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10 Hunters More Lethal Than the Predator
A Little Discovery Channel-esque Wednesday Fun
By Ben Johnson
July 07, 2010
This week, a lot of us will be headed to the movies to check Predators, but when you walk outside, don’t look up in fear, look behind you because we’ve got plenty of deadly, real life hunters right here on this little blue ball we call home.
10. Red Bellied Piranhas
Except for their tiny, razor sharp teeth, piranhas are a mostly unremarkable looking little fishes. One at a time, or even a small school of 20 or so is barely something to notice, except as a novelty. In fact, despite a reputation as ravaging carnivores, during most of the year a person could wade across the Amazon with little fear of attack. That is unless the quantity of food dips a little low. If they’ve missed a few meals piranhas change into the beasts they are known as. Just ask a witness who watched them strip a cow to the bone in mere minutes, the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote:
"They are the most ferocious fish in the world. They will snap a finger off a hand incautiously trailed in the water; they mutilate swimmers--in every river town in Paraguay there are men who have been thus mutilated; they will rend and devour alive any wounded man or beast; for blood in the water excites them to madness" (“Through the Brazilian Wilderness,” 1914)
OK, we know we’re stretching a little with this one, as the only way a botfly could be considered lethal is if a person received a nasty infection from its unique larval gestation procedure. But it can’t be denied that these little guys are hunters. The female will hunt down an insect, like a mosquito, grab a hold of it and drop a whole bunch of eggs onto its back and wings. Then when the host lands on a mammal, like, say a person, the eggs fall down, get warm and hatch. These cute little buggers will then dig into the new host’s skin where it will grow from the size of a pinhead to more than an inch while eating surrounding tissue to expand its den. Having a hard time visualizing how absolutely horrific these parasites are? Take a gander at the pic below. And yes, that’s some dude’s eye it’s being pulled out of.
8. Brown Recluse Spider
Here’s another creepy crawler that will keep any normal human carefully checking shoes before committing a foot. This little guy, rarely larger than a quarter, lands a bite that often goes unfelt, and usually, that’s where it ends. However, every once in a while a wee little bit of venom gets injected and that’s when the fun starts. It begins a process called necrosis, the premature death of cells, where a bunch of flesh is eaten away and, in the words of Wikipedia, “The damaged tissue will become gangrenous and eventually slough away.” Or in layman’s terms, “Your skin will rot until a big chunk of it falls off of your body.” On the bright side, If you’re really lucky, younger than 7, older than 65, or have a weak immune system, this bite will kill you.
7. Komodo Dragon
Leaving the insect world and heading over to our cold blooded friends we find the Komodo Dragon, a lizard that can reach more than 10 feet in length and tip the scales at over 300 pounds. While these monsters usually stick to eating something already dead they aren’t afraid to hunt down their meal in the form of mammals, ranging from little tiny mice to adult goats and even the occasional person. Being an efficient beasty, the aptly named dragon will leap up and tear the throat out of their victim then proceed to swallow them whole. In 15 minutes an entire goat can be devoured, except for the hooves, horns, and get this, stomach (because it contains to many of those nasty vegetables) which the lizard will vomit up before going on its way. But wait! There’s more! You don’t have to lose a throat to get killed. Just a single bite can be lethal do to all the nasty bacteria growing in their mouths caused by eating things way past due date.
6. Australian Box Jellyfish
The box jellyfish, so called because of a cubicle head with four distinct sides, is hands down the most venomous critter that calls the ocean home. This 10-foot-long, 15-tentacle water dweller isn’t a real jellyfish because of a few very important differences. First, unlike jellyfish this thing has eyes, and second, it doesn’t just float where the current takes it, instead it propels itself through the water at speeds of up to 6 feet per second, meaning it can see you trying to get away just before it runs you down, wraps around you and nails you with 75,000 STINGING CELLS!!! You’ll get pumped full of chemicals that will cause, not necessarily in this order, heart attack, paralysis and for the few lucky people that live, necrosis.
5. King Cobra
It’s not the most poisonous snake in world, but what it lacks in horsepower it makes up for with one hell of a nasty attitude. The cobra family makes up for fully half of the 50,000 deaths by snake bite every year, and the 13-foot-long king is the most aggressive of them all. This serpent has a 7-foot striking range and can spit venom into a victim’s eyes from twice as far, blinding them before making the killing bite, which has enough poison to kill up to 40 average adults, or 20 Americans. Hail to the King, baby!
4. Polar Bear
The northern most member of the bear family may be on the endangered list, but it’s not for any weakness on its part. Weighing 1,500 pounds and standing 10-feet-tall on hind legs, the world’s largest land-based carnivore is also the only species of bear that will stalk human prey, although they prefer elephant seals, a mammal that can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds. Get between and a mom and her cub and the last thing you’ll see is a dinner plate sized paw just before it sends your head skipping across the frozen tundra.
3. Salt Water Crocodile
It’s the world’s largest reptile, which shouldn’t be surprising as these evil looking bastards have survived basically unchanged since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Growing to over 20 feet in length and bulking up to around 2,200 pounds, they will float around for days waiting for a chance to grab a tasty treat. Favorite on their menu is an unwary water buffalo, but they aren’t above taking a person if the opportunity arises. Once the croc lands a bite the victim is treated to a “death roll” to knock them off balance before being dragged to the floor of the ocean where they drown to death while being beaten against rocks, coral and anything else handy.
2. Great White Shark
You just know any list like this the big daddy of the shark world is going to make an appearance and here he is. These streamlined killing machines consume nearly a ton of food per month, but can fill up enough in one giant feed frenzy to go three months without a morsel. Strong enough to launch their 5,000-pound bodies out of the water like a murderous rocket, 3,000 teeth, able to bring down an adult sea lion, 6.5 tons of pressure per square inch inside their mouth, blamed for nearly 75 percent of all shark attacks, these would be #1 on this list if not for…
We know this pick may seem a bit anti-climatic, but if you took every human casualty racked up by all the above beasts, combined them and multiplied them by 10,000, they still wouldn’t get close to the lowly mosquito. While most of the world thinks of these bugs as little more than an annoyance, people that live in warmer climes know a bite from this bug could lead to membership in a not-exclusive club, one of 2,000,000 people killed every year by malaria caused as a direct result of said bite, and that right there makes mosquitoes the most lethal killers in the world.