Watch your step! Watch where you swim! Check the toilet before you sit and don't put on your sneakers without inspecting them first! Why so many precautious, you might ask? Because the world is full of all sorts of deadly creatures that are lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike.
Some of these deadly creatures slither on land, while others are hiding deep in the ocean. But some of them could be hiding in your home. While it’s impossible to avoid every animal on the planet, here’s a little insight on what these creatures are capable of so you’ll know what you’re dealing with should you run into one.
Steer clear of the stonefish’s dorsal fin spines. This is what this underwater predator uses to inject its victims with a kind of toxin that can stop the heart of an adult human within 24 hours. Unfortunately, they look so much like a rock that they can easily blend in with their surroundings. So, an unsuspecting beachgoer might accidentally step on one and experience the stonefish’s painful delivery method. If injected, doctors recommend you apply water that’s been heated to 113 °F (45 °C) to slow down the effects of the venom and buy yourself some more time to get to a doctor.
Sydney Funnel-Web Spider
The Sydney Funnel-Web spider is native to Australia, a continent that's known for having some of the deadliest creatures on the planet. So, it’s no surprise that this spider has a toxin called atraxotoxin that’s strong enough to shut down the nervous system and kill an adult human within 30 minutes. And don’t count on shoes to protect you because their fangs are capable of piercing through leather. Oddly enough, their venom is not a threat to household pets like cats and dogs.
Black Mamba Snake
The Black Mamba snake is considered the fastest snake among its kind as it can slither at 12.5 miler per hour. So, you certainly wouldn’t want to get trapped inside a house with one. But unlike other members of its species, the Black Mamba doesn’t hunt you down unless it feels like it’s in danger. If that happens, they’ll bite you repeatedly until you're not a threat anymore. The combined neuro and cardiotoxins in the venom will kill you in 20 minutes if antivenom isn’t administered.
Although monitor lizards are sometimes taken in as pets, they are not easily domesticated. That’s a lesson that Ronald Huff learned in 2002, when the 42-year-old man had his face, hands and stomach organs eaten by seven of his 6-foot-long monitor lizards. When cops arrived at his home, they found the man’s body by the front door while the lizards continued to feast on his remains. So, the tragic lesson here is to not try to turn a wild reptile into a house pet.
Domesticated horses are kind and gentle most of the time, but when they get startled or agitated, they could accidentally trample a human. In some cases, they have been known to throw riders off their backs. This often leads to severe injuries for the human that lead to paralysis or death. But a wild horse is ten times more dangerous if approached by a human as they will sometimes trample someone without mercy.
Dolphins are one of the friendliest creatures you’ll ever encounter in the ocean. Unfortunately, they can also be pretty deadly. Usually they’ll only use their sharp teeth and strong tails to attack predators. But over the last couple of years, human deaths have risen as a result of attacks led by dolphins who became agitated or felt like they were being provoked by people. In rare cases, death can occur if a dolphin gets too excited and slams into a human’s torso, causing fatal bodily harm.
We often think of deer as these fun loving creatures who love helping Santa Claus deliver his gifts to the children of the world. But these beautiful animals can be deadly to humans, though not necessarily on purpose. Oh sure! Their antlers could cause some serious harm if a human were to provoke them. But if you're on the road at night and a deer happens to cross your path, you might be out of luck. There are approximately 200 fatal injuries per year as a result of drivers colliding with deer that inadvertently cross the road.
There's a reason why dogs are known as man’s best friend. They make loyal companions to people of all ages including babies and toddlers. But some dogs can be truly dangerous. In fact, there were 39 reported dog attacks in 2017 that led to human injury and death. And across the United States, about 30 to 50 people die from dog attacks each year. Those lucky few that do survive required reconstructive surgery to fix the damage inflicted by these deadly pooches.
A rhinoceros weighs about three tons and can charge at any animal or human at a speed of 35 miles per hour. What makes that even scarier is the fact that they also have this three-foot horn that can jab you in the back or in the torso and cause fatal injuries. But generally, a rhinoceros only attacks because it can’t perceive a threat due to its limited eyesight. So, from its perspective, anything is a potential threat.
Like most bears, the polar bear is huge, has sharp scary claws, and a big appetite. Unlike Grizzlies and pandas, polar bears live in the Arctic and generally like to feast on seals. Thankfully, these beautiful creatures tend to live in cold regions so the odds of running into one are extremely rare. Besides, they have bigger issues to worry about, like global warming, which is slowly melting the place they call home. Many bears have drowned attempting to cross from one land mass to the next to find food.
The Cassowary is the planet’s third largest bird and one of the deadliest creatures of its kind. With the help of its sharp beak and massive talons, it can eviscerate an unsuspecting human and remove their internal organs from their body. If that’s not scary enough, they sometimes break into people’s homes looking for food and they’re not too picky about what’s on the menu. They also like to make their way to the beaches and attack anyone they see.
Hyenas are social creatures who will hunt in packs. They’re also very intelligent and avoid attacking a target that is a strong and formidable foe. Instead, they’ll look for someone who is sick, injured, or weak like a young child. Then it will use its claws and teeth to feast on them. In some cases, their victims remain alive just long enough to feel themselves being torn apart by these hunters before succumbing to their injuries.
Although pufferfish’s meat is considered a deliciously expensive cuisine, you might do well to avoid this fish on the plate and in the sea. Their spikes are filled with nerve toxins that are deadlier than cyanide and can kill humans quick and easily. But their venom is also present in their liver, muscles, gonads and kidneys as well, so if a chef isn’t properly licensed and experienced to prepare these creatures for consumption, the rare delicacy can turn into someone’s last meal.
Indian Saw-Scaled Viper
The Indian Saw-Scaled Viper might seem tiny and thin compared to other snake species, but their natural camouflage makes them difficult to detect. They do, however, make a sizzling sound by coiling and rubbing their scales together. This isn’t much of a warning to those who boldly travel through desert regions in Central Asia or parts of the Middle East only to encounter this creature’s poisonous bite.
Australian Box Jellyfish
Next time you’re swimming in tropical waters, keep an eye out for the beautiful but deadly Australian box jellyfish. They have 60 tentacles, each of which are about 15 feet long and contain 5,000 stingers full of toxins capable of taking out as many as 60 people. Imagine a whole school of these creatures swarming near unsuspecting beachgoers. At least you have a fighting chance with a shark. Box Jellyfish are so transparent that they are difficult to spot. Once they sting you, you’ll go into shock before heart failure kicks in.
Cone snails aren’t the type of snail you want to cup in your hand and allow to crawl across your fingers. Those who have been foolish enough to allow this were welcomed with the stinging of this creature’s tooth, which releases a diaphragm paralyzing toxin. Since cone snails are found roaming around on surfaces in the ocean, divers who have an unfortunate meet and greet with these snails typically drown and die.
Like most buffalos, the Cape Buffalo won’t attack unless it feels threatened. But if you see one running towards you, get the heck out of dodge because these creatures mean business. They’re about six feet tall, weigh nearly a ton, and are actually pretty strong and aggressive. In fact, they reportedly have the power to knock a moving car off the road. Hunters and passersby who have run into them suffered serious injuries or didn’t survive the encounter at all.
On average, sharks are responsible for approximately 6 human fatalities a year, but that doesn’t mean you should turn your back on them when you’re in the water. They’re agile predators and the sea is their domain. Their teeth are sharp and their jaws are strong too and can tear a swimmer or diver limb by limb. But sometimes, sharks are known to bite their victims to sample their meal. In some cases, they let go and swim away if they don’t like the taste. But if they like it, they’ll be back and finish off their victim.
Mosquitoes are yet another example of how one should never underestimate a threat because of their size. Mosquitoes spread all types of illnesses that reportedly lead to about 830,000 deaths annually like malaria, Zika, Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever. In fact, malaria cost the lives of 445,000 people in 2016 alone. Fortunately, mosquitoes are vulnerable to insecticide. Another great way to avoid attracting them is to get rid of still water on a property where mosquitoes like to lay their eggs.
There are different types of snake species. Some of them contain deadly poison that can kill a human slowly or quickly. Others, like the Boa Constrictor, will simply strangle and crush its victims. And there are others like the Malayan Pit Viper whose venom isn’t generally fatal but can lead to tissue necrosis. If the person isn’t treated right away, the limb where they were bit might have to be amputated.
The Sandfly has a furry, clear-looking body, except for its reddish looking internal organs. But watch out because it contains leishmaniasis, a parasitic illness that it transmits through its stinger. The condition comes in three forms—cutaneous, mucocutaneous, and the deadliest form which is visceral leishmaniasis. The first two forms can cause disfigurations but can be easily treated. But in 95 percent of cases, those infected with visceral leishmaniasis die.
There’s nothing romantic about kissing bugs because they contain the Chagas disease. All it takes is one bite to infect someone. Unfortunately, the condition rarely shows any initial symptoms so the infected don’t realize they’re even sick. However, the Chagas disease often leads to damage of the heart and digestive system. It is also responsible for causing a number of stillbirths in countries like Brazil.
The freshwater snail might look cute and tiny but they’re responsible for infecting people with schistosomiasis, a parasitic illness responsible for killing 4,400 people annually. This snail is found in regions of South American, Asia and Africa. What’s more alarming is the fact that a person doesn’t even have to touch the snail to get infected. If their skin touches the same water the snail is in, they will become infected. Once the parasitic illness is in the body, it will attack the spleen, intestines and liver.
They might be tiny but they’re also very deadly. These four-inch arachnids have a stinger that’s full of enzyme inhibitors and neurotoxins. When they strike, they do so very fast. The toxins will cause the lungs to build up with fluid that makes it very difficult to breathe. If the person isn’t rushed to a hospital right away, they will die. In their defense, in some parts of the world, particularly Mexico, scorpions are considered a delicacy.
Tsetse flies are often located in the sub-Saharan region of Africa and contain trypanosomes—a type of organism that’s transmitted through their bite and leads to sleeping sickness. This type of sickness is the second stage of the infection. People who have succumbed to this condition will experience insomnia at night and bouts of sleep during the day. If the condition isn’t properly treated, the person will have a few short years to live.
Tapeworms are the worst because they’re so insidious. You won’t see them coming because their eggs are sometimes found in undercooked beef or pork. So, most people who eat raw or undercooked meat don’t even realize they’ve ingested these parasitic creatures. It also doesn’t help that an infected person shows little to no symptoms. But make no mistake. Tapeworms have been associated with approximately 1,600 deaths a year.
Like tapeworms, the Ascaris roundworms are often ingested and are responsible for killing approximately 2,700 a year. The reason they’re deadlier than a typical tapeworm is that they don’t just stay in the intestinal tract. They actually travel into other organs like the heart, the lungs, and the liver. Once there, they disrupt these vital organs’ normal functions. Unfortunately, about one-sixth of the human population is host to this parasitic infection and they’re completely unaware of it until it’s too late.
Crocodiles should never be underestimated. They blend into their surroundings well in outdoor environments, making it difficult to see them until they strike. They also remain very still. But don’t let that fool you. When they decide to attack, they’re going to do it quickly and violently. So do yourself a favor and get as far away from their jaws as possible. These creatures are like the land’s equivalent of sharks. Then again, they probably feel the same about us since some people hunt them down for their meat and their skin.
Hippos might seem slow and sluggish, but they are neither of these things. There have been several recorded cases of hippos capsizing small boats when they feel like their lives are in danger. This photo was taken in 1995 and shows French zoo director Jean Ducuing messing around with Komir the hippo. Sadly, Ducuing was killed by Komir when it saw an opportunity to make a break for it and sped out of its enclosed habitat.
Elephants aren’t carnivorous. They’re herbivores. In other words, they prefer to eat plants. But that doesn’t mean they’re not capable of hurting or killing another creature when provoked. Elephants are very large and heavy. They also have sharp tusks and a long and powerful nose that they can use to grab someone by the arm or leg and toss them around like a rag roll. Fortunately, these creatures are generally gentle so long as they don’t deem someone a threat.
Tourists and poachers beware! Lions are extremely territorial and quite hungry. If a human stumbles onto their turf, lions will hunt them down relentless. They’re also very protective of their young and will rip anyone apart who gets too close to them. And there’s no sense running from these creatures. Their powerful legs give them an advantage on speed and mobility that humans lack. Even animals as big as buffalo have proven to be no match for the fierce lions.
Bees are among the deadliest flying creatures on the planet. They often fly in swarms, though not always, and their sting is quite toxic. Once they insert their stingers into a victim, they release a toxin that causes people allergic to bee stings to go into anaphylactic shock. If the person is rushed to the hospital, they might have a chance of surviving. But if they run into a swarm because they disturbed a beehive, help may not come in time.
Africanized Honey Bee
While most people who aren’t allergic to bees might survive a regular sting, the Africanized Honey Bee is deadly to all humans, even if they’re not allergic to bee stings. In fact, the Africanized Honey Bee’s sting is powerful enough to take out a horse. So, anyone who gets bit by this bee will experience allergic reactions like headaches, dizziness, skin inflammation, edema, diarrhea, vomiting and weakness. And if they don’t get proper medical attention, they may die.
Tigers aren’t the kind of cats you want to take home and keep as pets. Just ask the late Roy Horn, a performer best known for his Las Vegas shows with fellow magician Siegfried Fischbacher. One time, during a performance, a Bengal tiger attacked Horn and left him partially immobilized. But this isn’t an isolated case. In 2014, a boy who fell or jumped into a tiger’s den at the Delhi Zoo was mauled to death.
The Portuguese Man O’ War
Jellyfish have an extremely powerful and painful sting, and the Portuguese man o’ war is often associated with this species because it has a similar way of attacking. But unlike most jellyfish stings, this creature’s particular jab will introduce a toxin into the body that has proven to be fatal in adults, children and animals. Ironically, the Portuguese man o’ war is actually a colony of tiny organisms and not a whole creature like other jellyfish.
There’s a reason why Hollywood makes movies and shows about werewolves—creatures that can shape-shift from humans to wolves when the moon is full. Although werewolves are a myth as far as we know, actual wolves will attack when they’re afraid, provoked or very hungry. In some instances, they’ll even attack if they’re infected with rabies. Wolves don’t discriminate against their victims. They’ll go after humans and other animals both big and small until their hunger is satiated.
Golden Poison Frog
Next time you visit Colombia, you might run into a golden poison frog, and as the name suggests, their skin is vibrant yellow and they are very poisonous. In fact, they’re categorized as one of the most toxic creatures on Earth. One of these bad boys has enough venom in their system to kill 10 healthy adult humans. It’s why Colombia’s indigenous peoples extracted the poison from these creatures and used it in their blowguns and darts.
The Pallas’s Cat
The Pallas’s Cat might look like a regular house cat, but this is one ferocious feline you wouldn’t want to introduce your family to. This creature’s fangs are about 3 times longer than a regular cat's, and they’re powerful enough to break another animal’s spine. These cats aren’t domestic at all, so don’t even try to bring one inside. They prefer their solitude and get very angry if someone stumbles into their turf. The only time they allow company is during mating season.
A stoat is tiny and weighs approximately 2.5 oz, but it will go after prey that’s bigger and weighs more, like rabbits. And their bite is so powerful that a stoat can snap a rabbit’s neck with just one bite. These creatures are also great swimmers, can climb anything and they can run or walk up to 10 miles before resting. But unlike some hunters in the animal kingdom, these creatures don’t do it to eat. They hunt for pleasure. So, after a kill, they might leave their victim and go looking for something else to hunt.
The Slow Loris
The slow loris should never be underestimated simply because they’re mammals. These creatures have a gland on their forelimbs that releases a powerful venom. Once the toxin is introduced into an animal or a human body, it will lead to paralysis and suffocation. So how do you know you need to run? The lorises will coat their teeth with the poison by licking their glands and then they’ll lash out and bite anyone or anything they deem a threat.
Male platypuses will fight for their love during mating season using their ankle spurs to inject their targets with a powerful toxin. Platypuses can also use their venom on other animals that attempt to attack them like tigers, lions, bears, and dingoes. Fortunately, if a human gets jabbed by one of these animals, they won’t die from the venom. But they may experience side effects like edema and a nasty headache.
Seals lull most humans into a false sense of security because they have such adorable faces. Seals, however, have been known to violently attack fish, mammals and also humans. So, anyone looking to take a walk across the shoreline should stay away from these creatures because they’ll hunt anyone that gets in their way, especially in early March when the female seals bring their young to the shore. Seals will even hunt penguins and dolphins for no other purpose than to simply pass the time.
Bullet ants should not be underestimated. These aren’t the kind of ants you’ll find inside your house or the ones that invade a picnic. This species has a powerful sting that’s 30 times more agonizing than that of a bee sting. Those infected experience sweating and an increased heart rate, and will pass out from the pain. Fortunately, the agony will subside in a couple of hours and there won’t be any permanent damage.
Leopards are agile, fast, and extremely vicious. Their idea of a midnight snack is pretty much anything they see, especially humans. And don’t expect them to run and hide if you wound them. Unlike a lot of animals, leopards will actually get more aggressive if they are hurt. This makes them ten times more dangerous, as they use their sharp claws and teeth to seek revenge against the creature that hurt them.
The Black-Footed Cat
The black-footed cat may only weight about 3 pounds, but they don’t mind going after animals that are three-times their size. They’re also relentless hunters. Not only can they chase their prey up to 12 miles without losing their breath, but they will do so in the worst weather, too, and even at night. Also, just one of these seemingly cuddly kitties can devour 14 tiny creatures, like mice, a night.
In the 19th century, a Bengal Tiger, also known as the Champawat tiger, cost the lives of 436 humans in India and Nepal. At the time, however, they stuck to their turf in the wild. But over the years, human development has cost these creatures their natural habitat. This has forced them to roam into cities where they encounter humans and attack them. On average, tigers will kill about 60 humans a year.
The blue-ringed octopus is native to Australia and is considered one of the most dangerous creatures in the ocean. Its saliva contains a type of neurotoxin that causes paralysis and respiratory failure. Also, their venom can paralyze as many as 10 humans. That’s a pretty powerful toxin for creatures that are only about 8 inches or 20 cm in size. But for the most part they are very docile unless they deem something a threat. Then they become quite dangerous.
Brown Recluse Spider
Brown recluse spiders are highly toxic. All it takes is one bite and their venom will start to eat away cell membranes, skin, fat, and blood vessels. This will lead to necrosis, which is the process where infected tissue starts to die. It’s why the brown recluse spider is considered one of the six most poisonous spiders in the United States alone. Besides necrotic tissue, other symptoms of a bite include chills, fever, nausea and joint pain.
Sea otters appear to be soft little creatures who just like to swim and lay by the water. But it’s best to stay away from them during mating season as the males get very aggressive. Some have even been known to attack female and male seals as well as their offspring. So, if you’re a nature enthusiast looking to observe these creatures with a camera, stay out of their line of sight.
The Honey Badger
The honey badger might be small, but their courage is pretty huge. It’s why they go after huge animals like lions and tigers. Their skin is thick enough to withstand another animal’s fangs, which is probably one of the reasons why they're so ballsy. But how thick is their skin? Well, a human with a machete would have a tough time breaking through their skin. That's how thick it is! On top of that, the honey badger's teeth and jaws are so powerful, they can eat their whole prey including their skeleton. Ouch.