5 "Harmless" Animals That Can Straight-Up Kill You

by Matthew Abel

The rule has always been pretty simple: Don't screw with wild animals. Like you wouldn't walk up and try to hug an untamed giraffe, because it's likely going to stomp you into an undefined puddle of nothing. But what about the super cute ones like beavers or swans? They may have the instinct to defend themselves when you've scared the crap out of them, but what are they going to do? Kill you? Well, actually ... yeah.


A Rooster Stabbed A Guy To Death (Yes, With An Actual Knife)

Chickens are ubiquitous cowards. Though the salmonella-stricken may disagree, they are pretty much the most harmless animals on the planet. I mean, how many other animals just let you walk up and take its unborn children right in front of it, without trying to bite your face off? Even if they did fight back, it's not like you're going to lose a knife fight to a chicken.

Except one guy totally did. Jose Luis Ochoa of California decided to level up his rooster by taping a knife to its leg, and though that may sound straight up psychopathic, it's actually a pretty common practice in cockfights. Which are, themselves, psychopathic. And also illegal. Ochoa knew this, because he had been busted for it before. Unfortunately, cockfighting is just considered a misdemeanor in California, so he was just given a fine, slapped on the wrist, and told, "Don't do that again, please."



Anyone else have Alice In Chains stuck in their head, now?

In a fit of extreme karma, the rooster took the law into its own hands (spurs?) and stabbed Ochoa in the calf. Two hours later, the guy arrived at the hospital, but it was too late. He lost so much blood, he actually died.

A Beaver Killed A Man Who Was Trying To Take A Picture

Beavers are adorable, what with their cute overbites, flat tails and big ol' chubby bodies. Unless you’re made of trees, what could they possibly do to you? As it turns out, quite a bit if you don’t respect their privacy.

That was a lesson learned, very briefly, by a man in Belarus who tried to take a picture with a nearby beaver. Instead of politely posing with him or scurrying off like most animals do at the sight of humans, the beaver bit his thigh, piercing through his femoral artery. He bled out before he could get medical attention.



"You want none of this, son. Walk away."

While this is the only case we know of where a beaver outright killed a person, it turns out that non-deadly attacks are not unheard of. Belarus is apparently a hotbed of fierce beaver attacks. There’s been another reported attack in Croatia (translation necessary), though thankfully not deadly. Another outright stalked a snorkeler off the coast of Nova Scotia, circling him like a shark and biting him.

So the lesson here is: find out where beavers are, and then never, ever go there. Leave beavers alone. They will kick your ass.

A Deer Impaled A Hunter With Its Antlers

Unless mesmerized by car headlights, deer are likely to run in the opposite direction if they even suspect that you're looking at them. Since deer can hide well and can be hard to track, hunting them can be pretty challenging. In the US, it's common to camouflage yourself and then just wait in complete silence until one walks by. In Europe, groups will sometimes gang up on deer, making them run toward the hunter.

Sometimes, the deer figure it out and take revenge.



This one, for instance, has a very particular set of skills ...

Such was the case back in November of 2017. A man working as a beater (one of the people who hit bushes with a stick in order to scare deer toward the shooters) cornered a deer. Instead of the deer flipping out and running away, it charged, impaling the 62 year old man and killing him.

Most hunters are aware of how dangerous deer can be when scared or provoked. Though it's not very likely that you'll be mauled to death by one, it's not exactly rare to be attacked. Here's a non-deadly beatdown in action, and we implore you to not mentally insert "Yakety Sax" while watching it:


Squirrels Are Violent Douchebags

Squirrels are considered pretty harmless unless you tie them together and use them like nunchucks. One-on-one, you'd punch that sucker completely in half, no contest.

Of course, there is strength in numbers. In 2005, a horde of squirrels (we're not calling them a "scurry" ... it's just not happening) descended upon a large dog at a Russian park and literally tore it to shreds. They bolted as soon as humans showed up, but locals were too late to save the dog. Many of them reported that some of the rodents still had scraps of dog flesh in their evil little faceholes as they scampered away.



"Oh, snap! He's breakin' out the crazy eyes! RUN!"

You'd think that this is a one-off sort of deal, but just a bit of Googling lets you know to stay the hell away from squirrels. Like back in 2002 when one attacked a little girl and held a whole neighborhood hostage in England. The New York Times even published an article in 1878, reporting on a squirrel that regularly attacked farmers.

So it looks like these little buttholes don't even respect the advice of "stay away from them". If they get hungry or angry enough, they'll actually seek you out.

A Swan Caused A Guy To Drown

Swans are so pretty and delicate, they're the opposite of harmful. They're literally used as a symbol of love. Curled together, their necks form a heart shape ... how much more peaceful and "aaaawwww" can an animal get?

Despite their status, swans can also turn a little murdery.

In 2012, Anthony Hensley got a little too close to a pair of swans while kayaking just outside of Chicago. One of the birds, likely defending a nest, attacked him and capsized the boat. Unfortunately, it's hard to swim to shore when you're fully clothed and a giant bird is unrelentingly attacking you. Eventually, exhaustion set in, and Anthony drowned. Witnesses told police that the bird appeared to be purposely blocking him from reaching the shore.



This is the "it's on like Donkey Swan" pose.

Though it's obviously uncommon for swans to kill people, the aggression is par for the course. If they think they're being threatened -- especially during mating and nesting season -- they will absolutely attack. Most of the time, they just puff up and charge at you while hissing. But under the perfect storm of circumstances, things can go super bad, super fast.

Like this article? Check out "4 WTF Ways You Can Get Murdered Around The World" and "6 People Whose Pain Endurance Put Action Heroes To Shame".

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