When you hear “deadliest animals,” you may automatically think of huge animals with fearsome fangs, or razor-sharp claws, and horns. However, some of the innocuously-looking and adorable creatures actually also have deadly tricks up their sleeves. So click through this gallery to find out the deadliest animals on earth — big and small — so that you know which of them to avoid.
Rhinoceros are big and heavy. Nevertheless, they are very fast runners, and they can run much faster than the fastest human on earth. While these horned beasts are generally gentle giants, when they feel threatened they’ll steer their large bodies directly toward someone or something that they feel is threatening them.
Rhinoceros have terrible eyesight, but this makes them more dangerous, not less. While they cannot rely on their eyes to identify someone or something that enters in their territory, the animals are easy to startle. Even a well-meaning visitor that the rhinoceros doesn’t recognize may also incite them to charge in self-defense. You must be aware (and beware) of their unpredictability so good luck if you attempt to approach a rhino. Remember that they run faster than you, unless you can run faster than 40 mph. Apart from their horns, the animals’ powerful lower incisors as well as their speed and size should intimidate you already, even if they seem gentle.
You have probably watched Finding Nemo and remembered that adorable fish in the aquarium who inflates — that’s the puffer fish. “Looks can be deceiving” appropriately applies to the puffer fish — their cuteness belies their deadly streak. Puffer fish are considered the second deadliest animal in the world (only next to golden poison frog). Many parts of their body have lethal venom — the liver, the spines, even the skin — and can paralyze a human. Their toxins can cause a human to stop breathing, resulting in death.
Nevertheless, puffer fish are considered a delicacy in many countries. However, only specially trained chefs are qualified to prepare dishes from this fish. Eating an improperly prepared fish can also result in paralysis and death.
The polar bear, with its snow-white fur, may look quite benevolent and cuddly, but they are one of the deadliest animals alive. A polar bear’s large body alone, especially when standing, will instantly incite you to run for your life. Polar bears are fiercely protective of their cubs, and if you try to approach the cubs their much bigger parents won’t hesitate to attack you. They can easily rip off your head with just one swipe from their huge paws.
Many poisonous animals are characterized by their bright colors and patterns which serve as a warning for potential predators. The poison dart frog has such a bright and colorful appearance. True to its name, the poison dart frog secretes strong toxins that serves as a “shield” against predators. Their bright coloration is an indication of their levels of toxicity — the more attractive and colorful these species are, the more poisonous. Other species of the poison dart frog are cryptically colored and thus, are not as poisonous as their more colorful counterparts.
One poison dart frog has enough poison to kill 10 humans. Because of these frogs’ venomous secretions, South American Indians use it to poison the tips of their darts when hunting.
Although a leopard is one of the smallest wild cats, it doesn’t mean it’s less fearsome. In fact, a leopard may be one of our oldest predators. Although there is a very small percentage of leopards that attack humans, there are some that are a nuisance in some areas. There are man-eating leopards who attack at night and are reported to break down doors to reach human prey. Unlike other big cats such as tigers, who attack and prey on humans because they’re either sick or invalid, leopards attack after acquiring the taste of human corpses.
There have been reports and stories from many years ago about man-eating leopards. The most famous of these is the leopard of Panar, a male leopard from the Kuamon division in Northern India, during the early 20th century. The leopard was known to have attacked and killed at least 400 people. He was shot by British hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett in 1910.
There have been very few confirmed attacks of Komodo dragons to humans, or very few fatal cases, because these giant lizards are quite rare, and their numbers are threatened. There are approximately 4,000 to 5,000 living Komodo dragons in the wild, and their population is concentrated on the islands of Indonesia.
Komodo dragons are carnivorous, opportunistic, strong, and very patient hunters. An adult Komodo dragon can kill mammals as large as a water buffalo. When the lizard captures its prey, he keeps it on the ground, and eats it by tearing large chunks of flesh with his razor-sharp teeth.
Not only are they formidable hunters, Komodo dragons also have a dangerous bite. Not just from the act of the biting itself, but their teeth are coated with bacteria that breaks down the tissues whenever they eat. However, recent research has found out that it is not only the lethal bacteria that the Komodo has in infecting its victim. The lizard also has salivary glands that carry venom, which is an anti-coagulant (preventing the blood from clotting), and can cause muscle paralysis.
Hyenas have been one of the oldest-known man-eaters, even since prehistoric times. The spotted and striped hyenas have been known to kill large mammals, including humans. They can also be opportunistic hunters who prey on humans, especially sleeping people and children.
Although hippos are vegetarian and look like harmless cows to some, they are otherwise one of the most dangerous beasts on earth. Like the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is an unpredictable animal which is easily startled. They are also extremely aggressive like the rhinos, especially when threatened or when someone or something goes near their young. They account for more than 500 deaths annually and remain a threat to people living in Africa.
All sharks, including the great white, have the reputation of being fearsome. And they should be: after all, their rows of dagger-like sharp teeth and their enormous mouths can swallow a human whole. Just hearing the name “Great White” is enough to send people running for their lives toward the beach.
Actually, Great White Sharks have no appetite for or interest in humans at all. Most of their attacks come from the fact that they mistake the silhouettes of human divers for other animals, or the shark is just curious. This mere curiosity of the shark, unfortunately, leads the animal to take a bite of a human limb just to see how it tastes like. These sharks account for over 100 deaths per year.
Only 25 species of scorpion are known to possess venom that can kill a human being. One of these is the deathstalker, native to in North Africa and the Middle East. It is a highly poisonous scorpion that is responsible for over 75% of all scorpion-related deaths each year.
This snail is one of the most unusual killers in the animal kingdom. The most dangerous ones are the bigger snails which prey on small bottom-dwelling fishes. They use a venomous harpoon to catch even the fastest-moving fish. Upon inflicting the prey, it’s guaranteed that the fish will be paralyzed in just seconds, After the fish is paralyzed, the snail proceeds to swallow its poor victim whole.
Some species of cone snails have venom that are extremely toxic, even powerful enough to kill a human being. Several human deaths have been attributed to them. Nevertheless, many hard-headed people still hunt and collect these snails for their attractive shells.
These mammals, native to African grasslands, are extremely aggressive even if they’re unprovoked. A Cape buffalo is frighteningly big and heavy (over 2,000 pounds in weight) but despite its bulk and size, it otherwise runs very, very fast. A Cape buffalo can charge towards you at 40 mph, unless you’re lucky enough to run faster than that. Even if the animal is shot in the heart, it will nevertheless continue charging and running after you. It’s like you’re running for your life from a speeding train.
Even being cooped up inside a safari vehicle is no guarantee you’re safe from these buffalo. They will also run after a vehicle, without hesitation. They are also known to attack lions.
All species of box jellyfish are dangerous, particularly the sea wasp box jellyfish. These translucent creatures look ethereally beautiful but nevertheless they are quite poisonous. The sea wasp box jellyfish is known to have caused at least 63 recorded deaths in Australia from 1884 to 1996. However, other species of box jellyfish have stings that produce mild itching, while some of them are not poisonous at all.
While the black mamba looks innocuous compared to the hooded cobra, it is no less dangerous. In fact, it is even more dangerous than the cobra. One of the deadliest and fastest snakes on earth, the black mamba can make a quick attack on its victim and can move at an incredible speed. The snake has been blamed for several thousand deaths, especially in Africa.
Its venom consists of neurotoxins and cardiotoxins, among other types of toxins. The mortality rate from a black mamba’s bite was almost 100% before antivenom became widely available.
African lions are one of the strongest and most formidable hunters, and are also the quickest animals considering their size. Although African lions are not really man-eaters, they can be extremely aggressive and dangerous toward humans, especially if one crosses over their territory, or provokes it. Sick and/or old male lions are responsible for most of the lion-related human deaths.
The bees’ monstrous and invasive proliferation stemmed from an experiment gone wrong. In 1957, a Brazilian bee keeper who was trying to cross-breed European and African honey bees in an effort to increase honey production, accidentally let some of the swarms escape. This led the bees to reproduce in frightening numbers and invade throughout the Americas, even in North America.
More aggressive than the European bees, the Africanized honey bees are really frightening because they tend to swarm ruthlessly. They can even chase their poor victims for miles.
The stonefish seems to have bad things associated with it — it’s ugly and dangerous. However, its ugly appearance works to its great advantage, because it serves as a camouflage to ambush the fish’s poor victims. The stonefish just lies on the ocean floor, patiently waiting and perfectly camouflaged until prey passes its way. Then the stonefish opens its jaws with lightning speed and consumes its prey in seconds.
Apart from their grotesque appearance, there’s something else about the stonefish that should be feared — its venom. Its needle-like spines have poison in them. Once you’ve accidentally stepped on it, you may lose your legs or worse, your life.