Most people just love cute animals. We all have our favorite ones that we are drawn to and we just can’t seem to get enough of them. In my case it’s the manatee and people say that I am a bit obsessed with them, but I just can’t help myself! They are adorable and cute, but just like every creature on this list, they are wild and unpredictable. With that being said, wild animals are defined as “living in a state of nature; not tamed or domesticated”, and that just about sums it up perfectly. Any animal can be dangerous for a number of reasons. Inherently they are hardwired to be protective and survive. More often than not, the reasons for their dangerous behavior is simply instinctive. Wild animals will do just about whatever it takes to stay alive, from protecting their young and keeping their territory, to procreating and eating. We have all heard the saying, “Looks can be deceiving”, but never more so than these cute creatures we are about to take a look at. Some of the animals on this list you might not have ever heard of, and others will be very familiar to you. One thing is for certain, you will not want to cuddle up to any of these wild cutie-pies.
15. The Slow Loris
This cute big-eyed little guy has a secret and it’s deadly. He is the slow loris, and hidden on his elbows are toxic glands; which he licks to make his bite poisonous. They also coat themselves with the toxin during grooming so if a predator decides to try a taste of him, he won’t like it. They have also developed the ability to mimic a deadly cobra in sound and movement, so it’s a very effective defensive mechanism. Now it’s only deadly to humans if they have an allergic reaction to the toxin. They prefer to sit up in the trees eating insects, fruits and small birds.
Everyone has witnessed them roaming the neighborhood at night rummaging through the trash containers for their meals. The raccoon, a smaller relative to the bear, is, in fact, a dangerous creature. They can carry several diseases like rabies, leptospirosis, and roundworm which in turn can be transmitted to our pets and us. They can also do property damage and attack our pets. Interestingly enough, Racoons have an extremely high IQ and are smarter than your cat. They are quick learners and are even able to identify and tell the difference between symbols. They can open locks and close doors, and memorize things for about three years.
The Cassowary looks like a giant colorful prehistoric turkey, but I wouldn’t want it on my Thanksgiving plate for dinner! With its excellent eyesight and hearing ability, it is very aware of its surroundings and potential threats. It has two extremely strong legs; each of them has three toes. Here’s the kicker (pardon the pun), the inside toe is spiked like a dagger which they usually use to scratch the ground, but it comes in handy for fighting and defending itself too. It is agile and can run as fast as 30 mph. It can jump as high as 6 ft and can swim in rivers and oceans. You can call Cassowary’s the decathletes of the forest.
12. Giant Anteaters
These cute creatures can grow to be a whopping seven foot long! They are toothless but are able to catch their prey (ants) with their long sticky tongues. They have really bad eyesight, but can smell 40 times better than us so that is their main way to find food. Even without any teeth, they are can be dangerous creatures. Giant Anteaters have claws that are about 4 inches long, and use them to defend themselves. Normally they are not aggressive because they are solitary, but if threatened they can be quite fierce. Balancing with its tail, they will stand up on their hind legs and use their claws to fight off Jaguars, Pumas and many other large cats.
11. Gila Monsters
The largest native lizards in the United States are Gila, pronounced (hee-la), monsters. In the entire world, there are only two venomous lizards, and the Gila is one of them! Found in the deserts and spending 95% of its time burrowed underground, they are pretty lazy creatures. So lazy in fact that they don’t even chew their food. Interestingly enough, the Gila doesn’t use its venomous saliva for hunting, but for defence. The poison isn’t deadly to humans, but the bite is extremely painful. The toxin comes from glands in their jaws and it causes faintness, weakness, chills, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting.
10. Leopard Seals
It’s hard to believe that with such a cute little face, the Leopard Seal can be such a deadly creature. Found in the Southernmost oceans (Antarctica), it’s the third largest seal in the world; after the Elephant seals and Walrus (yes, Walrus’ are part of the seal family). They have a very nasty demeanor, and are extremely solitary animals. They have very few predators, in fact only one that’s recognized, the killer whale. They can live up to 26 years, and have been known to kill a human. A marine biologist was dragged down 200 feet in the water by a leopard seal, and drowned. Intended or not, it’s an important reminder of the danger these wild animals can put us in.
The only mammal in the world that’s not able to jump, this beautiful creature is the largest land animal and they can live to be 70 years old. With a highly developed brain, they play, cry, have an incredible memory and even laugh. National Geographic’s did a documentary called “Elephant Rage” and reported that 500 people each year are killed by elephants. A Stanford University biologist Caitlin Rodwell said it best, “I do think that elephants are becoming more aggressive towards humans in very compressed areas where they are being shot at and harassed”. Remember the old saying “ an elephant never forgets”, well if that’s the case, just be kind to them and you will have nothing to worry about.
A species of deer, and the largest one at that, Moose are huge and they eat a lot. They are herbivores (vegetarians), and can gobble up to 73 pounds of vegetation a day in the summer months. Male Moose are easily recognized by their huge antlers that can reach 6 feet across and weigh about 40 lbs. They not only use their antlers for fighting, but they also use their sharp hooves to fight too. The reason Moose are dangerous to humans, is simply due to their large population size. Annually, Alaska has 5-10 injuries on humans reported. This number is larger than bear attacks, black & grizzly, combined.
All I can think of here, and yes I’m dating myself, is the sweet TV star “Flipper”. We all know how intelligent dolphins are, but how can they possibly be of any harm to humans? There have even been many incidents where dolphins have actually saved people. Well, oddly enough male dolphins have been known to become sexually aggressive with humans, putting them in harm’s way by either drowning or injury. Male dolphins actually gang up on the female dolphins by isolating them, then forcibly copulating with them for weeks at a time. Also, dolphins play boisterously with each other, and if a human joins in the play they might get injured due to their sheer power and size.
Found only in New Guinea and Australia, kangaroos are the world’s largest marsupials (they carry/suckle their young in a belly pouch) which include Opossums, Koala Bears and Wombats. Kangaroos are very agile and powerful creatures with the ability to swim, walk and hop. They can’t walk backward, but they can jump very high, like three times their height which can be upwards of 5 ft. Groups of kangaroos are called “mobs” and you don’t want to get caught one, because kangaroos have extremely powerful legs that can cause great harm if you are kicked. Their hind legs have been known to disembowel opponents so for this reason, stay away.
Known as a weasel on steroids or a super-weasel, the wolverine is pound for pound one of the most amazingly strong animals for its size. With its appropriate bear-like looks, the wolverine has no fear, and is simply ferocious. With a bone-crushing jaw, sharp claws and a fight to the death mentality, it’s no wonder you be in fear and awe of them. If a wolverine can kill a bear, and it’s been documented, it is not at all unreasonable to assume they can kill a human just as easily. Fortunately for us, these bundles of terror live where most humans don’t, the arctic and subarctic snowy forests.
Those famous words from Seinfeld’s Elaine, “Maybe The Dingo Ate Your Baby” is all I can think of here. The Dingo, or Australian wild dog, is just that; a wild dog. Over the years, dingoes have mated with domestic dogs resulting, in one-third of the population now being a ‘hybrid’ dingo. Today the pure Dingo is on the endangered species list because their numbers are so low. Although rare, dingo attacks on people have been known to happen. They are especially a danger to livestock like young cattle and sheep, so humans do come into contact with them. It’s a good thing they have a tendency to avoid each other.
The bear being on this list should come as no surprise, as we all well aware of how dangerous these creatures really are. Every year there are countless situations where people and bears encounter one another, yet no harm has come to either. In fact, bears usually try to avoid people whenever they can and display a great tolerance towards us humans. The odds of being killed by a bear are far less than being killed by a wasp sting or lightning. With their sheer size and huge claws, it’s not hard to see why an encounter with a bear might have potentially deadly results for humans.
2. Giant Pandas
Found high in the mountains of central China, pandas can live to be 30 years old. Hanging out in the thick bamboo forest, they need to use their broad paws which have long retractable claws to grip onto the trees when they are climbing. They also have really strong jaws to allow them to crunch up all the bamboo they eat, and it’s a lot! In one day that can eat up to 44 pounds of bamboo, which means they spend most of the day eating. Panda’s are also extremely territorial, so their muscular strength, claws, jaws and teeth have the potential to be trouble for people who encounter them.
Biologist Frans de Waal said in Scientific American, “Chimpanzee males have been measured as having five times the arm strength as a human male. Even a young chimpanzee of four or five years, you could not hold it still if you wanted to. You have a very dangerous creature in front of you that is impossible to control. Aggression is a common part of the chimpanzee behavior, whether it’s between or within groups. They go for the face; they go for the hands and feet; they go for the testicles. They have very nasty behaviors.” He took the words right out of my mouth!
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