These adorable little creatures from around the world are cuter than most – but get too close and you could find yourself the victim of a vicious attack! Here’s the lowdown on what’s cute – and what’s potentially lethal:
Where to find it: Australian waters
Awww, this little billed mammal is just so cute you could eat him up. But beware – male platypuses have a venomous ankle spur that they use to attack with. It’s not fatal to humans, but apparently it hurts like hell!
Where to find it: African rivers and lakes
This portly gentleman is one of the largest land animals, weighing up to 9 tonnes. But size matters not. Hippos can run up to 30 km per hour on those little stubby legs – which is faster than a human! With canines of up to 50cm long, they’re also considered to be one the deadliest animals in Africa.
Where to find it: African forests
It’s no surprise that we humans find our closest relative irresistibly cute. Chimps are also super smart – using sticks to fish for termites and even learning sign language is all in a day’s work for these brainy primates. However, these docile and affectionate monkeys can quickly become trouble – chimps are so strong they have the ability to tear off limbs! Whatever you do, don’t anger one.
Where to find it: Tropical & subtropical oceans
Take a wide berth around this cute little puff ball – each has enough venom to kill you 30 times over! Unperturbed, the Japanese consider it a delicacy. To make up for its lack of speed and agility, the pufferfish swallows a huge amount of water, inflating itself like a balloon. If a predator will not be deterred by its unswallowable size and spiky spines, the fish’s lethal venom would finish it off in seconds.
Where to find it: Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Americas
Romantic and loyal, these majestic creatures mate for life and can lay up to 8 eggs at a time. In England, all swans belong to the monarchy – a tradition that dates from the 12th Century. They may be regal, but they’re certainly not sissies – swans will hostilely defend their nests and in 2012, a man in the UK was supposedly drowned in a swan attack.
Where to find it: South & Southeast Asia
The slow loris’s enormous puppy-dog eyes take it to a new level of cute. These little oddities are classed as primates, a group that includes humans, chimpanzees and lemurs. A slow loris’s danger lies in its poisonous glands, located near its armpits. It uses its hands to transfer the poison to its teeth, setting up a toxic bite that can kill a human being.
Where to find it: South America
Weighing up to 64kg, this mammal can flick its tongue at 160 times per minute! Although toothless and lacking good eyesight, the giant anteater is far from defenceless – its 10cm claws allow it to fight off pumas and jaguars in the wild.
Where to find it: South America
In nature, bright colours are often a sign that an animal is dangerous and this little guy tops the list. Native Columbians traditionally used the frogs’ toxic skin secretions to add an extra lethal kick to their blowgun darts, which is how they got their name.
Of the many species, the golden poison dart frog is the most lethal of them all, with enough venom to kill 10 adult humans. Not really like Kermit the Frog, is it?!