25 Dangerous Looking Animals That Are Relatively Harmless

Posted by , Updated on June 20, 2024

Animals come in all shape and sizes. Some are cuddly, cute, and overall pleasing to look at. However, there are those animals which sport some of the most frightening appearances you would ever hope to imagine. But just because some of these animals look dangerous, does not mean that they are. From disturbingly large spiders to alien-like deep sea creatures with outrageously long, protruding teeth, check out these 25 dangerous looking animals that are relatively harmless to humans.



Goliath birdeater

Goliath birdeater

It’s a spider! Burn it with fire right? Considered the largest spider in the world, the goliath birdeater does have venom but its bite hardly compares to the sting of a wasp. In fact, their menacing look is way more dangerous then anything these spiders could do to you.


Whale shark

Whale shark

Talking about outrageous size, the whale shark is the world´s largest fish reaching a length of almost 13 m (over 40 ft). In spite of its incredible proportion these truly are gentle giants. Some young whale sharks are even known to play with divers.


Thorny dragon

Thorny dragon

This Australian lizard has a terrifying first impression. Armored with an array of intimidating spikes, the thorny dragon only grows up to 20 cm (8 inches) and eats ants. Aside from the fact that it will shoot blood at you from its eyes if threatened, there’s no need to fear this little guy.


Chinese giant salamander


Reaching a length of up to 1.8 m (6 ft), the Chinese giant salamander is the largest amphibian in the world. Despite its scary appearance and size, it only feeds on insects, frogs, crabs and small fish. Because of massive over-hunting, this animal is now critically endangered.


Vampire bat


Vampire bats have a particularly fearsome reputation. It’s true, they suck blood and only come out at night but they prefer feeding on cattle and other animals. Human bites are very rare. Needless to say if the bite does occur, it won´t transform you into anything.


Marine hatchetfish


What looks like someone´s worst nightmare is actually a small deep-sea mesopelagic ray-finned fish found in tropical and subtropical  waters. Reaching about 12 cm (4.7 inch) in length, this little critter can’t harm anyone.




Apart from its disturbingly scary appearance, these little lemurs native to Madagascar are sometimes also considered death harbingers. But the fact remains, these nocturnal, fruit-eating primates pose no danger to humans.


Whip scorpion


What looks like a combination between a spider and a scorpion, the whip scorpion is in the arachnid order similar to true scorpions. No matter how scary these guys can seem to you (and admittedly they are indeed scary looking), the fact is they rarely reach more than 3 cm (1.2 inch) in length and have no venom glands. They do however, spray a combination of acetic acid and caprylic acid when they are bothered. But this hardly compares to a true scorpion sting.


European yellow-tailed scorpion

European yellow-tailed scorpion

Talking about scorpions, only about 25 out of 1750 known species have venom capable of killing a human being. Measuring about 4.5 cm (1.8 in) in length, the European yellow-tailed scorpion is one the least harmful to us. Despite its fearsome look, this scorpion´s sting feels more like a bee´s sting than anything else.


Giant African millipede

Giant African millipedeImage: Matt Reinbold, CC License 2.0

The giant African millipede is one the largest millipedes in the world. This tropical, 256-legged arthropod only feeds on decomposing vegetation and organic materials. In some countries, people even keep it as a pet.




Another terrifying creature living deep in the ocean, the wolfish is a bottom-feeding fish that can measure more than 2 m (6.6 ft). But humans don’t need to fear its powerful jaws; the fish only uses its strong canine and molar teeth to crush small invertebrates and crustaceans.




With a wingspan of over 3 m (10 ft), vultures have one of the most fearsome reputations among all birds. They are huge and look extremely intimidating but they are scavengers, which means they feed on things that are already dead and are totally harmless to you. As long as you are alive, at least.




Also known as gavial or fish-eating crocodile, the gharial is a giant, critically endangered reptile now only living in certain regions of India and Nepal. The animal´s teeth look formidable but in fact, its thin and fragile jaws are incapable of eating anything too large (say like a human).


Milk snake

Milk snake

Milk snakes are famous for their striking similarity to the extremely venomous coral snake, a mimicry that serves to scare away predators. In spite of it’s similarity to the Coral Snake, the milk snake is completely harmless.


Sea pig

This high definition video framegrab was taken from MBARI's ROV "Doc Ricketts" aboard the R/V Western Flyer at a depth of approximately 1260 meters on March 9, 2010.

At first glance, the sea pig is a bizarre-looking and freaky creature for sure. But when you get to know this tiny (just a few inches long) blind mud-eating creature which lives 1,000 m (3,300 ft) deep in the ocean, you’ll come to realize, there really is nothing to fear.


Manta ray

Manta ray

Measuring up to 7 m (23 feet), manta rays are large eagle rays found in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters. Historically, these amazing animals were feared for their enormous size and power. Nevertheless, manta rays have been proven to be gentle, docile and sometimes even playful animals.


Wrinkle-faced bat

WrinkledfaceImage: Allen Gathman CC license 2.0

What looks like a nightmarish monster from a sci-fi movie is actually a little, totally harmless, fruit-eating bat native to some countries in Central and South America.


Basking shark

Basking shark

The world´s second largest living shark after the whale shark, the basking shark looks even scarier than his bigger relative but this gentle giant poses no threat to us, non whatsoever. Its enormous, widely open mouth filters water in order to catch plankton, invertebrates and small fish.


Camel spider


Victim to a host of urban legends which include myths of camel disembowelment, feeding on sleeping humans, and powerful venomous bites, the Camel spider is guilty of non of these accusations. Although it looks scary and dangerous, it is not a venomous animal and though its bite might be painful, is not medically significant.


Pit bull


Suffering from an inflated reputation of being an aggressive and dangerous dog, pit-bulls are actually smart, loyal, and overall good pets. As with any dog, proper socializing is needed.


Hercules beetle


Reaching up to an incredible 17 cm (7 inch) and capable of lifting more than 80 times its own weight, the Hercules beetle is the largest rhino beetle. Equipped with extremely powerful horns, the beetles often engage in ferocious fights among themselves but are generally harmless to people.


Giant isopod

Giant isopodImage: Damien du Toit CC License 2.0

A great example of deep-sea gigantism, the giant isopod is up to 36 cm (14 inch) long and is usually found hundreds of meters deep in the ocean. Despite its creepy alien-like appearance, it’s completely harmless.


Frilled shark

Frilled sharkImage: Mario Sánchez Bueno CC License 2.0

Living as deep as 1,570 m (5150 feet) in the ocean, the frilled shark is another sea creature you will probably never encounter and even if you do, will probably not see you as a potential meal. The only known cases of the frilled shark causing some harm to people are scientists who have accidentally cut themselves examining the shark´s teeth.


Sand tiger shark

Sand tiger shark

Inhabiting subtropical and temperate waters worldwide, the sand tiger shark does look dangerous due to its relatively large size and sharp slender teeth but there hasn’t been any case of a fatality caused by this shark species. These slow creatures are generally peaceful and hardly ever attack people.


Humpback anglerfish

Humpback anglerfish

Found in tropical to temperate waters at depths to 2,000 m (6,600 ft), the humpback anglerfish is a scary-looking for sure. It lures its prey with a bizarre glowing antenna sticking out from its forehead. In spite of its ghoulish looks, this deep sea dweller is not actively after human flesh.