Don't be fooled by their cuddly looks – these creatures are sometimes deadly
The world is filled with adorable animals of all shapes, sizes, and colors. While some are utterly harmless, many of these critters have self-protective qualities that can be harmful to humans. Even domesticated animals, like our beloved dogs, can carry diseases or display aggressive behaviors when a well-intentioned human gets a little too close.
Look at those big, wide eyes! These slow-moving creatures hang out in the high branches of forests in Asia. They snack on insects, berries, and the occasional bird.
Aw, he's pretty cute, right?
Lorises are basically cuddly cobras. They have toxic glands on their elbows, which they lick to make their bites poisonous. They also make themselves taste terrible to predators by grooming themselves with their toxin-laced tongues, thus making their fur poisonous. The Loris' bite is poisonous and can lead to anaphylactic shock and death for unsuspecting victims.
With their wide eyes and beautiful markings, giant pandas look like big stuffed animals. But don't let their appearance fool you. Underneath all that fluff are massive teeth and a chewing muscle designed to tear through tough bamboo shoots, which is the panda's only source of food. This diet gives panda bears one of the highest bite forces of any carnivore, and they're not afraid to use it.
Even in captivity, these seemingly harmless teddy bears have been known to attack and maim people who've gotten too close.
These "giant deer" look harmless, and generally speaking they avoid humans and behave non-aggressively. However, they're also massive, and they can quickly become territorial if a human tries to get too close.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, moose account for about 52 deaths every year, and that's not even counting motor vehicle collisions.
When you think of anteaters, you probably think of slow-moving and kinda-cute animals who pose no threat to anything... except ants. Think again.
Anteaters can be found roaming the fields of South America and Central America, where they grow to be up to 7 feet long. They've got long, sharp claws that they use to tear into termite mounds -- and human flesh, if need be.
There have been several reports of anteaters attacking people who get too close, and even a few deaths. Mice
With their big black eyes and furry little ears, the average house mouse looks like something out of a Disney movie. Yet each year, these pests are responsible for countless illnesses and deaths.
Fun fact: mice are the second most populous creatures on earth, second only to humans. They also spread diseases like it's their job: leptospirosis, hantavirus, salmonella, rat-bite fever, Lyme disease, typhus, and plague are all spread by these cute little guys.
"Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't believe they really exist." —The Princess Bride.
While the beaver is an adorable-looking R.O.U.S., this critter will mess you up if you come too close. Beavers are extremely territorial, and get aggressive quickly with very little provocation. They've also got massive, razor-sharp teeth that never stop growing. They use these teeth to cut down trees to make dams... or to rip open an unsuspecting human, from time to time.
In 2013, a 60 year-old fisherman from Belarus died when a beaver ripped open an artery in his leg. Beavers are also prone to rabies, causing them to act out aggressively towards humans and other animals. So if you see a cute little beaver working on his dam, head the other way!
Polar bears may be the top predators of the Arctic, but leopard seals rule the opposite pole.
These fierce predators look like they're smiling, which makes the fact that they can easily kill you all the more unsettling. Leopard seals have been known to actively hunt humans, and the gruesome manner in which they kill penguins would turn your stomach. Physically, they're also pretty terrifying: they have powerful jaws and flippers, and can grow to a length of 13 feet.
Everyone loves elephants, right? They're huge, but they're the world's largest living vegetarians, so we should be safe around them.
Elephants can stand 13 feet high and weigh around 6 tons. While they're generally docile, they can get a bit testy when humans encroach on their space. (Fair enough.) Elephants are responsible for around 500 deaths every year, mostly through stamping and goring.
Who doesn't love cute, adorable dolphins?!
Well... other dolphins, for starters. In the wild, dolphins reportedly participate in infanticide on the regular. They also attack other porpoises and mammals, including humans.
The truth hurts, but the fact of the matter is that man's best friend can sometimes be his worst enemy.
The CDC reports about 4.5 million dog bites every year. Of those, 900,000 become infected. In 2017, thirty-nine people were killed by domesticated dogs in the United States. We hate to say it, but...bad dog!