10 CUTE Animals You DIDN'T KNOW Were DEADLY
No matter just how cute and cuddly an animal may look, you just can’t trust some of Mother Nature’s most fascinating wildlife. Case and point, the beasties we’ve compiled in this unsettling Archive of the top ten animals you didn’t know were deadly!
Native to the Indo-Pacific, the geographic cone snail is the most deadly of the numerous species of this underwater invertebrate. They can grow to be up to about six inches long, but don’t let their size fool you. Numerous human deaths have been attributed to the cone snail’s extremely toxic venom that is delivered via a harpoon-like projection on its head. The venom, which is comprised of hundreds of toxins, has no current antidote. The only current treatment is to do everything possible to keep the victims alive until the toxins have worn off.
One of the largest waterfowl in North America, these gorgeous birds are the epitome of grace and beauty. Unfortunately, it isn’t commonly known that they are fiercely territorial and defensive when threatened. This particular species of swan is known for these attributes, and are capable of attacking and drowning a fully grown man that encroaches upon their homes. These attacks are extremely rare, but the birds are incredibly strong and fierce. For the most part, they will only charge at their target, but they are absolutely capable of killing humans.
Striped Eel Catfish
Catfish are generally so common that most people aren’t aware that other, and much deadlier, species exist. This one in particular has poisonous spines on its pectoral fins that can be extremely painful and, at times, deadly to humans. They live in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and tend to feed on algae and smaller fish, but can sting when threatened. The fatalities reported tend to come from fishing communities while the workers are cleaning the fishing nets, but the actual chemical structure of the toxin is mostly unknown.
While this aquatic creature’s name would suggest its ferocity, it is actually a sea slug native to Australia’s shores. They actually are not naturally venomous by themselves, though their sting is still deadly. The blue dragon sea slug commonly feeds on venomous jellyfish, and will store these remains. They are then concentrated so that when the blue dragon is touched, they can release the stored stinging cells in a manner even more deadly than the famed Portugese man o’ war jellyfish.
Commonly referred to as the most dangerous bird on Earth, this large, ostrich-like bird is native to Australia. Though they are flightless, they use a large, hard crest on the top of their head called a casque and a dagger-shaped middle claw in fights to defend themselves. While they don’t commonly attack without cause, they are aggressively territorial and protective of their babies. There are over 200 cassowary attacks reported per year on average, but the last actual recorded death from one was in 1926.
One wouldn’t think an animal named after its love for eating ants could be especially dangerous, but this large and awkward-looking mammal can be shockingly deadly. Though the anteater has no teeth, it does have extremely long and sharp claws. While they were made to tear into anthills, they can use them for self-defense. Anteaters tend to be solitary and shy, but if they are threatened they can rear up onto their hind legs and slash with their four-inch long claws.
Native to Australia and the eastern Indo-Pacific, this beautiful sea creature is the cause of numerous human fatalities each year. They are one of the few venomous species of octopus, and though they are only about the size of a hand, one bite can be fatal to a fully grown human. The reason for this is that its toxin contains tetrodotoxin, a molecule made famous on several TV shows as the toxin commonly carried by the pufferfish. Currently, there is no antidote for the bite of a blue-ringed octopus, so if you are bitten by one, you should seek a hospital immediately.
An undoubtedly adorable and cuddly-looking animal, this member of the primate family is actually one of the only venomous mammals in existence. Secreted from a gland on its elbows is a toxin that the slow loris can mix with saliva from its mouth. It can either use this to bite in self-defense or coat its fur with the mixture to protect itself from predators. Researchers are not entirely sure whether the toxin is actually deadly to humans or if the deaths that have occurred can be attributed to anaphylactic shock, but it is unlikely that you will ever come across one, as they have been made endangered by the illegal exotic pet trade.
With venom that is considered to be one of the deadliest in the world, this jellyfish can grow up to ten feet in length. The venom attacks the major bodily functions of the heart and nervous system, often causing the human that has been stung to go into shock and drown before they can receive help. Even if their victims live, they have been known to experience pain for a while afterward, and are usually permanently scarred. Their most common prey, the fish and shrimp they eat, are often killed instantly by the sting of the box jellyfish. Although, surprisingly, sea turtles are not affected by their sting and commonly have them for dinner!
These cute woodland mammals are known for their large front teeth and dam-building abilities, but few people are aware of how protective they can be of their homes. They are the second largest rodent in the world, and are technically herbivores, but are fiercely territorial and their large, very sharp incisors that never stop growing can be extremely deadly. Though beavers typically are shy and like to avoid humans, they are not afraid to stick up for themselves when threatened. Often they flee, slapping their large tail against the water to warn others, but when they decide to fight, they have been known to be deadly!