From that terrifying swan at your local park to psychopathic bottlenose dolphins, we count twenty cute and cuddly animals that will send you to an early grave if given the chance!
20 – Hedgehog,
- Sonic may seem look a cool guy who’ll help anyone out of a jam but, as a hedgehog, he’s really just a deadly jerk in cute packaging.
- Hedgehogs may be super adorable and, yes, they are practically begging to have their soft underbellies tickled, but you might want to think twice about touching them as they can do more damage than simply pricking your finger.
- You see, while Hedgehogs don’t have naturally poisonous spines, they coat their spines with their foamy saliva, which can cause possible infections – and ultimately poison. Left untreated, this can even bring down a human.
19 – Beaver,
- The industrious beaver may seem one of the friendlier members of the animal kingdom, but its powerful tail and huge razor-sharp teeth that never stop growing make it a serious threat to humans.
- Beavers are the second largest rodent in the world and have been known to attack anyone foolish enough to encroach on their territory, including canoeists, swimmers and even walkers. They aren’t above attacking groups of girl scouts either.
- One reported beaver attacks involved a fisherman in Belarus who died when a beaver severed his femoral artery. A half-dozen dogs were also sent to an Alaskan emergency vet for stitches after a series of vicious attacks.
- The Beaver Hotel may seem a nice place to stay, but pack some body armour because beavers – especially rabid ones – are crazy. They just don’t give a dam.
18 – Leopard Seal,
- Leopard seals look like some goofy plush toy you’d win at the claw game of your local arcade, but they’re actually lethal hunters whose killing abilities rival the dreaded killer whale.
- These slippery assassins mostly eat fish, penguins and other seals, but they’ll also down a human swimmer or two on their dieting ‘cheat’ days.
- Hidden behind oh-so-pinchable cheeks is a row of one-inch canines, which are awesome for piercing the flesh of their prey, but useless at making bite-size pieces. To get around this, leopard seals repeatedly bash their victims’ bodies on the water’s surface to tear off digestible chunks. Hence why their feeding time looks like a gruesome mass-murder scene.
17 – Swan,
- Getting chased by a swan is a terrifying rite of passage for all children who visit parks. Swans are basically the great white sharks of the duckpond. They’re furiously aggressive and will not hesitate to bite off every last one of your appendages to protect their territory.
- In Ireland, university rowing teams are regularly forced to cancel practice because of swans in the river. That’s right, even big burly rowing dudes are terrified of swans.
- It’s hard to believe swans are considered a symbol of elegance – especially when they chase their victims to the car park and mock them with their incessant honking. So demoralising.
16 – Hippopotamus,
- In cartoons, hippos are super friendly comedy characters who love to dance up on their hind legs.
- Unfortunately it turns out that, in the real world, hippos murder at the terrifying rate of 300 people a year. They’re super serious about guarding their territory. It’s kind of a full-time job for them.
- When you crunch the numbers, hippos are responsible for more human deaths than any other non-human mammal, and they use their imposing two-tonne body weight and bowling pin-size teeth to get the job done.
15 – Pufferfish,
- Pufferfish are the squeak toys of the ocean. These derpy-looking little guys look so cute and friendly. When threatened, they’ll expand to roughly three times their size to show you they mean business, but this will probably just make your smile grow even larger.
- What won’t make you smile is the potent poison they secrete within their tiny little spines. This neurotoxin can easily kill a human, and pufferfish are considered the second most poisonous vertebrae on the planet.
- Pufferfish is considered a delicacy in Asia because what’s fine dining without a little risk of death?