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Five Animals That Kill in Shocking Ways

Feb 12, 2016 04:43 PM EST

Some animals aren't very likely snuggle-kins -- although yes, we could be underestimating them. But if we go by a standard Valentine definition of "with whom would you willingly cuddle?," Nature World News has a long list of animals that seem utterly unsuitable. Admittedly we're setting a low bar, but the hope is that most potential partners wouldn't sting, electrocute, or fatally bite us in uncomfortable areas of our anatomy. Here, then, are a few animals to take off any list of "potentials":

Vampire Fish

These fish, also called payara (Hydrolycus scomberoides), are best defined as creatures whose diet centers around piranhas. Payaras impale with their long, razor-sharp fangs the fish that populate the nightmares many of us have after watching rain-forest-based films. Also, their teeth can grow up to six inches long. Great. Anyhow, the piranha-eaters, as we'll call them, can reach 40 pounds, and they tend to live in the Amazon and Orinoco River basins, according to this website. They're a prized source of food there, which may or may not be small comfort to some of us.


Small, parasitic catfish from the Amazon, Candiru are in the family Trichomycteridae. They feed on larger fish's gills and are surrounded by what seems to bemythology--about their climbing streams of urine and lodging themselves in men's and women's urethras. 

While it was long thought that urine attracted candiru in South American rain-forest rivers, a 2001 study found that the fish displayed no interest in it.

That said, the fish remain shrouded in mystery and that's enough to be a little alarming to folks swimming in murky rivers. So, don't swim in such places for Valentine's, okay?


Boomslangs are one of the world's deadliest snakes, and they are found around South Africa and sometimes in other African countries.

While they don't usually attack humans, they will do so when threatened. Also, they can be stumbled upon accidentally, because they blend well with the greens and browns of a wooded environment.

The bites of this snake contain a Hemotoxin venom that can kill within hours. It has the very unpleasant side-effect of causing bleeding from every orifice, including eyes, ears, and genitalia.

Augh. News like that requires a moment of recovery.

Anyhow, boomslangers are usually found in rural areas, not near the vital antivenom in Johannesburg. But if you get bitten, go for treatment quickly. (Scroll to read more...)

Blue-Ringed Octopus

Don't be fooled by love at first sight. While this tiny creature -- barely 10 centimeters long from tentacle tip to tentacle tip --  is mesmerizingd for its beauty, it is also one of the world's most venomous animals. 

If you've ever been stung by a jellyfish, you may feel there is no worse pain a marine creature can cause -- but you are wrong. One small peck from the blue-ringed octopus' parrot-like beak is enough to paralyze and even kill you, within minutes. See, its venom contains a chemical known as tetrodotoxin, which is also the same substance that makes puffer fish meat so deadly. Currently there is no antivenom, but if CPR is performed immediately, you have a chance of surviving. 

The creature gets its name from the bright iridescent blue rings that appear only when it is threatened -- you know, as a warning signal, "Do not disturb." Otherwise its body is a yellowish or brown color that matches the surrounding sand and rocks. This sneaky camouflage tactic is used to catch crab, who like humans, become paralyzed when injected with the octopus' venom. 


Despite their rotund, cuddly appearance and reputation for being dim-witted and slow-moving, hippos can be vicious and extremely territorial. They are even considered one of the deadliest animals in Africa, killing more humans on average each year than all African animals combined.  

Hippos live in complex social groups, where they compete for higher-ranking positions. In fact, the big "yawns" they make are aggressive displays used to show off their sizable and sharp teeth and intimidate others. 

And their aggression is not limited to comrades -- they are known to charge at just about any creature they see as a threat. This includes nearby grazing animals or humans in river boats. What's worse is their attacks are basically unpredictable. So if you are planning a romatic safari trip for any upcoming Valentine's Day celebrations, don't provoke the seemingly harmless hippos. 

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN). 

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