Most Aggressive Animals On The Planet

Let's explore the most aggressive animals on the planet!

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In the animal kingdom, it doesn’t always pay to be nice. But just how mean do the animals of our world get? From the small and mighty, to the biggest brutes on the planet, here are some incredibly aggressive animals that could use an anger-management course!

Tasmanian Devil

In the early 1800s, when migrating to Australia’s nearby landmass of Tasmania, early European settlers found themselves pretty unsettled by what they encountered.

They began hearing ‘unearthly’ screams, coughs, and growls coming from the woodlands. Upon investigation, they discovered dog-like creatures with red ears, sharp teeth, and the feeding ferocity of frenzied piranhas.

tasmanian devil

So, they named the creatures something suitable: Tasmanian Devils. But is this creature as malicious as its name suggests? To humans, not usually, as they tend to freeze up around us. But to their prey?

As opportunistic carnivores, they will essentially scavenge for any meat they can get their paws on. They hunt everything from reptiles, amphibians, wombats, and small kangaroos to carrion of dead animals and, reportedly, even humans.

So, while they don’t hunt humans, they don’t mind tucking into our remains, should the opportunity arise! Given the sounds they make, you’d best be grateful you’re unlikely to end up hunted by a pack of them while still alive.

Tasmanian devils hunting humans

With their disproportionately large mouths affording the most powerful bite relative-to-body-size in the animal kingdom, they’re even capable of crushing the bones of their unlucky victims. And with the ability to pursue prey up trees and across water, Tasmanian Devil don’t mess around!

When it comes to mating, there’s little TLC between the devils either, as they take a similarly aggressive approach. The male will fight viciously for the female, and when he succeeds, will drag her by the scruff of the neck back to his den to do the deed; hopefully they have a safe-word!

Tasmanian devils mating

Once the deed is done, the male will guard his mate for the brief pregnancy period of 21 days. Once the litter of as many as 50 pups is born, it’s a fight to survive, as the mother only has four tits to go around.

Shockingly, 90% of the litter won’t make it, as these little beasts have evolved so that only the toughest make it beyond the first few days of life. No wonder they grow up with a mean streak!

Honey Badger

Unlike their name might suggest, honey badgers are not sweet. In fact, these little guys are so aggressive that they’ve even earnt themselves a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as ‘the world’s most fearless animal.’

First of all, they’re opportunistic carnivores, and with them being immune to snake venom, things that most other animals wisely avoid, like Cobras, are just another tasty snack for them. Besides this, they’re incredibly territorial, meaning if they find any intruders near their burrow, they have no problem seeing them off.

Even if said intruder is much bigger than them, and that includes cheetahs, and even more impressively, lions!

Watch on YouTube

So how is this creature, which only tends to measure around 10 inches long, able to fend off such large opponents?

For starters, there’s the initial shock factor of the creatures rushing at opponents, hackles raised and growling, while emitting a potent scent from their anal glands. What’s more, in the animal kingdom, an animal never knows where its next meal might come from. So, in the example of the lions in that clip we just saw, they just kept their energy reserved wisely.

honey badger anal gland scent

The lions in the above footage kept their energy reserved wisely, as they realized that this annoying little creature isn’t going to stop bugging them until they move along, so it’s probably not worth the effort to try to overpower. And indeed, this perseverance is exactly what makes the honey badger so successful.

It’s well-equipped for a long-haul battle, with an exceptionally tough hide that’s not only robust enough to withstand bee stings, porcupine quills, and even large animal bites, but it’s also extremely loose-fitting. This means when a large predator’s jaws grip it, it can wiggle around and maneuver its way free a lot of the time.

honey badger tough hide

There are, of course, certain cases where a honey badger probably regretted picking a fight. But for most of the time spent roaming their habitats across Africa, Southwest Asia and India, honey badgers simply don’t give a heck.

Cassowary

Ever heard of a cassowary? These big flightless birds, which reach up to 6 feet tall, are native to Papa New Guinea, Australia, and other nearby islands, and are considered one of the most dangerous birds in existence.

While they mainly feed on vegetation, they’re really omnivores, meaning also they have no problem chowing down on small animals from time to time.

Cassowary eating animals

And while they don’t eat humans, they can be hugely territorial, and aren’t averse to showing us what those claws do if we provoke them. The cassowaries’ track record normally involves a powerful kick with their dinosaur-like legs, equipped with razor-sharp claws. And their ability to run at up to 31mph means even Usain Bolt would struggle to evade one of these high-kicking terrors!

Cassowary Usain Bolt

With hundreds of attacks on humans per year, and having actually killed humans in the past, this big bird’s ledger is as red as that weird little flap dangling off its face, known as a wattle by the way, so steer clear!

Baboon

We all know what baboons are famous for. But these primates are more than just big red butts; they’re angry big red butts! With their insanely sharp, two-inch-long canines, capable of crushing bone, and an ingrained penchant for aggressively dominating the lands in which they live, they are no joke!

While baboons typically snack on fruits, roots, and on occasion small animals, those living in close proximity to humans have developed a craving for our own tasty, calorie-dense food and drink. As countless clips shared online of human-adjacent colonies in South Africa show, they have no inhibitions about snatching stuff from our hands – and will even steal from cars.

Watch on YouTube

This aggression is due to them being incredibly possessive over food, so any attempt to retrieve food from them will almost always result in an attack. Aside from that, things like running, showing your teeth, or even looking them straight in the eyes can be interpreted as a sign of aggression to a baboon, and may trigger an attack.

Should you find yourself being accosted by a baboon, experts recommend that you remain calm and slowly back away without turning your back on them. These fellows are so aggressive, I’m surprised the mob hasn’t hired them as debt collectors!

baboon debt collector

Least Weasel

Despite what its cute demeanor and petite size might suggest, the least weasel is a fierce, bloodthirsty murderer. However, given that they’re only usually between 4 and 10 inches in length, they probably won’t be troubling you anytime soon. They’re much too busy savagely hunting small rodents to the extreme.

With an ability to wrap its long, muscular body around its prey, the weasel easily delivers a lethal bite to the back of its victim’s neck, puncturing the spinal cord, leaving prey either dead, or paralyzed.

least weasel hunting
Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

But it doesn’t just do this when it’s hungry. The least weasel has evolved an instinctive, insatiable bloodlust, meaning it feels compelled to hunt constantly. When prey is plentiful, these weasels have been found to stockpile as many as 50 dead rodents in their burrows.

And most devious of all? The least weasel doesn’t even dig its own den; it steals the abandoned burrow of other species’, sometimes the very victims of its endless hunt!

weasel stealing burrows

But if you thought these malicious mustelids couldn’t get any more gangster, brace yourself. It turns out, least weasels have been observed hijacking woodpeckers!

Like something from Grand Theft Auto, this little guy was caught on camera by amateur photographer, Martin Le-may, in Essex, England, back in 2015.

View post on Twitter

While this is far from normal behavior, least weasels have been observed attacking and killing animals considerably larger than themselves, and indeed, it’s likely that the photo captured an attempted attack!

Nile Crocodile

Can you really say you’re surprised that a crocodile has snapped up a place in this article? There are good reasons these ancient predators, as we know them today, have been around for 85 million years. Just ask the Nile Crocodile!

These sneaky creatures mainly lurk the freshwaters of Africa and can grow to monstrous sizes, with the average male being 12 feet long and around 900 pounds heavy.

Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) thermoregulating ... (51873691926)
Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Like many of its relatives in the crocodilian family, the Nile isn’t all that fussy when it comes to food. And while it mainly fuels up on fish, it will prey upon pretty much anything, including zebras, humans, and even other crocodiles!

The Nile crocodile shows its aggression most terrifyingly when preying on land animals. Notorious for its lurking beady eyes, the croc will passively float at the edge of water where its prey habitually drinks.

View post on TikTok

Then, with a sudden lunge, it snaps up its victim, clamping down with a bite force of 5,000-pounds-per-square inch, before submerging and drowning it in the water. If the prey fights back, the croc savagely spins around, breaking and shredding its prey into submission. And humans aren’t safe either, considering Nile crocodiles claim upwards of 200 lives per year!

Chimpanzee

As babies, chimps are just about the most lovable creatures in the world. When they grow up though, it’s not long before they go from cute, to unbelievably brutal killers. And not just of the fruits, nuts, insects, and smaller monkeys that usually fill their bellies.

In their jungle homes across central and western Africa, chimp social groups have been observed to go out on patrols looking for other chimps they can steal territory from. When they find rivals, the clans begin screaming and smacking trees to intimidate each other.

If one group doesn’t back down, they’ll close in, and use a combination of lethal strikes from their muscly arms and ferocious bites from jaws evolved to shred flesh, until one group eliminates the other.

Chimpanzee fighting

Horrifically, this appetite for killing fellow chimps isn’t limited to adults. A baby chimp will be treated with equal contempt, and it won’t be spared the chimps’ darkest habit: occasionally eating their defeated chimp rivals.

As you can imagine, these surprisingly brutal animals will just as quickly grind their canines at us humans, and countless horrific tales have been logged of chimps mauling humans, particularly when held in captivity! So, if you enjoy having a face, stay away from chimpanzees.

Rhino

In central, eastern, and southern Africa, as well as parts of India and Indonesia, there roams a living tank, the rhinoceros.

Once presumed by Westerners to be merely the stuff of myth, these stocky, horned creatures are among the largest land mammals on earth, second only to elephants. But while we’d like to think rhinos are gentle giants like elephants, they’ve evolved much more on the side of aggression!

The sports of the world, with illustrations from drawings and photographs (1905) (14800325213)
Internet Archive Book Images, via Wikimedia Commons

With muscular bodies, thick skin, and huge horns, the rhino is easily protected from most predators. In fact, its only predator is human poachers, who sadly sell their horns on the black market.

But while the rhino’s relatively-poor vision makes it easy pickings for a poacher with a rifle, it remains a highly-dangerous foe when up-close and unarmed. With exceptional senses of hearing and smell, when threatened, rhinos become extremely hostile and will put their horns to good use as they assume a charge.

Just picture this: a hulking mass upwards of 3,000 pounds coming at you as fast as 34mph, with a sharp horn on the end of it. For TikToker Xetnia, this was exactly the situation in 2021.

View post on TikTok

With that bluff charge, it’s safe to say that both Xetnia and her friend pooped their collective pants! The good news, however, is that rhinos don’t want to kill or eat you. They’re extremely territorial, so when someone or something is in what they consider ‘their’ space, they only want to chase it away or hurt it enough to the point it’s no longer a threat.

Polar Bear

Thanks to their elegant white coats and cute cubs, many people assume polar bears are gentle creatures. Yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the WWF deem them as a major risk to humans who find themselves in their vicinity, and that likewise applies to most creatures they come near.

While their favorite dish is a serving of seal, they aren’t too picky when it comes to food, scoffing anything from birds and beluga whales to the tall, hairless apes we call humans.

polar bear preys

With their natural habitat in the Arctic lacking in vegetation, polar bears are the most carnivorous member of the bear family and have evolved to hunt pretty much any living thing they see.

And even if they don’t see it, they’ll probably get a whiff of it, considering they can smell a tasty bit of prey within a 20-mile radius. Despite the desolate lands they inhabit, the availability of creatures like whales, seals and sea lions is what allows polar bears to grow so large, counterintuitive though it might seem.

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in the drift ice region north of Svalbard
Andreas Weith, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is because their prey typically possess a lot of blubber to stay warm, which is, in turn, a great source of energy and fat for the bears. With plenty of fat reserves, the polar bears themselves can stay warmer, and the added bulk helps them grow stronger too, ranking them among the fiercest predators on earth.

With a bite force of 1,200 pounds-per-square-inch, these apex predators are able to take down pretty much anything they encounter. And even with their average 1,000-pound mass, they can run up to 25-miles-per-hour, making them fast and furious hunters.

Hippopotamus

Another case of ‘adorable baby, nightmare adult’, it may surprise you that hippopotami are responsible for around 500 human deaths throughout Africa each year.

Weighing in between 3,000 and 9,900lbs, these ultra-chunky ungulates could easily use their sheer mass to squish intruders to death, but it’s their big mouths that pose the biggest threat of all.

Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) (31034860102)
Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Those extended teeth are formidable weapons, and when you consider that their bite is substantially stronger than a lion’s, at 1,800 pounds-per-square-inch, it becomes clear how dangerous these hippos can be!

Being enormously territorial creatures, any infringement of a hippo’s space will provoke them to attack, with some even being known to capsize boats.

hippo capsize boat

Even crocodiles, who occasionally prey on baby hippos, do so at enormous risk; as with 20-inch sword-like killer canine teeth serving the hippo’s advantage, even a croc’s tough hide isn’t guaranteed protection!

Needless to say, the battle of the hyper-aggressive big-mouths is not something you want to end up in the middle of.

hippo and croc fight

Hyena

If Lion King taught us anything, it’s that hyenas are jerks. It’s just a movie, but it probably comes as no surprise that the real-world counterparts aren’t always the most pleasant of animals.

Native to Africa, hyenas are skilled carnivorous hunters who are adept at tackling large prey, such as warthogs, antelopes, wildebeests, and even the occasional unlucky giraffe calf.

Being largely pack-hunters, a cackling clan will launch a coordinated attack on their victim, bite the hind legs, and savagely gnaw through to the innards while the poor creature is still alive and kicking.

hyenas attack

Not a morsel of hair or bone is wasted. In fact, a group of hyenas are able to completely devour a 400-pound zebra in just 25 minutes, with late-comers using their huge jaw muscles and sharp teeth to pulverize the remaining bones.

What’s more, hyenas aren’t above stealing chunks of other animals’ kills, using a relentless, albeit risky, group tactic of nipping at the legs of predators like lions to drive them away from downed prey.

Their aggression isn’t just reserved for other species, though. Male hyenas face intense domination by the women of the pack, and must submit to the pecking order, or risk violent punishment from the alpha female.

Striped hyenas fighting
Mariomassone, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At a family carcass dinner, the males are made to eat last – even the female cubs get their nibble on before their pops.

As a result, a male hyena will often head out on hyper-aggressive solo hunts and ravenously tear into his meal as quickly as possible, before his female pack-mates can catch a whiff and force him off his own kill. If you want to experience a violently matriarchal society in action, simply offer yourself up as food for a male hyena and see what happens.

hyenas hunting

Bull Shark

While certainly rare, around 80 shark attacks occur every year. The frontrunners responsible for these are the great white, tiger shark, and perhaps the most dangerous of all, the bull shark. Reaching lengths of 11 feet and weighing as much as 700 pounds, the bull shark is certainly sizable.

Carcharhinus leucas beqa
amanderson2, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With their stocky midriff and pointed features, have the intimidation factor to match. These fierce predators hunt almost anything that crosses their waters, from invertebrates and smaller fish, to other sharks!

Their aggression is best exemplified in one of their most distinctive hunting techniques: the old bump’n’bite routine. They quite literally charge at their prey like a bull, ramming it as a way to debilitate it before tucking in.

bump’n’bite routine

With 50 rows of teeth, accumulating a grand total of around 350 serrated chompers evolved to tear through flesh like butter, the bull shark will then rip its prey apart. Due to their ability to swim in shallow, brackish, salt and freshwater, bull sharks are often in much closer proximity to us humans than most other sharks, making them a bigger threat.

This is especially true if you’re thrashing around. Indeed, thrashing of any kind triggers a shark’s instincts to hunt, as this behavior usually indicates a wounded animal, and hence an easier kill.

And while they can and will attack, they don’t tend to have an appetite for humans, as they chomp into us, they soon realize we’re not their desired prey, and replace the old bump’n’bite routine with the classic dine’n’dash. With a formidable 6,000-newton force bite, the bull shark’s bite is considered one of the strongest, meaning even a nibble can leave a human seriously injured, if not lifeless.

dine’n’dash routine

Silverback gorilla

While a male Silverback gorilla is powerful enough to peel a tree like a banana, or shatter your skull with one swing, they're also big-time family-men. As wholesome as that sounds, it’s seriously bad news if you pose a perceived threat to their family.

If, for example, another silverback competitively charges onto big daddy’s turf, he’ll typically throw the intruder off with an angry fake charge, giving enough time for his family to safely escape.

protective Silverback gorilla

If that doesn’t work, standing upright, big poppa might roar terrifyingly and throw whatever he finds off the forest floor at his enemy. And if that’s still no good, he’ll go for the big-time: lunging forward, lashing out with bone-shattering punches and digging his long, sharp canines into the intruder’s flesh.

Needless to say, an attack like that can cause deep, gaping injuries and even death, occasionally even to the fiercest predators of the East-African mountainous terrain most of them call home.

However, despite their aggression, there’s one thing that stops gorillas from being one of the toughest animals out there, they typically max out at around 5 feet tall. While a gorilla could no doubt deliver some nasty bruising, intimidation, and painful bites, their natural fighting tools are largely evolved to fight other gorillas, rather than enormous, bulky predators.

Wilhelma Gorilla im Gras
Xocolatl, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Overall, flat-out aggression doesn’t always win out against sheer predatory efficiency and strength. As much as the honey badger may try! Even so, among rival gorillas, it pays to be aggressive, seeing as the best man gets first dibs on the local ladies from any group they dominate.

So, for the guys out there who enjoy a bar-room brawl, you might want to consider reincarnation as a gorilla in the next life; that way, you might finally find love!

fighting for love

If you enjoyed learning more about the most aggressive animals on the planet, you might want to read this article about the most dangerous birds on Earth! Thanks for reading!

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