One would be terrified to come across a huge, roaring bear standing at its full height with claws raised and its mouth open. However, there are animals that are even scarier than bears, lions, and tigers. It brings to mind the famous quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. These terrifying creatures are not that well-known but they exist on the earth, from the deep-sea Dragon fish to the man-sized bats. These scary animals have managed to survive predators and extinction at the hands of humans due to their scary looks. It is this endurance that makes these animals and creatures fascinating. Listed below are some of these animals:
- Vampire Squid
The vampire squids are equated to vampires because of their blood-red color. Though their name may sound blood-thirsty to some, these creatures are actually scavengers, not predators. They are also not squids. They are cephalopods who may be an ancient link between the squid and the octopus. Scientists have theorized that vampire squids are extremely ancient and represent some of the only living descendants of the 200-million-year-old common ancestors of both the octopus and the squid.
These creatures are most active in the deepest parts of the ocean where there is a very scarce amount of oxygen. They eat what is known as ‘marine snow’ which sounds good but is actually a precipitation of corpses, snot, and excreta that comes on them. There are no predators at the depths where the Vampire squids live and hence, they are free to live there. They are quite creepy in appearance, especially when they move their webbed tentacles over their head like a mask. But with their bright blue eyes and other parts which glow with bioluminescence, they look beautiful though in a weird way. Vampire squids are no threats to humans and look more dangerous than they actually are.
- Cape Buffalo
The Cape Buffalo or Wild Buffalo is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous animals in Africa due to its gigantic horns. They stand five feet tall at the shoulder and have heavy, curved horns. They are one of the ‘big five’ African game species along with the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, and elephant. They are sometimes referred to as ‘the black death’ as they ambush and attack their pursuers when they are wounded. The Cape Buffalo can weigh up to a massive 2,000 pounds and are definitely very powerful and therefore scary animals. A Cape Buffalo can easily lift and toss a lion into the air to protect its calf from the latter. Formerly found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, now they’re becoming near-threatened on the conservation scale because of the destruction of their habitat. They are involved in many cases of man-animal conflict due to their aggressive nature and because they trample upon crops and spread disease to domestic livestock. The Cape Buffalo is indeed as dangerous as they look.
- Huntsman Spider
The giant huntsman spider has a leg span of up to 12 inches. It is one of the most fearful arachnids on the Earth as not only are they large, but are also very fast. They move so quickly that they do not have to bother to weave webs for hunting their prey. They instead go to their victims with their bared pincers. They can kill creatures like insects to the ones as large as possums.
- Deep-Sea Dragon Fish
The deep-sea dragon fish grabs its prey floating past it by using its fangs, some 1600 feet in the ocean depths. Their fangs are made of crystal particles that are nanoscale in size. The average size of this species is three and a half inches in length. Though they aren’t huge, they are still scary for humans. These fish have evolved a sensory system that can detect even the smallest movements in the dark depths of the ocean.
- California Condor
The California Condor is the biggest wild bird in North America and is even bigger than the Bald Eagle, the national bird, and symbol of the US. The California Condor is a scavenger that searches for carrion on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean, forests in the mountains of California, and nest in caves on the faces of cliffs. They were the first species to be filed under the Endangered Species Act in the US in 1973 as at one point they were almost eliminated from the Pacific Northwest region of the US. However, they have been brought back from the brink of extinction due to largely a breeding facility in the US state of Oregon.
The Gharial is among the longest of all existing crocodilian species. They presently inhabit rivers in the plains of the northern Indian subcontinent and are the most aquatic of the species, leaving the water only for basking in the sun and building nests to lay their eggs. They don’t chew their prey, but rather just swallow it whole.
- Giant Amazonian Centipede
The Giant Amazonian Centipede is among the largest centipede species found in the world. Their length is about a foot. They are found in northern South America and are carnivores that can eat any other animal that they can overpower. Their prey includes scorpions, tarantulas, small lizards, snakes, frogs, birds, mice, bats. They are also reported to have killed a four-year-old child in Venezuela.
- Hamadryas Baboon
The hamadryas baboons were revered by the Ancient Egyptians and are therefore called Sacred Baboons sometimes. They exist in the form of a patriarchy. The male baboons restrict the movement of the females by using visual threats, bites, or grabbing the females to keep them in line. The males can sometimes steal females from the harems of other males, resulting in aggressive fights. They are currently extinct in Egypt but can still be found in Somalia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
The Aye-aye is the world’s largest nocturnal primate and is a long-fingered lemur from the African island of Madagascar. It has perpetually growing rodent-like teeth. The aye-aye grows its middle finger much longer than its other fingers to reach grubs that burrow inside trees. Their eyes glow and look ghostly.
- Komodo Dragon
Komodo dragons are found only on a few Indonesian islands: Rintja, Padar, Flores, and Komodo. Male dragons can grow to 10 feet in length, weigh 150 pounds, and eat up to 80% of their own weight at one time. They rarely attack humans. But if they do, they can easily kill humans.
- Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox
The Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox has a wingspan of up to five and a half feet. These bats are also called ‘Megabats’ and can look terrifying. However, they only eat fruits. They are found in the jungles of the Philippines and are the largest species of bats in the world. They live in colonies that can have up to 10,000 members.
- Marabou Stork
The Marabou Stork is a massive creature that has one of the biggest wingspans of any living bird. They can reach a height of 60 inches and weigh up to 20 pounds. They are considered to be bad-tempered and are scavengers. They consume mainly carrion and scraps. Their naked heads are probably an adaptation resulting from evolution as the feathers on their heads would become clotted with blood and gore while eating in a large corpse.
- Fangtooth Fish
The fierce-looking deep-sea Fangtooth fish can live at depths of 16,400 feet in tropical waters across the world. They have mouths full of pointy teeth for catching and gripping their prey. They migrate towards the water’s surface at night. They are also more active than other deep-sea creatures in hunting prey.
- Visored Bat
Visored Bats are rare and found in the Amazon basin and throughout tropical South America. Their bodies are about two and a half inches long. The male bats have an unusual feature which is a large fold of skin on the neck which can be pulled up over the face as a mask while they are sleeping. The female bats also have this feature. But it is smaller and non-functional in them.
- Shoebill Stork
The shoebill stork is one of the fiercest birds found in the animal kingdom. It has a dense beak that measures around seven inches in length and is also similarly wide sometimes. The shoebill stork can easily cut a lungfish measuring six feet in a single strike and had also been known to fight crocodiles.
- Proboscis Monkey
The Proboscis Monkey, an endangered species, is only found on the island of Borneo in Indonesia and Malaysia. It is most known for its pronounced brow and bulbous, floppy nose. However, only the males have the peculiar noses. These monkeys are easygoing by nature despite their strange looks.
- Tube-Nosed Bat
The tube-nosed bat is found in Queensland, Australia, and is considered to be ‘demonic’ though they are hardly that. They are considered to be ‘megabats’ because of their large size. They are found in the far north of the state of Queensland and are the only species of the bat family to roost alone.
- Naked Mole Rat
The naked mole rat is a hairless, burrowing rodent that lives underground in East Africa. These creatures are the only example of a cold-blooded mammal as well as the only mammal which lives in a bee-like hierarchy where only a few get to mate with the queen and the rest are workers. Though they aren’t large, the appearance of teeth outside their actual mouths gives them a strange and fearful appearance.
- Black Mamba Snake
The black mamba is one of the world’s deadliest snakes and has a fearsome appearance that is intimidating. These snakes can inject 12 times the venom needed to kill a human in a bite. They are also known to bite 12 times in a single attack which can make the victim go into a shock. They are found in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Wolf Fish
The Wolf Fish or Wolf Eels are powerful predators which can reach five feet in length and live in the cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. They have powerful jaws on their gigantic heads with large canine teeth which are too big for even their mouths. Their prey consists of hard-bodied or spiny invertebrates like crabs and sea urchins.
- Pacific Lamprey
They start their lives in freshwater streams around the rim of the Pacific Ocean. They are found in waters off Japan, Russia, Alaska to California, and Baja California in Mexico. They migrate from freshwater to the ocean and back. They appeared in the fossil record 450 million years ago. Their most prominent feature is a mouth that doesn’t have jaws, and which sucks other fish and ocean mammals to feed on their blood and body fluids. However, though this is difficult to imagine, it does not harm the host in the long term.
- Blue-Ringed Octopus
Though all octopuses are poisonous to some extent, the toxins in a single Blue-Ringed Octopus’s bite are enough to kill 26 humans. These creatures are native to the Pacific Ocean and measure six inches. Their blue color looks psychedelic and they live in coral reefs and on the sandy bottoms of shallow tide pools. Their blue markings appear only when they are threatened. Their venom doesn’t have any known antidote.
- Brown Coconut Crab
Coconut crabs are found across tropical forests on the coast of the Indo-Pacific, African Islands, and the Eastern Pacific Ocean. They can grow up to three feet in length and have a very strong grip which they use to lift prey that is equal to the size of a 65-pound child. They are also predators of large seabirds and rats. They also inhabit Nikumaroro Island, which is one of the uninhabited Phoenix Islands. These crabs are also rumored to have possibly killed the famous American woman aviator Amelia Earhart, who disappeared in the 1930s while flying across the world.
- Goblin Shark
Goblin sharks are found in the ocean at depths of more than 4,000 feet. They have been reported off many coasts in the Atlantic Ocean, but the far majority have been found off the coasts of Japan. They are known to protrude their jaws unnaturally to catch their prey. Another interesting fact about them is that goblin shark females feed their unborn young with nutrients from their unfertilized eggs.
- Zombie Fish
Zombie Fish, also known as the Northern Stargazers, is a kind of fish which have eyes on top of their heads, an upward-facing mouth, and an eerie type of face. They live in both shallow and deep salt waters across the world. They bury themselves in the ocean floor and leap out to ambush prey with their two venomous spines which are located above their pectoral fins.