Look at this cuddly little friend. And these happy jumpers. What do they have in common with this puffy fellow? Yes, they’re all adorable. But they could also end your life in seconds. If you’ve been watching our channel, you know death can come in unexpected ways. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the planet is trying to dispose of us. And every day it comes up with new creative, and sometimes adorable, ways to kill us. Today we’re going to show you five deadly creatures hidden behind a deceptive exterior. Which animal’s yawn is a death threat? Who has enough venom to kill 30 humans? And which one could beat you in a boxing match?
Number 5. Hippos
This chubby baby may look adorable, but it will grow up to be a 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) killing machine. Hippos are highly aggressive and territorial. They kill about 500 people in Africa each year. Don’t let that heavy body fool you. They can move dangerously fast in both water and on land. In 2014, a hippo attacked a boat in a river in Niamey, the capital of Niger. It carried 18 students all under the age of 13. Twelve of them died, along with a villager. If you are ever in hippo territory, make sure to keep at least 50 m (164 ft) away from them. A clear warning sign of an impending attack is when they start with what looks to be an innocent yawn. This is actually a threatening display and a sign that you’re too close. A hippo can outrun you, so if it charges try to climb a tree or put an obstacle in its path.
Number 4. Kangaroos
These lovable hoppers can melt your heart. And break your jaw. They are nearly 2 m (6 ft) tall and they’re used to boxing with each other. They can lean back on their tail like a third leg, giving them extra balance to fight. If you are ever attacked by a kangaroo, make sure to protect your head and face with your arms. You can also try to roll into a ball while protecting your torso and chest. Their kicks can be strong enough to puncture through organs. The red kangaroo can hit speeds of 56 km/h (35 mph), so outrunning them is not an option. Your safest bet is to throw your food or an object to distract it, then get inside a house or car.
Number 3. Puffer Fish
Don’t trust that smile. This happy-looking fish can cause a horrible death. They produce a toxin called tetrodotoxin. And just one puffer fish has enough to kill 30 adults. Go ahead and cook it, boil it or freeze it. This stuff will still be deadly. So when you ingest it, the venom acts quickly and paralyzes your diaphragm. This can make you suffocate. Other symptoms include nausea, diarrhea and numbness of the face. Despite the risk, puffer fish is still considered a delicacy. If you want to try it, make sure wherever you are eating has a chef trained in how to prepare it safely. If you start to notice any symptoms of poisoning, go straight to the hospital. Tell doctors that you have eaten puffer fish, also called fugu or blowfish. You will likely be put on a ventilator to help you breathe. If you survive the first 24 hours, you will begin to expel the toxin in your urine on the way to recovering.
Number 2. Pandas
We tend to think of pandas as huggable black and white giants. But they’re still bears. Even if they’re primarily herbivores, they will attack a human if they feel threatened. Their claws are retractable and can easily slice through skin. Have you seen what they do to bamboo? Yeah, better keep your arms and legs away. In 2009, Zhang Jiao fell into a panda enclosure at the Beijing Zoo. Inside, a panda named Gu Gu attacked immediately, biting his left foot and leg. Zookeepers had to pry open the bear’s jaws, which were dripping with Jiao’s blood at this point.
Zhang survived, but he suffered severe muscle and ligament tears.
Number 1. Dolphins
If you’re a pop culture fanatic, it might surprise you to know that dolphins can sometimes kill for no apparent reason. These massive mammals are powerful swimmers. And their unpredictability makes them dangerous. In 2019, a 10-year-old girl was vacationing with her family at the Dolphin Discovery in Cancun, Mexico. She was swimming with two dolphins who suddenly attacked and dragged her underwater. She managed to survive by holding on to her bodyboard until trainers could reach her. She lived, but was pulled from the water covered in bites and bruises. If you encounter dolphins, make sure to always approach them from the side rather than the front or rear. This way it can reduce your odds of startling them or appearing threatening. If you are swimming with them, try to keep your time to about 30 minutes. Dolphins in captivity may be understimulated and experience emotional neglect. This can make them aggressive toward humans.
Now that you know danger can come in many forms, we hope you don’t get fooled by other adorable creatures.
- Top 10 Cute Animals That Can Actually Kill You (2019). NewVerest.
- 33 Adorable Animals That Are Actually Deadly. Greenwald, M. (2019). Best Life.
- 15 Cute Animals That Could Kill You. Nelson, B. (2022). Treehugger.
- 10 adorable animals that are more dangerous than they look. Attride, T. (2018). Business Insider.
- Spotted a whale? Here’s what to do. Ocean Wise (2021). West Coast Traveller.