Dangerous Animals You Should Never Touch

Keep your hands to yourself as we check out some of the most dangerous animals you should never touch!

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Whether it’s their adorable eyes, fluffy fur, or friendly face, there are some animals you can’t help but want to snuggle up to. However, there are a lot more creatures out there that you should avoid touching, let alone snuggle and not just because they are not cute!

From acid-spraying arachnids to fiery furballs, and even newts who possess a sinister superpower; get your safety gloves on, as we learn about some of the most dangerous animals that you should never ever touch!

Vinegaroon

Anything with pincers and a long whip like tail is probably best to avoid, and that’s certainly the case with the Vinegaroon! Looking like the cursed love child of a spider, a scorpion and a lobster, that 3 ½ inch long arachnid hails from the southern U.S.A and Mexico. Yet, as horrifying as those critters look, they aren’t venomous, and they rarely bite people.

Typopeltis crucifer

So, what’s so dangerous about them? Well, for starters, soon to be Vinegaroon mamas carry their brood around on their back and look like something that’s crawled out from the depths of hell.

Yet the dangerous defense mechanism of those beastly bugs is even more spine chilling. When threatened, the Vinegarroon sprays a sour smelling liquid from the glands on its abdomen.

Watch on YouTube

But it doesn’t just smell bad; that menacing mist is acetic acid! Ever noticed the bitter taste of vinegar? That’s due to the presence of that acid in the liquid. But, whereas vinegar includes about 4% acetic acid, the solution sprayed by the aptly named Vinegaroon contains around 85% concentrated acetic acid, making it a whopping 20 times more acidic than vinegar!

Unsurprisingly, skin contact with such a strong solution can be corrosive, causing severe burning and ulceration to the affected area. So, it’s best to keep away from those acidic animals. Otherwise, you could be left with more than just a sour taste in your mouth!

Giant Water Bug

If, for some reason, the Vinegaroon didn’t put you off handling bugs, our next critter certainly will. The giant water bug, an insect found in ponds, marshes and streams throughout the world.

14. Giant Water Bugs 1

As their name suggests, those guys are beefy, stretching to a fearsome 4 inches at their largest, making them the same length as a standard wallet! If their supersize wasn’t terrifying enough, those critters are also capable of delivering a painful bite to anyone who gets too close.

Considering that they can take down ducklings, fish, and even venomous snakes, that is not something you want to experience. Anyone unlucky enough to get bitten by those bulky beasties can expect intense pain and numbness around the bite mark. Just check out this video where a giant water bug is biting and tackling a snake!

Watch on YouTube

But what kind of sicko would approach a giant water bug in the first place? Well, the body of those cunning critters closely resembles a leaf. So, anyone looking to innocently pick up a frond could end up feeling the wrath of the giant water bug!

If that wasn’t enough to have you frantically fleeing from those bugs, then the sickening sight below certainly will: a giant water bug, covered in eggs.

giant water bug

Males of the species cart around their unhatched young on their backs, taking around two weeks to hatch. Despite what a lot of clickbait media sites claim, touching or squashing your hand down on a pregnant one probably won’t leave you with a mangled hand.

But would you really want to test that? Can you imagine if the young suddenly hatched, and burrowed their way through your palm? Thankfully, giant water bug babies aren’t big diggers, so no trypophobic nightmares there.

Jigger Fleas

Water Bugs may be content not burying their way through your flesh, but our next creepy critter loves to tunnel through humans. Jigger fleas are a parasitic insect found in central and southern America, as well as Africa.

Scanned Jigger fleas

Those guys are only about the size of a needle tip, yet, despite their slight size you don’t want to touch them. Or rather, have them touch you. Pregnant female jigger fleas are known for burrowing into people’s feet, before sucking the host’s blood, and developing their eggs.

Over the next few weeks, the female’s abdomen swells up with hundreds of eggs. Then, after giving birth, she’ll die, before rotting inside the victim’s skin, leading to an infection. Multiple lesions can lead to large areas of someone’s foot becoming infected and deformed, with some victims losing the ability to walk, and even requiring amputation!

Kissing Bug

Much like the jigger flea, the kissing bug is another insect that you wanna keep well away from. Those critters, hailing from north and south America, have a reputation for getting intimate.

As their name suggests, they favor biting humans around the lips! Luckily, the bite’s painless, but that’s the least of your worries. After feeding on your blood, those horrors will defecate inside you.

Triatoma sanguisuga

Not only is that gross, it’s also dangerous. The kissing bug carries a parasite, known as Trypanosoma cruzi in its feces. When that is passed onto a human it can develop into Chagas disease. Anyone infected can be left with flu like symptoms, such as a fever and headache.

But the struggle doesn’t stop there! As many as 30% of infected people will develop far more severe medical problems, years or even decades after the initial infection. That can range from stomach pain and an enlarged esophagus, to heart failure and cardiac arrest!

Flower Urchin

The coral reefs of the Indo-West pacific ocean are the residence of the flower urchin. Those sea urchins get their name from their flower like pedicellariae. But those artsy appendages don’t just look pretty, they’re also filled with tiny sensors which detect threats through touch and chemical stimuli.

Toxopneustes pileolus

When agitated, those fearsome feelers will immediately snap shut and inject venom into whatever disturbed it! To make matters worse, the claws of the pedicellariae may also break off from their stalks and cling to the point of contact, giving them the ability to continuously inject venom into whatever touched it for hours.

Not good; especially considering that flower urchin venom contains a dangerous neurotoxin that can produce numbness, muscle paralysis, respiratory distress and even death! Back in 1930, a Japanese marine biologist who was stung by a flower urchin described feeling: “Faint giddiness, difficulty of respiration, paralysis of the lips and being unable to speak or control facial expression.”

Diadema Setosum

That baneful bouquet isn’t the only sea urchin that you should avoid touching in the shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific ocean. With their massive 12 inch long spiky spines, Diadema setosum are sure to stick anyone dumb enough to pick them up!

Diadema setosum

And if getting impaled by that sea urchin wasn’t bad enough, their spines are venomous too! Fortunately, their spines aren’t quite as potent as a flower urchin’s pedicellariae, but getting poked by one is still sure to leave you with some nasty swelling and a lot of pain as those spikes are brittle and have a tendency to snap off in the skin.

Giant Isopod

If you travel down to much deeper depths, between 1,000 and 7,000 feet, you may come across the Bathynomus giganteus also known as the Giant Isopod. Basically, it’s a woodlouse that lives in the sea, and is absolutely gigantic!

giant isopod Bathynomus giganteus

Cousins of the teeny tiny woodlouse we find on land, those aquatic isopods can reach a spine chilling 20 inches long, making them about the same length as a standard pillow! Though they are meat eaters, they’re predominantly scavengers who live off carcasses of animals that drop down into the deep dark depths of the ocean. Because of how far down in the ocean they tend to dwell, there have been no reports of Giant Isopod attacks on humans.

Blue Ringed Octopus

Being the size of a golf ball, the blue ringed octopus makes the giant isopod look like a true goliath. Yet, while the deep sea crustaceans haven’t harmed a human yet, the same can’t be said for their eight limbed counterparts.

Regardless of their adorably small size, ranging from just 1½ to 2 ½ inches long, the blue ringed octopus is one of the world’s most venomous marine animals. If you happen to come across one of those guys in the rock pools of the Pacific and Indian oceans, you better run, and fast! When threatened, the blue ringed octopus displays the pretty pattern in the picture below.

the blue-ringed octopus Hapalochlaena lunulata

While it’s easy to get lost in that divine design, the blue rings actually act as a warning signal to any potential predators that those guys aren’t to be messed with. Their bite is usually painless, so you probably wouldn’t even know if you’d been nibbled at first, but that’ll quickly change.

The saliva of those minute mollusks contains tetrodotoxin, a deadly neurotoxin that’s 1,000 times more toxic than cyanide! The lethal mix works by attacking your nerve impulses, breaking them down and effectively paralyzing your body.

Before long you may experience nausea, loss of motor skills and even blindness! And, without immediate treatment, your diaphragm will soon become paralyzed, leading to respiratory failure and death.

Southern Flannel Caterpillar

The southern flannel caterpillar, found in the U.S.A, looks like it’s escaped from Former President Donald Trump’s noggin. And, just as you'd be advised to refrain from ruffling his hair, it’s also best to avoid stroking that colorful critter.

Southern Flannel Moth caterpillar

The thing is, the hairs of the southern flannel moth caterpillar are extremely venomous. Anyone stupid enough to give one of those guys a pat, will end up with a nasty sting. If they’re embedded into the skin, the spiky venomous hairs lead to a sudden intense burning pain, followed by a red grid like outline on the skin that matches the pattern of the caterpillar’s venomous spines!

Southern Flannel Moth caterpillar's Sting

But, if you thought the immediate pain of the sting sounded rough, it’s nothing compared to what’s to come. After the initial agony has subsided, victims can expect fever, vomiting, increased heart rate, low blood pressure and seizures.

In 2016, a teenage boy in Georgia, U.S.A, was stung by one of those devils that had crawled onto his arm. Despite the horrifying hairball being attached to him for just a few seconds, the boy fell unconscious 30 minutes after he was stung.

He was rushed to hospital, while having seizures and breathing problems. Thankfully, he recovered, but the whole ordeal showed just how dangerous those hair raising fiends can be!

Northern Fulmar

With their fluffy white feathers and teeny tiny beak, northern fulmar chicks look like the perfect animal to pick up and snuggle. But if you do happen to get up close and personal with those guys, you might want to bring a change of clothes.

That’s because those chicks, found along the coasts of the north Atlantic and Pacific ocean, have a disgusting defense mechanism to ward off anything that gets too close. When threatened, those babies will barf up a foul smelling oily orange liquid.

Watch on YouTube

For feathered predators, the vomit can stick their wings together, hampering their ability to fly. Fortunately, we humans don’t have to worry about our feathers getting clumped. Still, there are more pleasant experiences than getting barfed on by a bird.

To make matters worse, the grim gunk smells like rotten fish and can stain your skin. So, while those cheeky chicks may not be the most dangerous animals that we’ve come across, touching them will certainly be an experience etched into your mind, nostrils and skin for a good while after!

Deer Fibroma

Anyone that’s seen the movie Bambi will attest to the cuteness of deer. However, those mammals can sometimes look much more monstrous. Deer are susceptible to some stomach churning growths popping up all over their body, even on their eyes.

Watch on YouTube

While it may look like they’ve been attacked by those big black balls that took down Mr. Incredible in the movie The Incredibles, those growths are actually caused by a papilloma virus. Luckily for all the Bambi lovers, those growths are harmless for most deer.

On top of that, papillomavirus is species specific, so anyone touching one of those disturbing deer won’t catch papilloma virus, or any nasty warts. Though the growths on their own won’t cause you any harm, any warts that blind or cripple the deer could make their actions much more erratic. So, unless you want to run the risk of getting charged by a blind devil deer, it's better to stay away from those guys!

Maned Rat

Just 21 inches on average from head to tail, the maned rat are adorable, fluffy, and they’ve got an awesome hairstyle! And their extravagant hair isn't just for show; it’s also used as a lethal weapon. Those resourceful rodents, found in east Africa, chew the twigs and leaves of poisonous arrow trees.

Lophiomys imhausi

By munching on the foliage of the toxic tree, maned rats are able to extract a toxic compound, known as ouabain, which they slaver through their fur, like hair gel! Then, when threatened, maned rats will erect their mane to show off their colorful coat and warn off any potential predators.

Maned Rat drives away predators

It’s unlikely that any sane human would take a bite out of one of those guys, but even giving that fluffy fur a stroke and then putting your hands in your mouth could be hazardous. Ouabain can cause vomiting, drowsiness, slowed pulse, heart failure, and in the right doses, death.

In fact, that Ouabain is so strong that African tribesmen used to coat their arrow tips in it to take down elephants. There’s no record of a human that’s been taken down by coming into contact with those rats, but there have been reports of wild dogs succumbing to the worst effects after indulging on a furry feast.

Porcupine

There are few animals as famous for their defense mechanism as the porcupine. Those animals, found in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe, come armed with a coat full of spiky spines!

Porcupine baby young porcupette

Each quill is super sharp; even more piercing than a hypodermic needle, in fact, needing only half the force to pierce the skin! So, getting a handful of those quills jabbed into you is pretty painful.

But that’s not the half of it. The tip of each quill is fitted with microscopic, backward facing barbs. So, while those quills can easily penetrate the skin, getting them out isn’t so seamless. Thanks to those barbs, the quills become firmly embedded in the skin, and if they’re not removed, can dig even further inwards.

porcupine quills are fitted with microscopic barbs

Fortunately, most humans are smart enough not to touch an animal that’s clearly covered in needles. However, back in 2014, a man in Brazil slapped the back of what he thought was an opossum that was blocking the entrance to his house. Turns out it wasn’t an opossum, but a prickly porcupine!

He ended up with 400 quills embedded in his hand. Despite recovering, the porcupine slapper was left with a permanent memento of why you should never mess with these bristly beasts!

Platypus

With a beak like a duck, tail like a beaver, and fur like an otter, the platypus is one of Australia’s wackier animals. But just when you thought those guys couldn’t get any crazier, they also harbor a sinister secret on their feet!

On each ankle, male platypuses have a sharp spur about half an inch long. So, anyone cuddling one of those curiously cute mammals could be left with a painful cut.

Watch on YouTube

But that not all. Not only is the male’s spur spiky, it’s also venomous. Platypus envenomation causes swelling to the stab site, along with long lasting and excruciating pain that can’t be relieved with standard painkillers. If that wasn’t terrifying enough, victims can also experience nausea, cold sweats and even muscle wasting.

Back in 1992, a man who was stung by one of those oddballs required a wrist block to stop the pain, that’s a technique to block off all the nerves to the hand, and usually one reserved for surgery! After that, he required a further 6 days of pain medication, and couldn’t move his hand for around 3 weeks due to the swelling! It was 3 months before he could use his hand normally again.

As horrifying as that sounds, there’ve been no recorded human deaths from platypus stings. Still, it’s best to avoid giving those guys a stroke, no matter how adorably weird they look!

Baby Platypus puggle

Sea Pig

Strange as the platypus is, there’s one creature that tops it for weirdness, the sea pig! It's a peculiar species of deep sea cucumber that lives at depths as extreme as 16,000 feet.

Scotoplanes globosa

Sea pigs aren’t something that you want to poke, not that you’d ever be likely to reach the crushing depths that alien like animal lives at. At just 830 ft deep, the pressure from all the water above is enough to crush human lungs, 16,000 ft would be impossible for you to survive at!

Conversely, the squidgy bodies of sea pigs have adapted to exist only under that extreme pressure. Bringing them within 4000 ft of the surface would see them disintegrate! But that’s not what makes them dangerous.

Covering their membrane is a toxic chemical known as holothurian. When the sea pigs are touched or threatened, they release that nasty stuff, to deter any predators from munching down on some deep sea bacon.

the sea pig deterring predators with their venom

And while it’s designed to keep deep sea predators away, humans that come into contact with holothurian also aren’t safe. Touching the toxin causes painful skin irritation. And if, for some strange reason, the chemical touched your eye, it could blind you.

Portuguese Man O War

While you’re unlikely to come across a sea pig on your ocean adventures, I wouldn’t rule out spotting the curious creatures in the image below bobbing along the warmer waters in the world’s seas.

Portuguese Man-O-War

Although they look like a fancy handbag, that is actually one of the ocean’s deadliest critters. The Portuguese Man o War is a species of siphonophore, a marine organism that’s closely related to jellyfish.

Their peculiar inflated float may be tempting to poke, but that’s a bad idea. Poking the Portuguese Man o War, means you run the risk of touching that critter’s deadly tentacles. Their lengthy limbs are covered with stinging cells, which are loaded with barbed tubes that deliver venom capable of paralyzing and killing small fish.

In humans, stings produce an immediate burning pain, along with whip like red welts which stay on the skin days after the victim is stung. And if that wasn’t enough, you can also experience shock, vomiting and muscle cramps. But the consequences of touching a Man o War can get even grizzlier.

Back in 1987, a man in Florida was stung after getting a little too close to a Man o War. Despite immediate beachside first aid, the patient suffered heart failure and sadly passed away. You’d think that’d be enough of a warning, but apparently not. In 2021, another man from Florida, not only touched, but licked a washed up Man o War! Luckily, he survived.

Watch on YouTube

Although I wouldn’t recommend playing your own game of Man o War roulette; those hazardous handbags could land you in a body bag!

Millipedes

Whether it’s their long, thin bodies, hundreds of legs, or gigantic size, most of us aren’t too keen on handling a millipede. However, one genus of that critter looks a lot more tempting to touch. By day, motyxia aren’t the most mesmerizing of millipedes. But by night they transform into a bright bug.

Motyxia sequoiae

Those things, found in the mountains of California, can literally glow in the dark! The millipedes have a special type of protein, similar to those found in jellyfish, that allows them to produce light from their exoskeleton.

The question is, why? After all, it’s a whole lot more tempting to touch a shiny millipede than a normal one, so you’d think that glowing in the dark would bring some unwanted predators!

Yet, researchers believe that the garish glow actually acts as a warning to hunters to keep away, or else! When disturbed, those conniving creatures ooze cyanide from pores on the side of their body.

Motyxia sequoiae releases cyanide from it's pores

In case you didn’t know, cyanide is deadly. So deadly, that ingesting just 0.55 grams of the stuff can wipe out an adult human. Fortunately, the amount of cyanide secreted by an individual motyxia isn’t enough to seriously harm a human. Still, the toxic substance could stain your skin, and cause burning and blistering to the affected area.

Iberian Ribbed Newt

Millipedes aren’t the only crawling critter that possess a disturbingly deadly power. At first glance, the Iberian ribbed newt, found in southern Europe and Morocco, looks like any old newt. It’s got bulgy eyes, four legs and slimy skin.

Pleurodeles waltl

But things start to change when those guys get angry. When threatened, the Iberian ribbed newt arches its back, before rotating its ribs forward until they pierce through their skin and project out like spines. Painful as forcing your ribs through your skin sounds, those angry amphibians can quickly regenerate damaged tissue, so that daring defense causes them no long term harm.

The same can’t be said for anyone that gets too friendly with those guys though. While the ribs don’t poke out particularly far, they’re sharp enough to leave you with a cut. But that’s the least of your problems, because as they push their bones out, those guys also secrete a milky poison that coats the rib, turning them into a toxic cutting device!

Iberian ribbed newt's ribs are coated with poison

While the makeup of the newt’s poison isn’t known, it’s believed to be lethal enough to kill a mouse. Fortunately, that milky goo isn’t as deadly for humans, although if it makes contact with skin it’s said to be harsh and irritating.

Whether it’s the spiky ribs or toxic coating, it’s fair to say that the Iberian ribbed newt really isn’t an animal that you should mess with.

I hope you were amazed at these dangerous animals you should never ever touch! Thanks for reading.

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