not a forest species but in the forest zone it can still be found in degraded habitats and towns (including gardens).
Type of sexual reproduction: lays eggs
Eating habits: bugs etc
Diseases and harm to humans: None really, toads are helpful to humans in general, but an overabundance of frogs made life hard for the Egyptians just before the Exodus.
Prevention: N/A.

Poisonous amphibians


Discover why some harmful animals are important for the balance of their ecosystem.

  1. Snakes control rodent populations
  2. Flies help get rid of dead animals

All animals, in their proper ecosystems, have a positive role to play.


Learn four ways to protect yourself from harmful animals that can be found in homes or businesses.

  1. Spray to kill mosquitoes
  2. Keep trash contained to avoid attracting raccoons and other animals
  3. Trapping and poisoning rodents
  4. Control flees on pets


Complete at least one of the following activities:


Visit a zoo or place of research where you can observe harmful animals and present a report.

If you are planning to visit a zoo or aquarium, be aware that there are various honors that have requirements which can be met by visiting a zoo or aquarium. Individuals can work on multiple honors in one visit, or parts of your group may work on different honors during the same visit.

Here is a list of honors which have requirements that can be met by visiting a zoo or aquarium:

Animal Camouflage

Bogs & Fens




Endangered Species

Island Fishing

Marine Mammals


Marsupials & Monotremes







Temperate Deciduous Forests

Venomous Animals


With the help of a leader, identify at least 10 harmful animals and present a list with the scientific name, common name, picture and place where it was found.

The answers to Requirement 7 have the required information for 12 harmful animals.


Discover three harmful animals in the Bible.

There are many possible answers, but here are a few:

  1. Genesis 49:17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.
  2. Numbers 21:6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.
  3. Deuteronomy 8:15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.
  4. Psalm 58:4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
  5. Proverbs 23:32 In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.
  6. Ecclesiastes 10:8 Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.
  7. Isaiah 14:29 Do not rejoice, all you Philistines, that the rod that struck you is broken; from the root of that snake will spring up a viper, its fruit will be a darting, venomous serpent.
  8. Jeremiah 8:17 “See, I will send venomous snakes among you, vipers that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you,” declares the Lord.
  9. Amos 5:19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. (a 3 for 1 deal in one verse)
  10. Matthew 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
  11. Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (wolves and snakes in one verse)
  12. Matthew 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
  13. Acts 28:4-5 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.
  14. Numbers 23:24 The people rise like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion that does not rest till it devours its prey and drinks the blood of its victims.”
  15. Deuteronomy 28:39 Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.
  16. Acts 12:23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
  17. Judges 14:5 Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him.
  18. 1 Samuel 17:34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,
  19. 2 Samuel 23:20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.
  20. 1 Kings 13:24 As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was left lying on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it.
  21. Daniel 6:24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
  22. Psalm 80:13 The boar out of the wood doth ravage it, And the wild beasts of the field feed on it.
  23. Isaiah 34:14 And the wild beasts of the desert shall meet with the wolves, and the wild goat shall cry to his fellow; yea, the night-monster shall settle there, and shall find her a place of rest. (night monster may be the hyena)
  24. Job 41 the whole chapter describes a fearsome creature, most likely the crocodile.
  25. Isaiah 27:1 In that day Jehovah with his hard and great and strong sword will punish leviathan the swift serpent, and leviathan the crooked serpent; and he will slay the monster that is in the sea.
  26. Dragon: This word may signify a few different creatures in the Bible, including mythical ones.
  27. In Exodus 7-10 The Egyptians were hit with a few different animal pests - Frogs (2nd), Lice (3rd), Flies (4th), and Locusts (8th).
  28. Psalm 78:45 He sent swarms of flies that devoured them, and frogs that devastated them.
  29. Ecclesiastes 10:1 As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
  30. Exodus 23:28 I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.
  31. Deuteronomy 7:20 Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.
  32. Joshua 24:12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow.
  33. Proverbs 30:15 “The leech has two daughters.n ‘Give! Give!’ they cry. “There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’
  34. Isaiah 51:8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.”
  35. Joel 2:25 I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm— my great army that I sent among you.
  36. Ezekiel 13:4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins.
  37. 1 Samuel 6:5 Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.
  38. Leviticus 11:29 These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,

There are many other references to lions. You might also explore unclean animals which are harmful if eaten. Most unclean animals are scavengers, eating other (often dead) animals. The clean animals generally eat plant material.