As humans, we tend to find small animals endearing and adorable, often feeling the urge to carry them with us. However, it’s worth noting that some of the tiniest creatures in existence can be incredibly perilous. In fact, creatures like poison dart frogs and blue-ringed octopuses may be diminutive in size, but they hold the power to completely eradicate humans. We’ve assembled a list of these species for your consideration.
The pufferfish, which is known for its adorable chubby appearance when feeling anxious, is possibly the most adorable fish found in the sea. Although it may seem endearing and bristly, it conceals a potent toxin capable of killing an adult human.
The poison is tremendously powerful and is recognized as one of the deadliest poisons worldwide. However, there’s no need to be anxious as it can only harm you if you eat it. So, that’s a relief!
Ticks can cause a lot of trouble and anxiety for any individual who owns a dog. These creatures can cause pain to your beloved pet, and eliminating them is a constant challenge. Moreover, ticks are challenging to detect, and there is a possibility that they can exist for an extended period before they are detected. What makes the situation even worse is that it’s not just about the potential danger of Lyme disease for humans but also for dogs.
Regrettably, the situation becomes significantly more severe because tick paralysis originates from a harmful neurotoxin present in the salivary gland of these insects. This can lead to respiratory complications that can become extremely hazardous if not addressed swiftly.
The Deathstalker scorpion aptly lives up to its name as it is considered the most lethal type of scorpion across the globe. Its sting is excruciatingly painful and can lead to severe repercussions if not promptly treated.
The scorpion is naturally found in East and Northern Africa as well as throughout the Middle East. If you happen to encounter one in the United States, it’s best to avoid being stung because it may be difficult to find the necessary anti-venom.
Predatory Cone Snail
Snails are usually not considered harmful, however, unexpected things can happen in nature. The cone snail is an example of a snail that has caused the death of over 30 people and is quite dangerous.
They’re a reef-dwelling species that is able to unleash a harpoon-like tooth to sting its prey. Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for the venom, so try not to swim into any of these guys.
Japanese Giant Hornet
The huge hornets have a potential size of two inches and are infamous for their dangerous character and stingers measuring 0.2 inches. Their stingers contain venom that is potent enough to cause harm to any person, and approximately 40 individuals in Japan are stung by them annually.
Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that they exclusively inhabit Japan, hence if you are situated anywhere else across the globe, you need not worry about their maliciousness. After perusing this information, we are not particularly thrilled to travel to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Let’s return to the subject of tiny adorable creatures, specifically the blue-ringed octopus with its striking blue spots. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that the most beautiful creatures can also be the most dangerous and should be avoided.
The venom produced by blue-ringed octopi is amongst the most perilous in the ocean. However, it is fortunate that they tend to be mild-mannered creatures and have a preference for preying on crustaceans.
Safari ants, also known as siafu, are not just small and bothersome insects that can spoil your outdoor meal. Their jaws are exceptionally powerful – to the point where they are utilized as makeshift stitches by tribal fighters in East Africa.
These insects are wanderers by nature and tend to move in extensive columns that can encompass thousands of individual ants. Furthermore, they feed on meat and exhibit hostile behavior, resulting in extremely painful bites that are recognized as some of the most excruciating in existence.
These men seem to have stepped out of a science fiction film and are just as strange in reality. The sea slug known as the blue dragon spends a significant amount of time floating above the water and has stinging nematocysts.
These are minute missiles that are deployed to kill prey and deter predators, which can be both fascinating and scary at the same time. Oh my goodness!
Pfeffer’s Flamboyant Cuttlefish
Despite its small size of about three inches, the flamboyant cuttlefish’s muscle tissue is highly toxic, despite its impressive name.
In case you plan to travel to Australia, it is advisable to refrain from biting these creatures. Also, it would be wise to make it a general principle to avoid biting small animals as they may pose unforeseeable threats.
Brown Recluse Spider
Despite black widows usually being the most widely recognized and infamous harmful spiders, the brown recluse is almost equally lethal and significantly more prevalent.
They’re not the most aggressive spiders in the world, but getting bitten by one really, really sucks. Their chomps cause your skin cells to decay, which results in vacuous pits that can be quite serious if left untreated.
Malo Kingi Jellyfish
The malo kingi jellyfish comes from the Irukandju family of jellyfish and is often referred to as the “kingslayer.” They earned this title after a man by the name of Robert King was stung by one off the coast of Northern Australia — unfortunately, he did not live to tell the tale.
While they are smaller than your fingernail, the sting these guys deliver has one of the most potent venoms in the world, causing severe pain and vomiting.
Poison Dart Frog
These frogs are certainly quite cute, but they are unbelievably dangerous. They secrete a highly potent toxin through their skin. Indigenous peoples in South and Central America have been known to run their darts and arrows on these frogs to give them a poisoned tip.
This is one beautiful creature you should definitely stear clear of. What we’re saying here is that if you ever happen to touch a poison dart frog, accidentally or otherwise, seek help immediately.
Bats are super cute, and while many of them are essential for the ecosystems of our planet, they carry some very unpleasant diseases.
Rabies is probably the most common one bats are known to carry, and we don’t need to go into detail about why you don’t want to get rabies. So, no matter how much they may resemble cute puppies with wings, try not to get too close to a wild bat.
Red Widow Spider
Red widows, interestingly enough, are members of the black widow family. They are found commonly in Florida and can reach up to an inch and a half in size — that might not sound like much, but it’s big when you’re face to face with one!
The adults enjoy snacking on large insects and crickets, and their venom is said to be more powerful than that of the rattlesnake. If you get bitten by one, prepare for muscle weakness, vomiting, and profuse sweating.
Also known as the tik-tik fly, this is a dangerous bloodsucker that can be found throughout tropical Africa. They look quite similar to horse flies but could not be more different.
They transmit sleeping sickness in humans, which causes a whole host of unpleasant symptoms, like fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, and a high fever. This disease can have dire consequences if left untreated.
There are around eight different species of mouse spiders in Australia. These little guys are characterized by their large fangs and short, thick legs. Unfortunately, they’re quite aggressive and will not hesitate to bite when provoked.
Getting nibbled by one of these critters can cause serious pain and illness, coughing, muscle weakness, sweating, and difficulty breathing!
Mosquitos are by no means cute, but they’re certainly small and can be pretty treacherous. While they won’t send you to meet your maker with just their bite, they do carry diseases that cause serious harm to people around the world.
For example, malaria is one of the most dangerous diseases that mosquitoes carry, though they are also known to carry Yellow Fever and dengue.
Australian Box Jellyfish
The Australian box jellyfish has harmed more than 60 people in the past century in their native country, so it’s no surprise they made it onto this list. They pack an incredibly potent venom that can cause muscle spasms, headaches, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
You definitely don’t want to encounter one of these when you’re out in the water! So, if you think you see a particularly small plastic bag floating around in the water, think twice before deciding to go pick it up.
These fish belong to the scorpionfish family and tend to make their homes in tropical waters and worldwide aquariums. Their venom is highly poisonous, and while their unique texture may make you want to touch them, you should avoid doing so at all costs.
They can cause difficulty breathing, swelling, bleeding, pain, and more. Ouch. They’re also masters of disguise and tend to resemble rocks to the untrained eye — go reef diving with extra caution next time!
Africanized Honey Bee
The Africanized honey bee is also referred to as the ‘killer’ bee, and quite appropriately. They are highly temperamental, spanning over Central and South America and into the United States.
Even if you don’t provoke them, they may still attack you. Like other bees, they perish after stinging their victims, but you’ll be left with a pretty painful wound.
While the boomslang isn’t tiny when fully extended, it could fit into a breadbox when coiled up, which is what makes it so dangerous. Their name translates to ‘tree snake,’ and for good reason — they enjoy making their homes in the trees of sub-Saharan savannas.
They pack a wide-mouthed toxic bite that causes renal failure and bleeding, and their venom is highly dangerous, even in small doses. Boomslangs come in various colors, with the most common being brown and green. They’re particularly difficult to see in trees.
The slow loris might resemble a cute stuffed animal, but you should definitely think twice before you decide to go cuddling this primate. They produce a toxin at their elbows that is transferred to their mouths by licking.
This toxin causes a severe allergic reaction in us humans, and while you might only experience painful swelling, untreated reactions could have some serious repercussions. So, if you come across one of these fellas, it’s best just to keep your distance.
The sea wasp is a species of jellyfish that is found in the Indo-Pacific region. Their stings are highly dangerous and extremely painful and could easily put a human in a hospital.
It’s so potent, in fact, that a human can become paralyzed just 30 seconds after exposure, and if you’re in the water when this happens, it could spell your doom. The worst part? They’re translucent and thus very difficult to spot before it’s too late.
Indian Red Scorpion
The Indian red scorpion is widely thought to be the most dangerous of the 1500 species of scorpion lurking on our planet. Unfortunately for us, these guys seek shelter in exactly the same places we do, and their sting can wipe you out if not treated promptly.
The venom these scorpions inject is said to cause respiratory paralysis and cardiovascular abnormalities that make life very difficult for anyone unlucky enough to encounter one.
Brazilian Wandering Spider
In addition to being one of the most terrifying-looking spiders on the planet, the Brazilian wandering spider delivers a bite that can cause hypothermia, vertigo, convulsions, shock, and more. They’re found mostly in South America, but a few have been discovered as stowaways in banana shipping crates.
Their venom targets the neuromuscular system, though there is an anti-venom. More good news is that they have only taken ten victims in recorded history.
These are some truly beautiful caterpillars, but their stings can cause blood clots and hemorrhaging in their victims. Lucky for us, there is a serum that has reduced the number of lost lives caused by their toxins.
There is bad news, though. They are sometimes found in clusters and are masters of camouflage. So, if you accidentally touch more than one, you’re not going to have a great time.
Harvester ants are tiny, but they come for their victims in swarms, injecting poison with each bite. A few minutes after a bite, people report intense, fiery pain in the area.
The affected area turns a deep red, after which a sticky, watery secretion begins to eject from the skin. The excruciating pain can last all day and well into the night, though it is easily treatable and not a life-threatening affliction.
Mishandling this dangerous critter can land you some dead skin tissue, but that’s not nearly as bad as what happens to the assassin bug’s prey. They produce two different kinds of venom.
The primary variant is injected into their prey, stunning them and dissolving their organs. Their secondary venom is used for larger predators that cause localized pain and a patch of dead skin tissue. Yikes!
These snails carry the schistosomiasis parasite. These nasty bugs live inside the snails but leave snails to seek you out through the water. Once they’ve found their target, they enter through the skin and lay eggs inside.
They can live there for decades, and once they’ve hatched, they’ll leave and return to the snail. Schistosomiasis parasites harm more than 200,000 people a year, so watch out for their hosts.
Asian Giant Hornet
The eggs of the Asian giant hornet can cause paralysis, and to make matters worse, these bugs swarm. They’re but the size of a human thumb and tuck away into their nests, which they disguise to hide from the world.
It’s difficult to see these fellas coming, but if you do, run! Their stings can leave huge black craters on your skin that tend to cause permanent scarring.
Koalas are some of the cutest marsupials on the planet, and they win over our hearts with just one look. But, don’t be fooled because these fluffy creatures can be quite fearsome and pack an intense bite.
They’ve been known to injure and attack humans who get too close, so be sure to stay away from their jaws, and always make sure that any koala you visit has experience with humans.
The platypus is one strange creature, resembling a hybrid of many other animals. Still, they’re extremely adorable, but they hide a dangerous secret. The males have venomous spurs on their knees and elbows, which they use for stinging their aggressors.
While it is not super harmful to humans, the venom has been known to seriously harm dogs and other small animals. However, it can cause muscular atrophy and increased pain sensitivity in humans.
The hooded pitohui is a small passerine bird with dark red eyes, a powerful beak, and some beautiful plumage. While they have quite a cute appearance, they can be quite dangerous, as they carry a toxin that they create from the beetles they eat.
It’s the same poison found on the poison dart frog, so it goes without saying that it’s one of the most dangerous poisons on the planet.
Foxes are, without a doubt, extremely cute — it’s why they’re the subjects of so much wildlife photography. The red fox is the largest of the species, though they’re still pretty small. While they are generally docile and shy of humans, that does not make them any less dangerous.
Foxes are known rabies carriers, and not only have they been known to attack humans in urban areas, but they have even been caught carrying off small pets and babies!
The dingo is about as bad as it gets when it comes to wild dogs. They’re a wild canid species that is the only native canine of Australia, and they don’t even look as scary as some domestic dog breeds do.
However, they are some of the most dangerous wild animals in the country and are infamously aggressive. They hunt in packs, so if you ever encounter one, get as far away as possible before you encounter the rest.
Gross! Tapeworms generally make their way into human hosts through food and water that has been contaminated with their eggs. They are nasty little things, though it may take years for you to develop any symptoms if you become infected with one.
However, when the symptoms do eventually manifest, they are often quite serious, and you’ll want to seek immediate medical attention to get the worms removed.
These disgusting parasites have tiny eggs that are easily transferred from contaminated dirt into the mouths of unsuspecting humans. Of course, if you don’t go around eating soil, you should be just fine.
The roundworm makes its home in the small intestine. It can interfere with your nutritional uptake, cause an intestinal blockage as they grow, and cause unpleasant tissue reactions. Yuck.
The moray eel spends most of its time in tropical seas. They have scaleless, thick skin and sharp teeth that allow them to cause some serious damage to their prey, and that includes humans.
In some parts of the world, people dine on these slippery critters, though their flesh can be highly toxic if not prepared properly. Remember these guys the next time you take a dip in the tropical ocean.
It goes without saying that nobody wants to encounter a hyena, and luckily for us, they’re not really interested in encountering humans either. In fact, they tend to avoid humans. Though, in certain African villages, they have been known to attack.
Hyenas are vicious scavengers that will stop at almost nothing to secure a meal, so be sure to head in the opposite direction if you ever stumble across one of these guys.
Some species of hornet can be quite dangerous to humans, especially those like the Asian giant hornets, which carry some potent venoms in their stingers.
They are around the size of a human thumb and have been known to invade schools and farms in China and Japan.
Bees are absolutely essential to pretty much all of Earth’s ecosystems, but they can also be dangerous to humans. The reality is that bees are responsible for seriously injuring 100 people a year, and this number is rising each year in the United States.
They are particularly dangerous to those who are allergic to them, so if you happen to be one of those people and you hear buzzing outside, be sure to head indoors as quickly as possible!
With a lifespan of nearly three decades, tarantula spiders are normally quite small, though they can sometimes grow to be the size of a personal pizza.
Most of them are scared of large predators, but they will not hesitate to bite if provoked. Their venom is not the most dangerous in the world, but it certainly isn’t pleasant and causes intense rashes and pain at the point of contact.
These nasty critters get their name for their tendency to bite humans around the soft tissue of the mouth. They can be found in 28 states in the US and can be quite dangerous to humans.
They often carry the Chagas disease, and those who are infected with it often don’t show symptoms for up to eight weeks. However, 45% of Chagas carriers develop heart problems a decade after the initial infection. Scary stuff!
Fleas are super gross and super annoying. On top of that, they can infect you with the plague. Ugh. How inconvenient is that? The World Health Organization reports that there are 2,000 cases of the plague reported every year to this day, though it’s likely that the actual number is much higher.
Only about a dozen flea species are considered harmful to humans, so your chances of being taken out by one are pretty slim, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be very cautious of these disgusting little bugs.
What could be more horrifying than the thought of flies developing under your skin and then eating their way out? Probably nothing! If you’re planning on paying a visit to Mexico or South America and their rainforests, be sure to take extra precautions, and pay close attention to your body for any subtle signs of illness once you’re back home.
To make matters even more terrible, it’s been said that infected persons can hear these parasites in their bodies when the infestation is around the neck area. Don’t know about you, but that sounds like a living hell to us!