They might look cute and innocent, but even some of the world’s most adorable animals can be still dangerous or even deadly to us. However, it shouldn’t be that surprising as almost every wild creature has developed some defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators. As a reminder of that important principle, we compiled this list with 25 Cute But Deadly Animals.
Poison Dart Frog
Native to tropical rainforests of Central and South America, these tiny, strikingly colored frogs look very interesting and beautiful. However, some poison dart frogs actually contain enough poison to kill as many as ten adult men.
Also known as carcajou, skunk bear, or quick-hatch, the wolverine is a close relative to weasels, badgers, otters, or martens, but he basically looks like a small cute bear. Despite its relatively small size though, this carnivore can cause a lot of damage. Their front teeth are long and sharp, and their back teeth are rotated at a 90 degree angle, making tearing flesh easy for them.
Native to tropical forests of New Guinea, nearby islands, and northeastern Australia, the cassowary is a rare, beautifully colored bird. It is, however, also considered the world’s most dangerous bird. Cassowaries are very unpredictable, aggressive creatures capable of delivering bone-breaking kicks and deep cuts with their sharp claws.
Cone snails are a group of marine snails found in tropical oceans and seas around the world. Their ornate, geometric shells are an attractive souvenir, but these innocently looking mollusks contain deadly conotoxin venom that can easily kill an unsuspecting diver.
The Africanized Honey Bee is a hybrid of a common honey bee with the African bee. The sting of this insect is not different from a sting of any ordinary honey bee, but what makes this species so dangerous is the unusual aggression and ferocity which it protects its hives with. No wonder it’s sometimes referred to as the killer bee.
Known for their astonishing intelligence, chimpanzees are the most closely related creatures to humans. They can be taught to perform a variety of tasks and tricks, but they are still wild animals and can be very dangerous to people. These apes are up to 5-times stronger than humans, and there have been many cases of people being severely mauled by a chimp.
Famous for their unique ability to quickly ingest huge amounts of water and turn themselves into an inedible ball several times their normal size, pufferfish also contain tetrodotoxin, a substance up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide.
Despite its cutely clumsy look, the hippo is actually the most dangerous land animal in Africa. This giant semi-aquatic mammal is extremely aggressive and territorial, which – combined with its sharp teeth and mobility both in and out of water – makes it a fearsome beast.
A small nocturnal primate found in Southeast Asia, the slow loris is one of the cutest animals in the world, but even this adorable creature has a dark secret. Lorises have toxic glands hidden on their elbows which they lick to lace their bites with poison. They also groom their fur with the venom to give it a nasty taste to put a predator off taking a bite.
Okay, so it’s not like mice will kill anyone by rearing up on its hind legs and mauling them. What makes mice deadly is their droppings (poop!). Mice can carry the hantavirus; when their droppings are oxidized and a person breathes it in, it can cause a pulmonary infection that can lead to death if not treated.
Commonly found in European forests, the fire salamander is famous for its attractive black and yellow coloration and longevity (it can live for more than 50 years), but this small lizard is actually poisonous. When threatened, it can spray neurotoxins that will attack the victim’s central nervous system.
A large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America, the giant anteater is usually not aggressive, but it will fight back fiercely if cornered. A threatened anteater will rear up on its hind legs (using its large tail for balance), delivering massive cuts with its powerful claws.
The world’s largest living bird, the ostrich can achieve an impressive speed of up to 72.5 km/h (45 mph) and – if cornered – it can deliver dangerous kicks capable of killing lions and other large predators. However, most ostrich attacks on humans result from people provoking the birds.
Easily recognizable by its small size and distinctive coloration, the blue-ringed octopus is regarded as one of the world’s most venomous animals. It lives in tidal regions ranging from Australia to Japan and is frequently encountered by people wading in tide pools. If provoked or stepped on, it will bite. Its venom has no antivenom and can kill an adult human within minutes.
Polar bears look adorable, but in fact, they are the largest living land carnivores and have to be treated with the utmost caution. Polar bears are extremely protective of their cubs and attack viciously when there is a perceived threat. It can easily kill a human with one swipe of its paw.
The second largest rodent in the world (after the capybara), the beaver is known as a cute animal that builds dams. Don’t be fooled, though; this creature can actually be very dangerous to humans. A fisherman in Belarus even died after he was attacked and bitten by an angry beaver.
Found in rivers and lakes all over the world, freshwater snails carry a parasite that causes the deadly disease schistosomiasis. It is estimated that the snails can thus kill about 10,000 people every year.
Weighing in up to 1 ton, the African buffalo is a large bovine armed with massive, curvy horns. Considered one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, the buffalo has a reputation for circling back on their pursuers and counter-attacking.
If you pay attention to any nature show, it should be no surprise that leopard seals can be quite aggressive. However, did you know that they have been known to actively hunt humans? While it’s not the norm, there are reports of it happening.
Like many animals on this list, moose may look friendly (and even look like they’re smiling), but it’s best to leave them alone. When threatened, they will aggressively charge; they’ve even been said to attack more people than bears do.
Great Horned Owl
Owls of all kinds have been known to attack people when defending their young, mates, or territories. Frequent targets include unsuspecting joggers and hikers. A large owl commonly found in the Americas, the great horned owl is a particularly dangerous owl species. It’s grip strength is five times that of a man and has been compared to the bite of a German shepherd.
Elephants are very intelligent, affectionate, and friendly animals, but when provoked or threatened, they can easily turn into ferocious beasts and defend themselves violently. Stamping and goring are the most common causes of deaths caused by these giant mammals.
This adorable animal, as you might expect from its name, looks like a cross between a fluffy black bear and an over-sized sloth. Native to India and Sri Lanka, they are said to maul at least one person per week. The bottom line: they don’t like humans. It’s best to stay away.
Horses have been our loyal and reliable companions for millennia, but these magnificent mammals can easily cause serious injury or even death. In Australia, for example, horses are responsible for more deaths annually than all the country’s venomous creatures put together.
As heartbreaking as it sounds, man’s best friend kills about 25,000 people every year. However, a vast majority of these deaths are not caused by vicious household pets but through rabies spread by infected stray dogs.
Photos: 25. GrrlScientist via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 24. pixabay (public domain), 23. Paul IJsendoorn via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 22. Richard Ling <[email protected]>, Textile cone, CC BY-SA 3.0, 21. Daniel Plumer via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 20. afrika force via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 19-18. pixabay (public domain), 17. Vinayaraj, Loris malabaricus 06, CC BY-SA 4.0, 16. pexels (public domain), 15. max pixel (public domain), 14. cuatrok77 via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 13. Nicor, Ostrich Ngorongoro 05, CC BY-SA 3.0, 12. pixabay (public domain), 11. US fish and wildlife service headquarters via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 10. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Beaver- Steve Hersey edit (16273141142), CC BY-SA 2.0, 9. wikimedia commons (public domain), 8. Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa, African buffalo or Cape buffalo, Syncerus caffer, with Red-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus erythrorhynchus, at Kruger National Park, South Africa (20960307111), CC BY 2.0, 7. Liam Quinn from Canada, Leopard Seal in Pléneau Bay, Antarctica (6058738561), CC BY-SA 2.0, 6. pixabay (public domain), 5. DickDaniels (http://carolinabirds.org/), Great-horned Owl RWD at CRC2, CC BY-SA 3.0, 4. pixabay (public domain), 3. Fotograf/Quelle: Petra Karstedt / www.Tiermotive.de (Kontakt: Wilfried Berns), Lippenbaer-24, CC BY-SA 2.0 DE, 2. pixabay (public domain), 1. max pixel (public domain)