There is reason animals are called animals, and that is because they are wild. They are hard wired for survival, and if the heavens made them one of the most adorable, docile looking creatures on earth, that has absolutely nothing to do with this drive. Most animals will do whatever is necessary to remain free, procreate, protect their young, keep their territory, and eat a belly full of something scrumptious. Let’s look at a few of the least commonly recognized deadly animals on the planet, which also just happen to be among the most cute, beautiful, and graceful.
The poolside to pet the stingrays at the aquarium is always crowded. There is just something about the gentle nature of these seemingly docile creatures that makes them much more adorable than your typical sea creature. When Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin died a few years back as a result of a stingray wound to the chest, the crowds grew a little sparse around the stingray pool. Today, their popularity remains intact, but that does not take away from the fact that a stingray can be very dangerous. One misplaced step within the sand can send its barbed stinger in a fury of reflexive, venomous slashing, which if hooked into a leg, arm, abdomen, or chest, will release toxins promoting swelling and excruciating pain. The toxin localizes at the sting point, but can travel through the rest of the body causing various other problems. While these stings are not often fatal, they can be.
Swans are such beautiful and graceful creatures. They are not only relatively gentle creatures in nature, but they are also terrific parents and would protect their young to the bitter end. And here lies the problem. Many birds have an instinct to protect their young when approached by a predator, but they will eventually give up if the predator is too strong or dangerous to deter. The swan however, does not give up. They will keep going until either they are dead, or the pursuant is, whichever comes first. These creatures, which can grow up to 30 pounds in weight, are very aggressive when provoked, and will bite and hit you without hesitation. The real danger however stands for those who are unable to swim, as swans have been known to fly over a perceived enemy, pushing them under the water until they drown. Image from WildAnimalsOnline.com.
8. Siberian Chipmunks
Now here is a cute and cuddly creature. The chipmunk stands about six inches from nose to tail, and has been known to burst suddenly into a harmonious melody if they hear the tickled ivories of a well tuned piano (Alvin and the Chipmunks reference). While the most aggression you will probably see from these creatures, is trying to take your sandwich during a picnic, they can be considered dangerous in other ways. I’m talking about the possibility of harboring disease. Siberian Chipmunks have been reported as spreading throughout many areas of the world, bringing with them, ticks (Lyme disease) and rabies. While both are treatable, if the disease is undetected and left untreated, heart and neurological problems can ensue, followed by coma and death in really extreme cases.
The elephant is truly a wondrous creature. They are peaceful, kind, loving, and have even been documented to tear whenever a mate or child dies. With this said, no animal or creature is perfect, and there are times when an elephant can be extremely dangerous. The biggest problem lies in their pure size and strength. Every animal can get a little grumpy, such as when a chihuahua bites an ankle for stepping too close to its bone, or a cat claws a hand for scratching its belly. If an elephant gets grumpy however, one sweep of its foot, or joust of its tusk, and it’s all over for whoever happens to be in its way. A number of zoo trainers have died at the hands of a seemingly “friendly” elephant. They do not often take too well in captivity, and it has been said that the increased levels of testosterone in males during mating season, can lead to overly aggressive and uncontrolled attacks for seemingly no reason.
The lovable hippo is a well known animal character for countless of children’s movies, stories, and cartoons. The secret lies in their cute little ears, cute round buttocks, beady little eyes, and what appears to be a rather gentle distemper. If you thought that a Chihuahua was territorial over its bones, however, you haven’t seen how testy a hippo can get over its mud pond. Hippos kill people every year who approach their territory, either knowing or unknowing. Despite weighing in at 8,000 pounds, they can chase a person down at speeds of up to 20 mph. With a jaw structure that enables them to clamp down at 6,000 pounds of pressure, and canine teeth as large as 10 inches, they are not exactly an animal you want to irritate. Hippos are herbivores, so they don’t exactly eat people, but they will not hesitate to chomp one in two, if provoked.
5. Bottlenose Dolphin
Dolphins have been compared to humans on a number of fronts. They are intelligent, communicate with each other, have the ability to learn, do tricks, play jokes, and can almost use their fins as hands. What’s not to love? Dolphins however, are also known for their insatiable sexual yearning, and deep respect from others within the ocean. Deep respect? Yes, it has been shown on countless occasions (including the show, Myth Busters) that even the great white shark is more than just a little intimidated by a dolphin. Why? they must know something that we don’t. Dolphins can be violent. Not only have they been known to kill and maim their own young, they also kill porpoises and play with their dead carcass for no apparent reason other than its fun. Male dolphins particularly show aggression towards human males when there’s a female involved. Why? Sexual competition.
The chimpanzee has long been thought of as somewhat of an ancestor to man. They are the only mammals on the earth, with such obvious similarities as hands (with opposable thumbs), brain function, and facial expressions. With all these similarities, however, it shouldn’t be too surprising that they also have the similar traits towards violence. Chimpanzees have been documented as having bloody feuds with each other, resulting over territorial or other differences. Countless “trained” chimpanzee pets have also been known to turn on their owner or friends, causing severe damage, such as mangled hands (torn off in some cases), shredded faces, broken bones, etc. One important difference between a chimpanzee and human, is their skeletal muscle structure. The chimp has as much as 5-times the strength of a human, leaving little hope of defending ourselves should one decide to attack. Image from EarthShots.org.
3. Duck-Billed Platypus
The platypus is truly one of the strangest mammals on the face of the earth, with its thick fuzzy body, flat beaver-like tail, otter-like feet, duck-like bill, and cute beady little eyes that say, I could never hurt anyone. There are two very unique attributes of the platypus, the first, being its duckbill. Besides having the most obvious use of scooping food, it has built-in electro-receptivity, similar to that of the Hammerhead shark, allowing it to find food buried within the silt. The other unique attribute, is a pair 15 mm long hollow spurs placed along the inside of their rear legs. Inside these spurs resides a moderate toxin, which can be quickly delivered to an enemy (or their own kind) with a fleeing kick. The venom is deadly for small animals, and while not typically fatal for humans, causes excruciating pain that can last for weeks, if not months.
2. Polar Bear
The beautiful polar bear has appeared in everything from cartoons, movies and television ads, playing soft, fuzzy, gentle creatures, who are as noble in their allegiance with the human race, as they are adamant in their preference to the taste of Coca-Cola beverages. While a Polar bear sleeping on an ice berg with its paws clutched around it like a toddler holding their teddy bear is truly cute, that same creature slapping the head clean off an unwary arctic explorer, is a whole other rush of fear inducing adrenaline. The polar bear is the largest carnivore in North America, weighing up to 1500 pounds, and standing up to 10 feet on its hind legs. Somewhere between 20 to 90 people are attacked each year by the polar bear. With no natural enemy, a male polar bear has been said to have the strength to rip a 12-inch thick seal clean out of a 4-inch hole, as if it were peeling a banana for breakfast.
1. Slow Loris
The Slow Loris is one of the absolute most cute, sweet, and shy mammals on earth. With its narrow set, bulbous eyes, they are the kind of animal that people dream of taking home and cuddling it like a teddy bear. However, besides being one of the cutest mammals, it is also the most poisonous and venomous. By poisonous, the Slow Loris produces a toxin on the inside of its elbows through a gland, which if eaten, would give you quite an extreme case of stomach pain. They smear this excretion on their young, to help keep them from being eaten in the wild. They are also considered venomous because if provoked, they can suck this same poison from their elbows into their mouths, injecting it into an enemy via a bite. If the presumed predator shows an allergic reaction to the toxin, they could be dead within hours if not properly treated.
By Eric J. Leech