Most people would steer clear of any snakes or oversized spiders that crossed our paths. We have a sort of logic when it comes to animals that tells us “Bigger = Deadlier.” And in the case, say, a King Cobra versus a garden snake, that argument checks out.
But more often, you will often find that the opposite is true. Many animals make up for their small size with deadly venom, and so what may look like a regular snail could actually be your final downfall. Below are ten tiny, but incredibly deadly, animals.
10. Sonoran Coralsnake
These snakes, related to cobras, are found in the deserts of Mexico and the Southern US. While they can grow to about two feet, they usually don’t, and are much smaller and skinnier than most other snakes. As if they’re not hard enough to see, due to their size, they tend to be nocturnal.
Lucky for us, they prefer to indulge in cannibalism, snacking almost exclusively on other snakes. But if you do decide to pick one up and play with it, beware: their venom is a powerful neurotoxin that can paralyze your central nervous system.
9. Blue Ringed Octopus
Try to forget about starting another grammar war over whether it’s “octopuses” or “octopi,” and try to focus on how this thing will straight-up kill you. The Blue Ringed Octopus can be found in the waters around Australia, and measure up to a whopping 4 inches in size. Usually it is a brown or yellow color but, when frightened, its blue rings will light up all over its body.
However, as pretty as it is, do not touch! The tiny critter has an incurable venom toxic enough to kill 26 adults humans in a matter of minutes.
8. Brazilian Wandering Spider
So called because they hunt prey, as opposed to spinning webs, the Brazilian Wandering Spider has been recognized since 2007 as the spider with the most powerful venom in the world, and the one responsible for the most human deaths. Most victims will die within an hour of being bitten.
The spider, which can grow to have a leg span of 4 inches, is also known as the banana spider, as it tends to hide inside between bunches of bananas and then jump out at their prey. In 2008, one was found in a crate of bananas in Britain. It was caught with a pencil, since that’s logically the best tool to approach the most dangerous spider alive with, before humanely putting them. By that, we naturally mean “blow them up as violently as possible.”
7. Deathstalker Scorpion
Deathstalker scorpions are mainly found throughout Africa and Asia in mainly dry, desert habitats, measuring up to 4 inches, but usually around 2. They are considered to contain among the most powerful and painful scorpion venom in the world, which can cause fever, convulsions, paralysis and death.
When it comes to scorpions in general, the smaller the pincer, the more powerful the venom. While many people would probably assume the opposite, this is because those with large pincers can rely on the force of their bite to get their message across, while those with small ones need toxins to defend themselves.
6. Tarantula Hawk
Actually a type of wasp, there are 15 species of tarantula hawks in North America, and they can grow to be about 2 inches long. They are so called because they hunt tarantulas, stinging and paralyzing them. The Tarantula hawk will then lay eggs in the spider, and bury it alive. When the eggs hatch, they will eat the spider alive for 35 days.
So unless you’re a tarantula, that’s not something you need to worry about. But that doesn’t mean you have nothing to worry about, since its venomous sting is meant to be the second-most painful sting in the animal kingdom.
5. Giant Japanese Hornet
If you thought that was was bad, wait until you hear about this one: The Giant Japanese hornet can grow up to 2 inches long, about as big as the previous entry. Its venom works by being injected via a stinger that measures 1/4 inch, and then attacking your nervous system while dissolving your tissue at the same time. One hornet alone can kill an adult, and anaphylactic shock is a very common side effect of being stung.
Also, it can sting multiple times. Plus, if you do get stung, you’ll have a hard time fleeing, as they can fly at 25 mph. Killing between 20 and 40 people in Japan a year, these animals are responsible for more deaths than any other in Japan.
4. Poison Dart Frog
Poison dart frogs are one of the most colorful animals in nature. This is to scare off potential predators, and is known as aposematic coloration. With such elaborate colors, predators will recognize the animals that make them sick much faster than animals with dull colors, and so are less likely to attack them.
Dart frogs are about two inches long, and their toxicity depends on their color, with golden poison dart frogs having enough venom to kill 10 adult men. Scientists believe that they may get their toxins from plant poisons eaten by their prey.
3. Cone Snails
With the ability to produce up to 100 different toxins, cone snails are among the most venomous creatures on the planet. The snails are mainly found in Australia, and hunt fish. To do this, they hide in the sand and wait for a fish to pass overhead. When they detect a fish, they thrust a harpoon up, through which they inject their venom. This paralyzes the fish, which they then eat.
A person stung by a cone snail probably won’t get eaten, but still only has about a 30% chance of survival. The good news is that they can only use each harpoon once, so you are unlikely to be stung more than twice. Bad news: one sting is usually all they need.
2. Harvester Ant
The harvester ant has the most toxic venom of any known insect. Unsurprisingly, a sting from a single ant is not enough to deal any real damage to humans, but the ants have figured a way around that. When one ant bites, a pheromone is released to alert any other ants in the area. When they smell this pheromone, they will all flock to the first ant, and attack the victim together. Together, they can deal significant damage to humans and, while deaths may not be common, they still do occur, mostly as a result of either allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock.
1. Irukandji Jellyfish
The Irukandji jellyfish less than an inch long. Most of us wouldn’t go near a regular jellyfish unless to poke one with a stick but, if you somehow managed to spot one of these teensy guys, you would probably just splash it away. But be careful because, despite its size, the Irukandji jellyfish is the most venomous creature on the planet. In fact, it was only discovered recently, after it caused several deaths. While doctors believe they may have a treatment for the sting now, it isn’t certain.
After being stung, symptoms such as vomiting, headaches, increased heart rate, and high blood pressure can set in within a matter of hours, or even minutes. Its venom is 100 times more powerful than that of a cobra, and 1,000 times more powerful than that of a tarantula. It goes without saying that this terrifying creature is found in Australian waters.