45 Terrifying Creatures That Actually Exist
Strange-Looking Cyclops Shark.
Warning, this collection of rare nature photos are not for everyone.
However- if you are ready to explore the reality of which oddly terrifying creatures actually exist among the otherwise beautiful parts of nature, please proceed.
The animal world is quite diverse. While there are plenty of cute, cuddly creatures that are perfect for snuggling and petting, there are just as many animals that are dangerous, aggressive, stinky, and downright ugly. In this collection of photographs, we focus on the latter. These are the animals that will terrify you, hurt you, sicken you, and may even kill you. Of course, we will touch on the obvious ones, like sharks, alligators, and bears, but we will also inform you about some of the most dangerous and creepy animals that you may not have heard of before.
We've ordered these photos so that the most stomach turning photos are later in the gallery...so feel free to continue to peek through this rare collection at your own risk.
According to National Geographic, this one-eyed creature was discovered in 2011. When it was discovered by a fisherman in Mexico, it was thought to have been a unique species but it was determined that it was not unique after all. Although it was not a unique species, it was an extremely rare shark with a congenital defect. This birth defect, cyclopia, can also occur in humans and is an abnormality of chromosomes with the most notable side effect as having only one eye. Most babies born with this defect are usually stillborn or die shortly after birth.
The skeleton of a 28ft anaconda.
Did you know that the green anaconda is the world’s largest snake by weight and the second longest by length? The South American species, one of four known anaconda species, looks like they could gobble you whole, but they are constrictors. They will hug the life right out of you. The skeleton of this 28-foot anaconda is impressive, but a few years back, workers at a construction site in Brazil came across one that was even bigger. It was 33 feet long, weighed 880 pounds, and was three feet wide at its widest point.
6-Eyed Sand Spider - the better to "see" you with.
The most dangerous venom recorded comes from the Six-eyed Sand Spider, found mostly in Africa. Its closest relative is the Recluse Spider, which is found all over the world. With those six eyes, that is very scary -- why does he need six eyes? He hides just beneath the surface of the sand and camouflages himself with sand particles. With no known antidote for his venom, it is a good thing that not many humans have been bitten; because most likely, it would be history for them.
Here's a mother bat flying with her baby holding on.
Bats may fly like birds and have scaly skin on its wings like a reptile, but they are most definitely mammals. That means they have all the characteristics we associate with mammals. They have fur on their bodies. They are warm-blooded. They give birth to live offspring rather than lay eggs. And the mothers nurse their young. In fact, baby bats, like this little fellow, stay with their mother for the first three to four weeks of its life, until it is weaned and can confidently fly and hunt on its own.
Giant short-faced bear. These bears could reach 4.5 meters in height when they stood up on their hind legs.
This frighteningly large and ferocious bear, the giant short-faced bear, went extinct about 12,000 years ago. A native of North America, the giant short-faced bear was a formidable predator. It is very likely that this was the fastest species of bear to ever have lived. Scientists also claim that the giant short-faced bear was the largest carnivorous land mammal ever to have walked the earth. When standing on all fours, the giant short-faced bear was about 5-feet tall to the shoulder. When it reared up on his hind legs, like the one in this images, the giant short-face bear was nearly 10 feet tall.
Lizardly Komodo Dragon.
A dragon? Definitely has the look of one as well as the look of an alligator but is actually a really large lizard. This lizard can be as long as 10 feet and weigh 300 lbs. Its young live in the trees for months. The adults kill and eat their own species as well as pigs, deer, and cattle. Sometimes they attack humans as well. They can run fast and their deadly toxin inhibits blood-clotting so their victims go into shock from blood loss, making it easy for them to devour them after they attack them.
Creepy close- up look at a mother wolf spider carrying her young.
This is definitely a creepy scene -- especially if you have arachnophobia! And this type of spider is everywhere all over the world. They are not limited to where they live -- they can live outdoors but also can manage to get into your home. Picture yourself trying to kill one of these mother spiders that are carrying all their young ones around on her back -- what happens? What appears to be seemingly "millions" of baby spiders start popping out everywhere.
A logger discovers a mummified dog discovered inside the trunk of a hollow tree in the 1980s.
Poor pooch! In 1980, workers cutting a chestnut tree in Georgia discovered the mummified remains of a dog that appears to have gotten stuck in the hollowed trunk of the tree. Analysis shows that the dog was a 4-year-old hound when he died inside the tree. Remarkably, his body was naturally mummified and stayed preserved for some 20 years before the workers discovered the dog. Even more remarkably, the pup was stuck about 28-feet off the ground. The likely scenario is the that dog chased a raccoon or squirrel up a tree then fell into the hollow truck and was unable to escape.
A large hawk moth with a wingspan of 90–130 mm known as Death's-head Hawk Moth.
If this moth, the Death’s-Head Hawk-Moth, gives you the creeps, you are not alone. The eerie skull-shaped pattern on the moth’s back has been creeping people out for several hundred years now. The menacing appearance is bad enough, but this species of moth is one of the few species of moths that is able to produce noise. It emits a high-pitched squeaking noise. The Death’s-Head Hawk-Moth has become synonymous with evil. Is it any surprise then, that this was the species of moth that Thomas Harris included in his novel, The Silence of the Lambs, that was turned into a super suspenseful film, starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in 1991?
Hungry Wolf Fish.
"He ate the whole thing!" This Wolf fish, with his large mouth and very sharp teeth, can swallow the entire body of it's prey including the shells and everything. They have the reputation of attacking suddenly so those fishermen who catch these in their fishing nets have to take precautionary measures when attempting to retrieve them from their nets. Also called catfish in European countries, they make a delicate tasty seafood dish. Their skin, on the other hand, not so tasty -- maybe you can make a pair of leather boots out of that because it is so tough.
Being very mouthy, the Sarcastic Fringehead uses their massive mouth to fend off predators.
Come out of your corners and start fighting! What an interesting wrestling match these Sarcastic Fringeheads make. With poor eyesight, they don't care what size their opponent is. They will come out fighting. They don't pose a threat to humans unless somehow humans get in the way of their fighting. Wresting each other with their mouths (but not with sarcastic words) and needle-like teeth, they are very temperamental and will aggressively and literally fight to protect their home using their unusually "big" mouths.
Wrinkly Naked Mole Rat.
Ahhhh! Put some clothes on! Despite this naked mole rat's wrinkles, studies show that they don't age. According to a study on them, their risk of death doesn't go up with age and they rarely get cancer. Maybe humans could learn something from them. They can survive up to 18 months without oxygen and are resistant to certain types of pain. That must be nice as a lot of us humans have to suffer a lot of pain -- definitely making it unique to use for research on aging and cancer.
Hungry Hungry Hippo!
This river horse is one of the world's most dangerous animals in the world. Due to its unpredictable and highly aggressive behavior, you don't want to be anywhere near this guy. They live in rivers, lakes, and swamps where they remain cool during the day. Having large ivory tusks, they are a prey to hunters who kill them for the ivory. The hippo kill because they think they are under attack not because they are hungry. An angry hippo kill more people than lions, tigers, and bears -- Oh my!
Cave-less Tube-Nosed Fruit Bat.
An alien bat or is it Yoda from Star Wars? With those alien-looking antennae ears, this little creature looks like he came from Mars but no -- guess where? You got it -- Australia -- but there is also a breed that comes from the Philippines. These fruit bats mostly live in environments such as rain forests, at least, up until humans have mostly ruined the rain forests. Now they can sometimes be found in more degraded environments rather than their preferred high quality forests. You will never see these types of bats in caves.
Great White Shark - very toothy.
In danger of becoming an endangered species (no pun intended), at least, for now these Great White sharks pretty much have the run of the ocean being at the top of the food chain. Fishermen will try to catch them for their jaws and fins to sell, which can bring quite a tidy sum. Dental bills would be costly as they have thousands of teeth -- the more to bite you with! Their powerful tails help them swim up to speeds of 15 miles per hour. They can be as long as 20 feet in length and weigh 5,000 pounds. Wow!
Crocodile Hunters hunt Saltwater crocodiles.
Ummm. The most dangerous animals in -- Australia -- are these saltwater crocodiles. Are these the ones Crocodile Dundee got his name from? These can be found all over Australia so be very careful when traveling the outback on your next trip over there. Even though their name suggests that they live in saltwater, they can also be found in fresh water as well. From 1940 to 1970, there were numerous hunters hunting for their hides, as crocodile hides were quite valuable. This "hobby" almost made them extinct but now they are a protected species.
Unusual magnified mosquito foot.
Interesting what you can see under a microscope that you don't see otherwise. What's funny about this enlarged demonstration of a mosquito's foot is that mosquitoes actually are attracted their victim's feet more than any other part of the body. Mosquitoes find their human victims through CO2 from exhaled air and they use foot odors to lead them to the feet as their preference on biting their victims. A good reason to keep your feet clean and smelling good! Keep a good insect repellent on hand that actually blocks their receptors from smelling your feet.
Michio Hoshino, a photographer well known for his photographs of dangerous wildlife, was mauled to death by a bear inside of his tent while on a shoot in 1996.
Japanese-born nature photographer Michio Hoshino died on August 8, 1996, when he was attacked and mauled by a brown bear while on assignment in Russia in 1996. This photograph has been circulating around the internet for quite some time, under the claim that it was the last photograph that Hoshino ever took before his unfortunate death. It would be incredible if it were true, but this photo is a hoax. It was actually photoshopped and entered into a photoshop competition under the theme “Hoax last photo taken before death.”
Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko.
Just as its name implies (satanic), this deceiver can change its disguise and easily fool someone by changing its color depending on its environment. It can appear as an old dead leaf with a twisted body. Back in 2013, a photo went viral on social media of one these satanic leaf-geckos that was purple in color with a claim that it was a member of the dragon family. The picture somehow "developed" wings to try to prove their theory but it was ruled to be false by snopes.com.
Extremely Painful Irukandji Jellyfish.
The smallest jellyfish in the world, about a cubic cm. in size, carries a deadly sting 100 times worse than a cobra and 1,000 times worse than a tarantula. These deadly jellyfish are found mostly in Australia but do show up in other places including the beaches of Florida. Reported symptoms from their sting include severe pain, nausea, sweating, high blood pressure and increased heart rate. Some even report feeling a sensation of doom. In Australia, there have been reports of victims being in such excruciating pain that they have begged to die.
A giant octopus attempting to pull a scuba diver back into its tank in Oregon.
Angry elephant chases tourists in Botswana.
Don't mess with the babysitter! Elephants, just like any other animal, will get angry if they think their babies are in danger. For example, this scene here (reported in January 2018) displays an angry elephant chasing a group of tourists in Chobe National Park in Botswana. There was a herd of elephants along their path and suddenly this one elephant, in particular, head-butted their jeep multiple times, losing one of its tusks in the process. Once the tourists were safely away, one of them captured video of the herd with one of the elephants carrying a baby over the trail.
Raining spiders? A field of spider webs in Australia.
Back in 2012, an unusual event happened with spiders. With more rain than usual that year, this strange balloon event occurred that allowed these spiders to leave areas where they normally would have drowned. The spiders created strands and strands of silk which help them to create a "trampoline" effect. Some of them die during these events but it only takes a few spiders to create a whole lot more. These "ballooning" events don't just happen in Australia but they can happen in the United States and Britain as well, although it happens less frequently.
Powerful Tsetse Fly -- found mostly in Africa .
Not your ordinary fly -- these flies can be deadly. Found abundantly in Africa, these blood-suckers cause thousands of deaths every year -- humans and animals. It is one of the reasons why cultivated areas of Africa have turned into barren wasteland and why so much of the area stays in poverty. There are more than 23 different species found in the middle portion of Africa. As shown in this picture, they are usually yellowish brown to dark brown in color. You definitely don't want these flies to crash your next picnic.
Honeypot Ant -- sweet!
Winnie the Pooh would love these little guys! These honeypot ants actually store honey in their own bodies for hard times. Their bellies swell with the honey and other ants feed off of them. Some are so fat with the honey that they cannot leave the underground homes. When filled with the honey, they look like walking grapes. You normally find these in hot desert areas in places like Mexico, Western and Southern America, South Africa, New Guinea, and guess where? You guessed it -- Australia!
The Venomous Stoner - Stonefish.
All things are not as they appear -- this stoner hides its true colors! Waiting in ambush, this stonefish camouflages itself to capture its prey. It is the world's most venomous fish, killing an adult person in less than an hour. The venom can cause extreme pain to victims of this gloriously-looking stone, just sitting there, along with the coral reefs and other beautiful scenery around it. With patience, they just sit there waiting for their unsuspecting prey to get within reach and then "gulp" -- they swallow their victim whole.
Deadly sun-bathing Eastern brown snake.
It's beginning to look like nothing good comes out of Australia (except for maybe "Crocodile Dundee"). Here is yet another species that is native to Australia. This deadly snake is second to the most the deadly snake in the world -- the deadliest being the Belcher's Sea Snake. Biologists discovered it back in 1953 in Papua, New Guinea but have no idea how it got there. The longest recorded one was 7.9 feet. It loves to bask in the sun during the day and eats rodents, birds, and other small reptiles.
Cave- dwelling Trogloraptor Spider.
The cave robber spider, the first new spider found in North America since 1890, was found in southern Oregon. This huge spider measures 3" with its legs spread out and lives in caves. It was found by a group of "cave-dwellers" -- no, actually a group from Western Cave Conservancy who were exploring a cave system in the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains of Oregon. Named Trogloraptor due to its large claws, which are fierce, could be a relative to the goblin spiders. Scientists are still studying this spider to learn more about it such as what it eats and how it hunts.
Deadly disease-killing Mosquitoes.
According to Bill Gates, these little pesky things called mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on earth. He is basing this on the numbers of how many people are killed annually. The biggest reason they kill so many people is that they carry deadly diseases such as malaria. Malaria kills more than 600,000 people a year and wreak deadly havoc on another 200 million people, putting them out of commission for days. Mosquitoes also cause yellow fever, encephalitis, and denge fever not to mention that they carry the West Nile Virus that we always hear about.
New pain-killer from Cone Snail?
Beautiful but deadly. When looking for shells along the beach, don't pick up one of these beauties. One shot of its needle and you won't even know what hit you. He is so fast with his venom that you don't have a chance to feel the pain. Mostly, they feed on fish, worms, and other snail. Luckily, for humans, only a few out of the 500 of these species, actually can kill us. Scientists are doing studies to try to use the pain-killer venom as a pain-killer drug.
Beware of the Deathstalker Scorpion.
As the name implies, this Deathstalker, stalks its prey at night waiting to ambush their victims from underneath a rock or a pile of wood. Their main food source is insects, some spiders, earthworms, and centipedes; but if none of those are available, they will eat other scorpions. They are found mostly in North Africa and the Middle East. Their poison is filled with neurotoxins and cardiotoxins, which may not kill you but can certainly cause you a lot of pain, including cardiovascular and respiratory dysfunction. Medical research is being done on their toxins due to chlorotoxin for the treatment of cancer.
Blue Ringed Octopus Circus?
No, it's not Barnum and Bailey. These "circus" animals are among the deadliest animals in the sea and are found (once again) in Australia as well as throughout Eastern Indo-Pacific as well. You can be bitten by one of these and not even know you have been bitten because the bite itself is painless. But don't be fooled! One 25 g blue-ringed octopus can fatally paralyze 10 large humans with its toxin. Within a five to ten minute time-frame after being bitten, you can be experience parasthesias, numbness, muscle weakness, and breathing problems as well as nausea and vomiting and problems seeing and speaking. You can still be conscious but unable to move or speak -- how awful!
Under the sea - Sea-Angel.
Have you ever seen an angel? What about one in the sea? This interesting little guy is actually a sea "slug" and the name "sea angel" comes from the Greek word Gymnosomata, which means naked body. Their legs are shaped like wings which helps them swim through the water. Unlike a similar sea creature, the sea butterfly, they have no shells so are transparent plus their "wings" are smaller than the sea butterfly. When they hunt for their dinner, they chase their victims and some have "suckers" to grab them with. Producing a compound called Pteroenone, the Antarctic sea angel protects itself against predators.
Killer Bees - Africanized Honey Bee.
Labeled as "Killer Bees," these date back to the 1600's with the most common being the Western honeybee. One of their subspecies is the African Honeybee, which are mostly found in central and southern Africa. Their sting is no worse than any other honeybee but their aggressive behavior makes them different. If not provoked to attack, they most likely won't attack you; but if they are provoked, they are more likely to chase you and they usually attack in greater numbers so that is what usually kills victims of this "busy bee."
Appetizer anyone? Lobster Moth Caterpillar.
Ever see this in a lobster tank? Probably not. This "crustacean" is not a lobster but a lobster wannabe. Although it has the look of a lobster, it is actually a caterpillar that will one day turn into a moth. When provoked by a predator, it will spread its front legs and arch its back -- don't make him angry now! Its larvae can grow up to 70 mm in length. The cocoon is spun in between dead leaves.
Grab the umbrella -- Long-Wattled Umbrellabird.
The first nest of these unusual-looking birds were found by scientists in 2003. With only 10-20,000 in population, they are located in the western slopes of Colombia and Ecuador. They love the wet and humid forest land -- maybe that is why they need an umbrella. Males have a long inflatable "wattle" which looks like a pine cone when inflated. On what's called "leks," the males gather to perform a "contest" of sorts to woo the females into picking them to mate with. They show off by raising their crests and making loud booming sounds that can be heard a mile away.
Here Kitty Kitty...or otherwise known as a Leopard.
Mostly found in Africa, these spotted "cats" live in forests, mountains, deserts, and grasslands and, just like the small common household cats, will hang around in trees. To protect it from other predators, they like to have their meals up in the trees. Their diet consists of mainly small hoofstock like deer or gazelle. Sometimes they may have a monkey or a bird for a quick snack. Being nocturnal animals, they conduct their business at night. Watch out! They can leap more 20 feet in the air.
Creepy-looking but . . . this mother centipede cares about her babies.
This multi-legged creature makes good use of all those legs. Through several stages of its life, it continues to grow legs until full adulthood is reached. When they reach 15 pairs of legs (that's 30 total), that's when they are ready to become "parents." As is usually the case with human females, the female centipede shows more parental care than the male. They guard the eggs and keep them clean by licking them and some even stay with their young after they have hatched. If anything disturbs the eggs though, they will either eat them or abandon them.
A Vietnam solider holding a jungle centipede in Vietnam, 1967.
The giant jungle centipede can be found in the lands surrounding the Indian Ocean, as well as tropical and subtropical parts of South and Central America, Indonesia, the Caribbean, and part of Asia. There are even rumors of sightings of them in the southern part of the United States. If those rumors turn out to be true, the most likely reason would be that jungle centipedes are a popular pet for people who like exotic and different pets. Be careful though. These centipedes can grow up to 8-inches long and are aggressive hunters that will prey on anything smaller than it.
A seagull trying to save his buddy from the eagle.
While it is true that bald eagles are large, intimidating birds of prey, that doesn’t mean other birds don’t get fed up with their bullying ways and fight back. That’s what we see in this pic – a seagull fighting off an eagle that has hold of its friend. Crows, ravens, hawks, and starlings have all been known to band together to fight off an eagle when the need arises. Since eagles are loners, they don’t have anyone to call for backup so the smaller birds have a fighting chance.
Even sharks don't like the hagfish! They release slime as a defense mechanism to choke the gills of their would-be predators.
When it comes to weird animals, the hagfish stands out from the crowd. It looks like an eel, but it is technically a fish. It is the only known animal to have a skull but no vertebral column. Scientists believe they are a living relic from a class of fish that lived some 300 million years ago. The hagfish has developed an effective, yet gross, technique to keep predators at bay. When it is threatened, it secretes gooey, foul-tasting slime, gelatinous slime from more than one hundred glands running the length of its body.
This Armadillo Girdled Lizard biting its tail looks like a tiny dragon.
Who says dragons don’t exist? The armadillo girdled lizard is about as close to a mythical dragon as we can get. Only it doesn’t fly, and it doesn’t breathe fire. A native of the desert regions of South Africa’s western Coast, the armadillo girdled lizard is rather small. It lives in male-dominated groups with between thirty and sixty other lizards. Each group is rather protective of their territories. These little lizards have a unique defense mechanism. When threatened, they roll into a circle and put their tail in their mouth, like this little guy here. The spikey scales help protect it.
A jumping crocodile!
As if crocodiles weren’t scary enough, now you need to worry about them jumping up to get you. Well, that is only partially true. Yes, several species of crocodiles have the ability to jump. They can go straight up, like this one, or lunge forward to catch prey. Photos like this may give you the impression that crocodiles have the ability to breach out of the water like whales and dolphins. That part is not true. Crocodiles must be on the ground or in shallow water in order to jump.
What is this horrifying creature? It's a Sea Pig!
This strange-looking creature is not something you’ll run into in a dark alley. It is a sea pig, and you will only find it at the bottom of the ocean. In fact, they live deep, deep in the ocean, particularly on the abyssal plain in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. A cousin of the sea cucumber, the sea pig is a bottom feeder. Although they have feet-like appendages, they don’t move very quickly. That doesn’t mean they are easy prey for predators. They can protect themselves. Their skin is covered with a toxic chemical that is poisonous to other sea animals.
Crocodile hunting at the Nile in the 1880s.
Although they are called the Nile crocodile, this large member of the crocodilian family is found in rivers, streams, lakes, swamps, and marshlands in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a freshwater croc, but has the ability to also go into saltwater areas, like deltas and brackish waters. As this photo shows, the Nile crocodile can grow to between 10 and 14 ½ feet long. The Nile crocodile is not an animal to be mess with. An apex predator, the Nile crocodile is a opportunistic hunter that can be quite dangerous to humans.