Animals That Seem Docile But Are Actually Dangerous
When we encounter animals in the wild, first impressions can often be deceiving. There are some creatures that appear so harmless and cute that they instill a false sense of security in us.
However, beneath their seemingly gentle exterior, some of these animals can display unexpected dangers. From otters to beavers, moose, and more, we'll uncover the hidden traits that can turn seemingly gentle animals into potential human hazards.
Dolphins' intelligence and sociable demeanor (as well as countless friendly depictions in movies and TV shows) have captivated humans for decades, leading to their captivity in marine parks, aquariums and use in "swim-with-the-dolphins" attractions.
While dolphins are typically not aggressive toward humans, there have been instances of them displaying hostility towards swimmers.
Scientists believe that dolphins find swimming alongside humans to be stressful, as it disrupts their normal behavior and can make them aggressive.
Kangaroos pretty much keep to themselves unless they feel threatened, but once they do, you should get moving. As you can see in the photo above they are solid muscle with large claws, standing 6 to 7 feet tall. They also love to spar with other kangaroos as well as humans.
Should you see one standing in water, more trouble awaits you. Roos typically escape to water when being chased by dogs or dingos and have the height and upper-body strength to kill any animal that enters the water. Owners typically follow, hoping to save their dogs, but a few have been killed in the process.
Recently one man, a martial arts instructor, did fight a kangaroo in the water to save his dog and made it out alive (as did his pet) but even he suffered quite a few scratches.
Your furbaby may not mean to hurt you, but it can. A cat scratch, while painful, is usually harmless in healthy people, but at least 40 percent of felines carry the bacterium Bartonella henselae in their mouths or under their claws. This is known as "cat scratch fever" and is just one of several viruses, parasites or bacteria cats can carry.
If a cat with Bartonella henselae breaks the skin or licks an injury on you (a sore or scab), then the bacterium may be transferred to you and make you sick. Symptoms vary, ranging from fever and stomach problems to rashes or something more serious.
The slow loris is one of the few venomous primates. They have glands in their elbows that produce a toxic secretion. When threatened, they may lick or rub this toxin onto their sharp teeth. If one bites a human and the toxin enters the bloodstream, it could potentially cause pain and severe allergic reactions.
However, fatalities from slow loris bites are extremely rare. The slow loris is illegal to own in the U.S. but is a sought-after pet in some other countries.
Swans live mostly peaceful, graceful lives in or near water, but when they feel threatened, they can end you.
In 2012, a condominium complex worker, Anthony Hensley, had inadvertently approached a pair of swans by kayaking while he was attacked. One of the swans, likely guarding a nest, launched an attack, causing the kayak to overturn and Hensley to drown. Geese are also known to attack when guarding a nest.
Unless you live in Central and South America, you're not bound to run into a giant anteater, but if you do find yourself in these locales, you may see one.
Giant anteaters are primarily insectivorous and use their long tongues to feed on ants and termites. While they have sharp claws, these are mainly used for digging into termite mounds or ant nests.
They are not known for being dangerous to humans, but they can't see very well and are startled easily. If they feel threatened, they may use their lengthy front claws, which can be as long as pocketknives, to defend themselves. Two incidents of fatal attacks by giant anteaters were documented in Brazil in 2010 and 2012 — both men were gored and bled to death.
We've all run into deer at some point in our lives; they typically keep their distance from humans, running if we get too close.
Deer are herbivorous and typically docile, but in very rare circumstances, they have been known to become aggressive, particularly during their breeding season, known as the "rut." Male deer (bucks) may become more territorial as they compete for mates. This can lead to them charging people, or using their antlers to defend their territory.
Bats aren't inherently harmful, and they don't have a natural inclination to attack humans or feed on their blood.
However, they are linked to diseases such as rabies. If you discover a bat in your home, make an effort to safely capture it for testing. Testing the bat for rabies will help determine whether you require vaccination — their bites are so small, you may not even know you've been bitten.
Pandas are roly-poly, cute and often seen chewing on bamboo with not a care in the world — they couldn't possibly be harmful, right?
While you will likely never encounter one in the wild, they are still dangerous under the wrong circumstance. These solitary animals avoid confrontation as much as possible, but if they or their cubs are threatened they will lash out with their sharp teeth and claws.
There were three giant panda attack at the Beijing City Zoo in the past decade when patrons either fell in the enclosure or purposefully jumped in.
Everyone who sees a koala certainly wants to pet one ... because no more adorable animal exists. But when people hear the guttural, growing sounds they emit, they start to think twice. Yes, they look cuddly (and sometimes are), but koalas are still wild animals and will show aggression if they feel threatened.
While a koala is not big enough to kill a human, it will use sharp claws (normally used for climbing trees) to slash your skin. In 2006, four people broke into an Australian zoo to steal what they thought was a docile koala — it was so vicious, they decided instead on a crocodile.
One other crazy fact about koalas — their urine carries Chlamydia.
This adorable, solitary animal will not go out of its way to hurt someone and can't kill a human, but it can do a little damage.
The platypus doesn't have teeth, but can emit venom by wrapping its hind legs around its prey and forcefully thrusting its spurs into their flesh. The sting can lead to swelling and pain discomfort that may last for days or even weeks.
People with weakened immune systems may experience more severe symptoms with that pain, including nausea, cold sweats, low blood oxygen levels, hyperventilation, and even convulsions.
Because they are so much bigger than bears, moose cause more injuries in humans, than bears do. However, moose aren't aggressive by nature. They're the largest type of deer, and they are herbivores.
These gentle giants become more of a concern during the harsh winter months when their natural food sources become scarce. This is may venture into populated areas, seeking alternative food sources, like trash. Moose can become irritable when they're hungry, and if they can't find food when they need it, they might become aggressive.
Moose attacks are more common during the mating season in September and October and in early spring when mothers are safeguarding their calves.
Despite how cute and chubby they are, wombats may not seem dangerous at first glance, but they are surprisingly fast, capable of reaching speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and they do bite.
When startled, they will charge at people, potentially causing them to fall and suffer broken bones. One naturalist, Harry Frauca was bitten deeply into his leg even though he was wearing protective gear including a rubber boot, trousers, and thick wool socks.
They are adorable, solitary and love to be left alone. However, if a beaver feels trapped or cornered, it may attack.
These rodents possess sharp teeth that can cause significant injury and infection. Beavers can carry diseases like tularemia, parasites, and rabies, which can be transmitted through bites, contact with body fluids, or exposure to contaminated water.
Before launching an attack, beavers usually give warnings by growling and hissing. On land, a beaver may stand on its hind legs to face a threat, and in the water, it will alert others in its colony by slapping its tail against the surface before diving to safety.
Otters are generally not known to attack humans. They are playful and social, and their interactions with people are usually positive. However, they can become defensive or behave aggressively if they feel threatened.
In 2014, a 77-year-old woman swimming in a lake in Florida when she was attacked by a river otter, resulting in significant injuries. Another woman was bitten by a river otter in California while kayaking and it was discovered to be carrying the rabies virus.
There was also the recent instance of a sea otter attacking surfers off the coast of Santa Cruz, California. Otter 841 was known for interacting with surfers by hopping onto their their surfboards. It turns out she was pregnant and has just given birth to a new pup. The Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office stated that “hormonal surges related to pregnancy have been known to cause aggressive behavior in female southern sea otters."