10 Animals You Wish You Didn't Know About
Apparently there is a type of fish that exists in the world that is known as “the ball-cutter” because it really enjoys noshing on human testicles. It looks like this:
I’m sorry, that’s a photo of Billy Joel. I don’t know how that got in there. That’s weird. The fish actually looks like this:
No, wait, that’s just a different photo of Billy Joel. THIS is the fish:
Damnit, that’s not it, that’s the first photo of Billy Joel. I don’t know how this keeps happening.
Anyway, according to The Local, a French news site, the fish is a type of pacu fish, similar to a piranha fish. “The pacu is not normally dangerous to people but it has quite a serious bite. There have been incidents in other countries, such as Papua New Guinea where some men have had their testicles bitten off…They bite because they’re hungry, and testicles sit nicely in their mouth. And its mouth is not so big, so of course it normally eats nuts, fruit, and small fish, but human testicles are just a natural target.”
Oh, right, yeah, of course, it’s just a natural target.
But the pacu fish is just one of many nightmares out there. Here are 10 animals you wish you didn’t know about. Because I love writing about scary things.
10. Flying Foxes, AKA, the largest bats in the world.
These gigantic bats can stretch their horrible wings up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) and when they do, it looks like they’re doing jazz hands, because they have humanesque limbs. They can weigh up to 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) and 1.45 kg (3.2 lb), which is like having a flying cat except not cute. And not my/my mom’s cats, because they are just way too fat, I think they’re around 8 — 12 pounds and the vet told my mom, “They are all too fat” and my mom said, “Even Obo?” And he said, “Yes.” And Obo was always known as the athletic one.
Photo of Obo by me.
There are even different kinds of Flying Foxes — that’s just the colloquial name for the sob inducing beast. (The bats, not the cat.)
9. Giant squid.
Image: Access Science
Giant squids are the perfect animals for haunting your dreams. Picture yourself scuba diving in deep, dark water. Now swim even further down. Now turn around. In the murky distance you see a large shape of something huge, with an eye as big as your head. It’s got long tentacles. It’s 43 feet long and you are screwed.
There’s that famous display hanging from the ceiling of the Natural History Museum of a squid attacking a sperm whale. Picture that. And then picture yourself in comparison the whale.
We know of at least 8 species of the giant squid, but there could be more (although that’s debated — some say there are only 3. But some say there could be more types of giant squids just chilling at the depths of our oceans, just waiting for us to try to screw with them. Well, not in those exact words, but you know they’re thinking it and just afraid to tell us.)
8. Puss Caterpillar
Here’s another frightening creature with a super cute name. It’s also known as pussy moth, which is going to be a great alias for someone someday. The true name for this moth is Megalopyge opercularis. And this is what it looks like on the underside:
That fluffy body is actually not fur, but an armor of spines full of venom that is both painful and potentially dangerous if touched by the human body. “The reactions are sometimes localized to the affected area but are often very severe, radiating up a limb and causing burning, swelling, nausea, headache, abdominal distress, rashes, blisters, and sometimes chest pain, numbness, or difficulty breathing (Eagleman 2008).”
7. Emperor Scorpion
The Emperor Scorpion is a species of scorpion that is one of the largest in the world, getting as big as 9 inches (23 cm). And just for fun, it glows under UV light.
It is, of course, venomous. The good news for most of us is that it’s only found in African countries. Here it is covered in scorpion babies:
This one just looks scary, and with good reason. The “saw” protruding from the sawfish (and it’s not teeth) can grow as long as 3.5 feet (1.1 m) and yes, it’s sharp. The sawfish are going extinct, because people like to catch them for their novelty. They want the saw as a sort of trophy, their fins as a gourmet delicacy, and their liver oil which is apparently used in folk medicine. They are protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). But who will protect CITES from them???
***SPIDER WARNING FROM HERE ON OUT***
5. Goliath birdeater
In terms of body mass, this is the second largest spider in the world. The largest in terms of leg span is the giant huntsman spider, and don’t worry, that Aussie favorite will also make an appearance. The Goliath is just a total jerk. Good news is that it doesn’t typically eat birds. It was named by someone in the 18th century who saw it eating a hummingbird said, “Oh God that’s just awful.” The females live around 15 – 25 years. The males die after 6 years, tops. There’s totally a metaphor in here.
In all fairness to these large furry creatures, they’re not a threat to humans. They only bite if provoked, and while their fangs can pierce deep and can hurt, the venom is “relatively harmless.” I guess the relative part is “relative to a nuclear holocaust.”
4. Koala lemur
The megaladapis, AKA koala lemur, is extinct, hence the creepy drawing. But it’s a creepy accurate drawing. Look at its face! And it got to around 110 pounds (50 kilograms). So it’s like having a long limbed, sharp toothed, hairy human lumbering up trees, staring into your soul.
This was kind of like the first bigfoot. People used to believe it was a lot more humanlike. Here is a thankfully inaccurate drawing from 1902.
It’s been gone for around 500 years. I’m fine with that.
3. Saint Helena earwig
The Saint Helena earwig, AKA the Saint Helena Giant earwig, is the largest earwig in the world. It hasn’t been seen since 1967. Maybe that’s because it’s been lodged in someone’s EAR this entire time. Who knows. It may be extinct. It may not be.
Earwigs don’t purposefully burrow into peoples’ ears, but it’s been known to happen. It’s because they like dark small crevices. So I guess it’s time to give up my love of sleeping outdoors, on my side, on the damp ground. There are many species of earwig and none are this big. Apparently the majority of earwigs are found in Australia. Because of course.
2. Coconut crab
Coconut crabs are the largest crabs in the world and also the largest arthropods in the world so while some see these and think, “Wow I bet those are delicious” I see these and think, “That’s basically a huge spider” and try not to cry. I think the creepiest thing about these, aside from their size, is that they’re land animals. If submerged in seawater, they will drown. So just pictures these strolling along the street or showing up in a parking lot or something.
They’re strong enough to crack open coconuts, so I assume that means they can also crack heads. Thankfully they prefer fruit and not human flesh.
1. Huntsman spider
I know that in Australia these are common so many of you may be thinking, “Psh, this is nothing” but I live in America, buddy, and in America if you saw one of these chilling in your shower, you would think the world is ending. (And yes, they’ve been seen in America, but not where I live, so just let me have this one thing.)
I previously wrote about these for a Hello Giggles article, “Top 10 Irrational Fears.” And by “wrote about these” I mean I wrote, “WHAT.”, “OH GOD.”, and “NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. WHAT. NO. NO.”
They’re also called “giant crab spiders” because they just weren’t terrifying enough with the name “huntsman.”
They usually keep to themselves, but if they feel threatened in any way — ANY WAY — they’ll bite. Some species of huntsman can cause swelling, pain, vomiting, and a severe case of “Oh God why.” People say they’re not venomous but that’s not true, their fangs absolutely contain venom; it’s how they kill their prey. It’s just that if you’re a typical healthy human, you’ll be fine.
They have the longest leg span of any spider, they’re fast, and some of them jump. Because screw you.
I hope you enjoyed this journey of learning about nature’s scarier creatures.
Oh, and one more thing: