Dangerous Denizens of the Animal Kingdom: The Unassuming
Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! There are lots of animals we share this planet with. They come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. For the average person, it’s hard to keep track of the we can pet and the ones that will bite our hands off. Instead of going into nature to find out for ourselves, let’s learn from the safety of our home. These are just some of the dangerous denizens of the animal kingdom.
For this installment, we’ll be taking a look at animals you might not consider when you think of “dangerous.” This, however, means they can be especially so. Like they say, it’s the quiet ones that will get you, or in this case the unassuming ones.
Cassowary - Genus: Casuarius
Cassowaries are one of the deadliest birds on Earth even if they don’t look the part. With three known species mostly found in New Guinea, this flightless avian is second in size only to the ostrich. The cassowary’s most noticeable feature might be the bony plate protruding from their skulls, but their feet are what makes them truly dangerous. With the dagger-like talons on their middle toes, they can easily slice through flesh if provoked. While attacks by cassowaries aren’t common, the injuries they’ve inflicted are widely reported, with some being fatal. Steer clear if you’re unlucky enough to come across one in the wild.
Slow Loris - Genus: Nycticebus
These nocturnal cousins of the lemur appear rather adorable, but that cute façade hides a sinister secret: they are the world’s most venomous primate. But do not fret as they are also the world’s only venomous primate. Thanks to a special secretion from a gland on their arm, the slow loris can gain a toxic bite simply by licking it. This bite, however, is only used as a defense mechanism and is relatively harmless to humans. Though even with painful swelling being the general allergic reaction, there has been one documented death caused by anaphylactic shock. So, while the threat a slow loris poses is minimal, it’s best not to get on their bad side.
Cone Snail - Genus: Conidae
With over 800 species ranging from small to large, the cone snail can be found in oceans worldwide. Even with so many variations, these marine molluscs share one thing in common: they are incredibly dangerous. Hidden within their proboscis is a barbed harpoon used for hunting prey, which quickly shoots out, paralyzing any unlucky fish that happens to swim by. As for humans, smaller cone snails may not pack a punch, but the larger ones could be your untimely end. Due to the hundreds of different toxins found in their venom, no known antivenom exists. So next time you see a beautifully colored cone shell on the beach, think before you pick it up.