When you think about animal attacks, you probably think about some of the scariest predators around. People talk about giant gators terrorizing golfers in Florida, bears that get too close to hikers, and other things that nightmares are made of. The thing about wild life is this: it’s unpredictable and– drum roll please– wild. People sometimes make the assumption that because an animal is cute that they can approach it the same way they would a domesticated pet, even posing for selfies and getting way too close for comfort beside wild animals.
Other people may not be as careless, but get unlucky just the same and suffer injuries, or even worse death at the hands, claws, stingers, and teeth of an animal you’d never expect.
Unlikely and bizarre situations have a tendency to draw human interest, because we just can’t turn away. This is why we can’t seem to stop ourselves from rubbernecking when there’s a traffic pile-up, a seriously strange story on the news, or when we see a crowd gathering in public. These are 15 terrifying animal attacks that don’t involve sharks, or snakes, or any of the usual suspects! These are attacks that you’d never expect to happen, but did, and do, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!
15. Whoooo….Whoooo…Who’s Going To Hurt You?
Humans don’t run into owls all that often. They’re nocturnal and not the most social creatures. The Great Horned Owl can be a ferocious bird of prey, found in the Americas. It has a wingspan of five feet and has been coined with the apt nickname, the “Flying Tiger” mostly because it preys on animals that are up to three times its size. They can use their talons to kill skunks or cats, and also have the great “honour” of being the only bird of prey to have killed a human. A flying velociraptor attacked a researcher after they removed some eggs from a nest, as a part of their study, which had the instinctively furious predator go on full attack mode inflicting skull-crushing injuries care of their razor sharp talons. A word to the wise, if you see a bird’s nest, just leave it alone.
14. Maneater Or Anteater?
Most known for its bizarre appearance the giant anteater isn’t seen as a threat to humans by most, but that doesn’t mean you should pose for a selfie with one on your next trip to South America. Living in the grassland regions of South America these long nosed bad boys can grow to be over six feet long and weigh in at around a buck fifty. Although they are adorkably cute and strange looking, it’s best to give the long-nosed fellas some space because they are capable of causing serious harm. When they are threatened an anteater can rapidly destroy whomever is up in his “grill” with strong arms and claws that are as sharp as knives. Tragically, a conservationist who was hard at work trying to help these rare and endangered animals was attacked by an anteater and died because of the injuries she sustained.
13. Scary Times At Seaworld
Being raised on movies like Free Willy kids grow-up thinking that they might be able to form a fast friendship with a whale. Whales are usually pretty gentle and harmless, but they are also enormous, like to jump and play, and humans can get injured as a result of getting too close. There are famous stories of whales that put the name “Killer” in Killer Whale (also known as Orcas). Anyone who’s seen the documentary Black Fish knows about performing Killer Whale Tilikum who dragged his trainer Dawn Brancheau underwater killing her, all while a crowded audience watched helpless and mistakenly waiting for the next part of the “show”. This whale was also linked to the death of two others and is genetically linked to many of the performing orcas seen at amusement facilities all over the world.
12. Raccoon Got Your Dog?
Raccoons are pretty adorable for scavengers, and in North America we’re pretty used to seeing these clever little creatures raiding our garbage cans in search of a midnight snack. Some experts believe that raccoons are now twice as aggressive as they once were, and they recommend that people avoid walking their dogs near any bushes or hidden areas where nocturnal animals, like raccoons, might be hiding. If a raccoon feels trapped they could attack you, your dog, or cat, and this is when they are most dangerous, so consider yourself warned! Unfortunately raccoons will attack if you make your home too hospitable to them, this means leaving garbage or food easily accessible or even putting out food for them, which some people still do. Mother raccoons have the most potential to attack, particularly if you get too close to her cubs! Raccoons will sometimes even settle into someone’s house (think chimneys, under porches, or in garages) when the mama is about to give birth. If this is the case, do yourself a favour and hire a professional to move mama and her babies.
11. Not Just Slap Happy Seals
When you think about Antarctic exploration, most people would wager that the biggest danger would be exposure to the elements. People often see seals as the happy barking marine mammal who claps its… fins? The Leopard Seal is an aggressive predator who has been known to attack humans, a far cry from the happy seal most picture balancing a beach ball on his nose. The Leopard Seal can grow up to 12 feet long and weigh in at over 1,000 pounds. They roam the waters of the ice shelf with a brutal temperament, huge teeth, and are able to reach their prey at a quick speed.
One of the team members of Ernest Shackleton’s famous expedition to Antarctica was attacked by a leopard seal while on land, and only escaped because another member of the team shot the serpentine beast. As recently as 2003, a researcher named Kirsty Brown was snatched and dragged over 100 feet to her death, care of a leopard seal. This marked the first recorded death by a leopard seal, alongside three other attacks on man.
10. Beaten Up By Goldfish
Most people wouldn’t believe that their life could end because of a distant cousin to their own pet goldfish, but humans have lost their lives at the fins of the Asian carp. These fish are wild and gargantuan relatives of that little goldfish sitting in the bowl on your living room table. They can weigh up to 100 pounds and measure around four feet long. Indigenous to rivers in Asia they have a habit of jumping out of the water which can prove dangerous to anyone operating a boat anywhere in their path. Numerous severe injuries have been recorded when these fish jump, with people reporting broken bones, back injuries, and more. They have been introduced into North American waters by people dumping out old fish tanks and could cause serious injuries to both people and the habitats they take over. A number of government departments want these carp controlled before these broken bones and black eyes lead to an accidental death.
9. Don’t Horse Around With Horses!
Horses are beautiful, we get that. A horse can provide a human with companionship that can rival man’s best friend, the dog, and most of the time when they feel threatened they’ll run away rather than attack a person. There are other times when horses will react poorly and injure anyone who has startled or angered them. This is particularly true for those who aren’t trained in interacting with Black Beauty and all of her relatives. When a horse feels trapped and can’t flee this is when it’ll lash out. An Australian study conducted between 2000 to 2013 revealed that nearly three times as many people in the country were killed by horses than they were by snakebites, accounting for 74 deaths. These tragic deaths occurred when people were thrown or trampled by a horse.
8. Un-Stung Deadly Creatures
When a tourist enters the Outback of Australia they’re probably most nervous of snakes, sharks, spiders, or even crocodiles, but these aren’t the most fatal creatures to humans. A study by the University of Melbourne over an 11-year period determined that allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock from a bee or wasp sting was a more common cause of death than interactions with other local creatures. In that period 27 people died, including one beekeeper. Other unsung deadly creatures of Australia include ticks and ants, who were credited for five deaths during the time of the extensive study. One of the main reasons believed for anaphylaxis causing death in this study is because only 44 percent of cases related to this cause of death managed to reach medical care at all. The study also found that men aged 30-35 were the most likely to receive a sting or bite.
7. Not So Curious George
Little kids love monkeys, just think about all of the branded kid products adorned with their picture. While monkeys and apes are both a part of the same primate suborder, unfortunately many humans can’t tell the difference, and approach both as if they were the good-natured characters portrayed to children. Side note: An easy way to tell them apart is because most monkeys have tails, and apes do not. On May 28, 2016, tragedy struck the Cincinnati Zoo when a five-year-old little boy fell into a Gorilla enclosure and was knocked out cold after the 10-foot fall. The 17-year-old Gorilla was shot and killed by a zoo worker who feared for the boy’s life when the boy was grabbed and dragged by the Gorilla. There has been lively debate over whether or not the zoo did the right thing with many people believing that the boy’s parents were to blame for the “murder” of Harambe by not looking after their son as they should, particularly when he was heard to say that he wanted to enter the enclosure.
6. They Want To Suck Your Blood…
The legends of vampire bats sucking on human blood have often been dismissed as folklore– that is until now! Because of habitat destruction, Brazilian bats are changing their eating habits. This means they are adapting by feeding on whatever they can sink their teeth into, including chickens and humans. In a recent study examining the feces of Brazilian bats scientists discovered 15 cases of human DNA out of 70 samples. This is surprising because this species isn’t adapted to seek sustenance on the blood of mammals, especially since previous studies revealed that these bats chose to starve when they were only offered pig blood as food. While humans are not about to become a part of the Nosferatu just yet there is still a cause for concern. The bat carries Hantavirus which is often carried by rodents to humans by way of fecal contact; Hantavirus can be fatal to humans.
5. Whales Gone Wild – Part II
Whales made our list twice, mostly because a lot of people associate the deaths of trainers in marine facilities being attributed to mental illness associated with the mammals being kept in captivity. Whales are just as dangerous to humans in nature as they are in a disturbingly small pool of water. Although many scientists believe there is a danger in making large statements about orcas and often insist that whales do not hurt humans, because it is rare– but it does happen. “Transient” orcas like animal prey over fish and have been known to hunt humans.
In 1972 a California surfer was seized by an orca; he managed to escape, but received 100 stitches as a result of the bite on his arm. More recently, a boy from Alaska had a terrifying experience when he was charged and rammed by an Orca. One other bone chilling incident happened when a pack of orcas tried to capsize a boat full of researchers using the same method they use to “wave wash” seals on ice.
4. Attack Of The Angry Birds
Like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, in the spring of 2016 there was an alarmingly high number of bird attacks in Vancouver, Canada. Langara College instructor Jim O’Leary even developed an interactive map of the locations of the attacks, where people had been assaulted by crows, but had no real theory on why these crows were so angry and aggressive. The map tracked well over 300 attacks in the 2016 “crow season”. Jim O’Leary told interviewers, “You could go out on the street and you could see the crows, literally, coming and hitting people on the head.” The map was built to help show some patterns where the crows were attacking most, and trended towards the West End of the city where there were a lot of restaurants, human food, and trees for the crows to “enjoy”.
3. Geese Are Crazy Jerks
Canadians have a reputation for being kind and polite, but the same can’t be said of Canadian Geese who can be fighty feathered fear monsters. Escott P. Banks told Buzzfeed about his terrifying encounter, “My College used to have geese all over the campus. I once saw a girl walking to class and a goose just started charging at her, knocked her on the ground and ripped out one of her hair extensions and ran off with it.” Another person wrote about her experience with geese that was far from a walk in the park. “I was rollerblading on some grass once (not sure why) and I got too close to a couple of geese. One of them chased me down but I couldn’t get away fast enough. It bit me on the ass and left a huge welt and bruise.” To avoid getting attacked by these terrible monsters, avoid getting too close to them, paddling in their area of a pond or lake, and for your own safety don’t go anywhere near where they are nesting or be prepared to face the uber aggressive consequences.
2. This Catfish Has Claws, And An Appetite For Human Flesh
In an area of Nepal, known for a local custom where bodies were burnt and disposed of in a specific section of the Kali River, the giant Goonch Catfish are believed to have developed a taste for human flesh. After several unexplained deaths along a four to five mile section of the river, where bodies were never recovered, a British biologist named Jeremy Wade volunteered to investigate further and catch the “killer” who was suspected to be a crocodile. Wade found many human-sized Goonch Catfish. The show Animal Planet went looking in the Kali River and found a Goonch Catfish three times larger than the average sized Goonch measuring six feet long. It is believed that the disposal of the human bodies in this river is responsible for the giant mutant fish, and their aggressive behaviour.
1. The Billy Goat’s Gruff
Mountain goats live in high elevated areas where predators can’t reach them. Humans don’t have a lot of contact or concern for mountain goats, but maybe they should. In 2010, a 63-year-old man named Robert Boardman was killed by a Mountain Goat while he was eating his lunch in the Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. The man was attacked in a picnic area 5,000 feet from the park, where he and a group of his friends were approached by a large Mountain Goat. At first the group was excited about spotting the goat, until he began to aggressively move closer to them, at which point Boardman instructed his wife and friends to go to the car. It was then that the goat repeatedly charged and gored him, and stood guard so no one else could approach while he bled to death. People nearby were eventually able to get the goat to leave by throwing rocks and yelling. Unfortunately they were 40 minutes away from a hospital, and the Coast Guard was unsuccessful at arriving in time to save him. Rangers immediately located and killed the goat.