Who needs monsters and ghouls when the animal kingdom is this scary? We’ve found 10 terrifying creatures that are sure to give you nightmares.
1. Hairy frogs (aka horror frogs)
Image via The Richest
When threatened with a fight, this small African frog voluntarily breaks its toes. It then pushes them through the skin of its foot in order to form wolverine-esque claws.
The Bakoosi people of Cameroon traditionally believe that hairy frogs fall from the sky. They consume them to help with a number of ailments, including infertility.
2. Deep sea anglerfish
Image via DK Find Out
This ugly fish, which lives in the depths of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans and can reach a metre in length, has a huge head and teeth-filled mouth.
The female of the species has a piece of dorsal spine that sticks out above the mouth and works like a fishing pole. The tip of this pole is a lump of luminous flesh that lures in prey until they’re close enough to be eaten.
The body of the anglerfish is so pliable that they often feast on prey twice their own size.
Image via Buy Me Buddy
These guys might look cute, but don’t be fooled. The tiny primates are found in the islands of South East Asia and their bite is far worse than their bark.
Tarsiers are the only primates known to be exclusively carnivorous. They locate their meals by waiting completely motionless on trees and watching with their huge eyes. When food is located, they kill their prey by jumping on it, holding it with their two hands and biting it with their incredibly strong teeth.
These primates survive on insects, lizards and birds though they also enjoy eating snakes and bats, which they catch in mid-air.
4. Goblin sharks
GIF via Educational GIFs Tumblr
This incredibly rare species of shark is sometimes called a “living fossil” and it’s not hard to see why. Its lineage dates back an impressive 125million years.
Goblin sharks usually measure between 10 and 13ft long, but they have been known to grow substantially bigger.
The creature’s long snout is used to sense minute electric fields produced by nearby prey. It can then snatch the unsuspecting victim in its rapidly extending jaw.
5. Pink fairy armadillo
Image via Reddit
Okay, seeing as it only eats ants and soft fruits this critter isn’t particularly scary. But it is really weird.
The pink fairy is the smallest of the armadillo family, measuring just five inches long. Its tiny body is covered in white fluff topped with a pink shell.
Using its enormous claws, this creature claws its way through the earth—its hands are so big that it struggles to walk at all on hard flooring and is far better suited to life in the earth
6. Poison dart frogs
Image via Pets Foto
These miniature amphibians are on a mission to prove that the worst things come in small packages.
At just 2.4 inches in length they might not seem like a threat, but poison dart frogs are some of the most deadly creatures on the planet.
These frogs secrete lipophilic alkaloid toxins through their colourful skin and each frog has enough poison to kill 20,000 mice.
The species got their name because Amerindian tribes used to use their secretions to poison their darts. The golden poison arrow frog is the most dangerous and can easily kill humans.
The saiga is a critically endangered antelope. Less than 50,000 survive in the wild and it has already become extinct in China, Romania and Moldova.
8. Japanese spider crabs
Image via Metro
Arachnophobics look away now. This species of marine crab has a leg span of 12ft from claw to claw, while its body can grow to a width of 40cm.
The spider crab is an omnivore as well as a scavenger, crawling the ocean floor for dead animals. They can even prise open the shells of molluscs. Should they want to spider crabs could eat human children, though they are generally gentle creatures.
9. Vampire bats
Image via National Geographic
Like their mythical namesake, vampire bats feed exclusively on the blood of mammals or birds. First they locate their prey, which is usually asleep, then they use thermoception to locate a vulnerable spot, create a small incision and drink from the wound.
If their prey has hair, these clever animals use their sharp incisor teeth like barber’s blades to shave the area. The bat’s saliva even contains anticoagulants which stop the blood from clotting and keep the wound bleeding for longer.
Vampire bats can consume over 20grams of blood in each 20-minute feed. By this point, the bat has increased its body weight by 30%.
Image via Animal Sadda
These rodent-like primates are undeniably terrifying to look at. Their sharp teeth, long disjointed fingers and staring eyes are haunting even though they aren’t dangerous to humans.
Aye-Ayes find their prey by tapping on tree trunks or branches and listening to the echo produced in order to find hollow chambers. They then chew a hole in the wood and use their slender middle fingers to get grubs from the tree.