Nature is both wondrous and terrifying. As the countless wildlife documentaries can attest, we have a fascination with the animal kingdom, especially those creatures with extraordinary capabilities for defense, attack, or both.
From the smallest ant to the largest shark, dangerous animals are all around us. Whether it’s a gnarly bite, a lethal venom, or even a strange mutation, the creatures on this list are all exemplary of the amazing ways that nature adapts to be a master of its own environment. If you like to snorkel, you’re probably drawn to bright and colorful creatures like the first one on our list. But watch out: it hides a deadly secret.
The blue-ringed octopus looks like the product of a psychedelic fever dream, but its reality is far more sinister. Its defense mechanism consists of a powerful neurotoxin that paralyzes the respiratory muscles. This means that if someone gets stung, they would need immediate artificial respiration or else face certain death by asphyxiation. When dealing with creepy crawlies, it’s best to keep far away. But what if you encounter one that could hurt you without even touching you?
This scorpion took a page out of the cobra’s playbook: it can eject its venom as far as one meter. Though not usually deadly, the venom causes intense pain and temporary blindness, which can become permanent if left untreated. This creature is found in dry areas of many African countries. If you like sci-fi movies, you’ll appreciate this next animal – it would fit just fine in a story about spooky intergalactic beasts.
This the most dangerous fly in the world because they spread protozoan parasites called Trypanosomes. These pathogens cause the disease called the African Sleeping Sickness – having symptoms that are similar to meningoencephalitis. If not treated, the disease is fatal, but the flies can be avoided by wearig neutral colors and using permethrin-treated clothes if you choose to go remote areas or close to bushes.
This fish might be small, but is fearless and aggressive enough that it has earned the wary respect of fishermen world round. Sarcastic fringeheads are extremely territorial, which means they’ll snap at any creature that comes near their shelter. Their mouths can open extremely wide and they have sharp teeth that they use to wrestle other fish for territory. Be careful when visiting this reptile’s stomping grounds: you might become the newest victim of a snake that kills more people than any other.
Ascaris Roundworm is a parasite that hatches the egg in human intestines and after burrowing in the guts, they go through the blood until they reach the lungs. Each year, they make 4,500 victims because they’re so small, that their victims don’t notice them.
This species of monitor lizard is the largest of its kind in the world. Among its peculiarities is its bite, which can cause hemorrhaging, low blood pressure, muscle paralysis and hypothermia. Scientists debate whether this is caused by bacteria or certain venomous proteins in the dragon’s saliva. Either way, it spells certain death for any prey that gets in its path.
This reptile’s name evokes gruesome images, which is actually quite fitting. When threatened, it rubs sections of its body together to create a ‘sizzling’ warning sound. The toxins found in the viper’s venom cause the body to develop bleeding disorders, which means most victims die of internal hemorrhage. If you’ve ever read old stories of mysterious sea serpents, get ready to meet their inspiration.
This sea creature is commonly thought of as a kind of jellyfish, but it’s actually a siphonophore. What makes it terrifying though, is its venom: it leaves huge, red welts on the skin, then travels to the lymph nodes and causes fever, shock and other allergic reactions. It is said to be one of the most painful animal venoms in the world. When you see the next creature, you’ll want to cuddle with it. But it won’t let you get anywhere near.
After an experiment made in 1957 went wrong and a Brazilian bee keeper interbred the African honey bees with the European bees, these ones escaped and got mixed with regular bees. They are very aggressive and swarm the Americas, chasing victims for miles!
Hooded seals are odd-looking marine mammals, owing to the inflatable bladder on the head of the adult male. Unlike other seals, these creatures are quite antisocial and territorial, and have been known to be aggressive towards humans. Their habitat spans the Arctic Sea around Canada, Greenland and Iceland. The next animal is a spider that appears in the Guinness Book of World Records. Can you guess what it’s in there for?
This arachnid is officially considered the most venomous spider in the world. Getting its name because it likes to wander aimlessly, this little killer can literally be spotted anywhere, at any time of the day. Luckily they are only found in Central and South America, but that’s still a huge chunk of the world that you’ll either have to avoid, or tread very, very carefully. Picture this: you’re splashing around in shallow water. You see a triangle-shaped silhouette circling around you. You hear two menacing bass notes repeating in the back of your head. Will you make it out alive?
Don’t let the cute name fool you, because the Kissing Bugs are also called Assassin Bugs! They bite humans on their lips or faces and leave a parasite called Trypanasoma cruz. The infectious parasite leads to Chagas disease, causing 10,000 deaths per year!
The deadliest birth on this planet is the Cassowary, which uses its talons to kill a human being. They’ve been spotted roaming the beaches and even entering houses to look for food. If not fed, they will use those talons!
Believe it or not, but dogs are among the most dangerous animals on Earth, and we’re talking about rabid dogs. Vaccinedpets are safe from rabies, but mostly in India, rabid dogs kill nearly 25,000 people every year!
Even though the movie Jaws is not quite based in reality, this predator is as deadly as they come. They have 300 serrated teeth, an acute sense of smell and can even detect electromagnetic fields generated by prey. Though humans are not their preferred meal, they are responsible for up to half of all recorded shark attacks annually. If you’ve ever been near a river or swamp, it’s possible you’ve come close to this mighty killer.
Crocodiles have existed close to their current form for millions of years. That’s because they’ve evolved to become incredibly effective predators, avoiding the need for further adaptations. They’re fast swimmers and can easily hide in plain sight, ready to ambush their oblivious prey. They have the strongest bite in the animal kingdom and yes, they also swim in freshwater. The following animal is infinitely smaller than a crocodile, but will still haunt your nightmares.
This small insect has an extremely fitting name. They say the pain from its venom is so powerful, it feels like being shot. The toxins target the central nervous system, causing paralysis strong enough to incapacitate a full grown man. Existing in the South American rainforests, bullet ants are used in some tribes’ warrior initiation rituals. The next animal can literally kill you with one touch.
This cute, bright yellow amphibian could easily be a cartoon character, but is definitely not kid-friendly. The size of a paperclip, the frog contains enough poison to kill 10 grown men. In fact, Golden Poison Dart Frogs are the most poisonous animals alive. Thankfully they can only be found in the Pacific Coast of Colombia. We’re willing to bet you’ve had a plush version of this animal at one point on your life. In reality, it won’t think twice before eating you.
Polar bears are the most carnivorous of the bear species, and they’re not to be messed with. Though they reside in the remote Arctic, any person that runs into one is in a world of trouble. Even though they prefer the fatty flesh of seals, hungry polar bears have been known to attack and kill humans. If you go to these remote Indonesian islands, you’ll be able to say you’ve seen dragons. That is of course, if they don’t kill you first.
Frilled sharks may look more like an eel than a shark, but their fierceness and hunting effectiveness makes them as worthy as their more famous cousins. This animal sports dozens of backward-facing, trident-shaped teeth, which it uses to hook prey and keep it from escaping. Frilled sharks live in very deep waters, but that’s just as well because you wouldn’t want to bump into one. Imagine you’re sleepily floating on calm, crystalline waves when suddenly you feel your leg caught by something. You look down and see this. What’s your next move?
These beautiful snails are found in the tropics. They’re easy to find in coral reefs and near the shore in rock formations, but their teeth are filled with a venom called ‘conotoxin’, which can paralyze a human being in the moments one takes to smoke a cigarette. That’s why they are called ‘cigarette snails.’ There is no antivenom for the toxin, but only a handful of unlucky people were stung so far…
While the king of the jungle does not hunt humans to feast upon them, there are accounts of some lions called ‘Tsavo man-eaters,’ who back in 1898 killed 28 workers in Kenya in just 9 months. And they’re no the only ones – let’s see more about hyenas!
This venomous fish can be easily mistaken for a piece of rock – hence his name: Stonefish. It has some deadly venom which he uses to fend off predators. Its dorsal fin spines can inject the predator and cause a lot of pain – it can kill a human being in less than an hour.
Animal expert Gordon Grice explains that you don’t want to be killed by hyenas because they don’t kill their food – they just eat it as it still is alive! The next animal would kill a human much faster if given the opportunity!
Cape Buffalos live in sub-Saharan Africa and are quite peaceful. However, if one member of their herd is in danger, they are known as the Black Death. These huge beasts hunt down hunters and chase them for miles, even attacking trucks, no matter if they’re injured or not.
Although majestic beings, elephants are deadly if they get to hold grudges on certain people. For instance, Dr. Keith Hinshaw said that the elephants are the most dangerous animals at the zoo, some elephants knocked those people to the ground to stomp on their heads.
The tetrodoxin found in the pufferfish (blowfish) is so dangerous, that it makes this creature the second most poisonous vertebrate on Earth! Its venom is found in the skin, muscle tissue, liver, kidneys and gonads. Avoid all that, and humans can safely consume the fish as a delicacy as fugu. Nonetheless, fugu is only prepared by licensed chefs.
What makes the Black Mamba so dangerous? Their speed and venom! They can slither at 12 miles per hour, and in remote areas, it’s tough to escape them. However, they only bite if threatened. But when they do bite, they do it continuously, delivering do much venom that if not treated within 20 minutes, it is fatal.
We don’t need to explain that a three-ton animal is deadly, but add a horn on its head and think of it speeding right at you with 35 miles per hour! That’s what will happen if a rhino thinks its calves are in danger!