The world is filled with all kinds of dangerous creatures. We all know to stay away from lions, tigers, and bears, right? But did you ever think that the most dangerous creatures out there might be small enough to fit in your purse or pocket? Today we have a look at some of the tiniest, but most deadly, creatures on the planet.
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6. TseTse Fly
Name one thing worse than snails: Parasites. The tsetse fly is what’s known as an obligate parasite, which means that it’s basically a vampire. It feeds off the blood of other animals in order to stay alive. Now, that isn’t what makes this fly dangerous–it isn’t going to drain your blood in a hurry. However, because it feeds on one animal to the next, it has an unparalleled ability to transmit disease.
In particular, the tsetse fly transmits African Trypanosomiasis or Sleeping Sickness. Not a virus or bacteria, sleeping sickness is caused by a microscopic parasite in the blood. Symptoms include anemia, fever, headache, and joint pain in the first stage; confusion, tremors, paralysis, and characteristic fatigue in the second stage. Without treatment, it is 100% fatal.
A lot like the tsetse fly, it isn’t necessarily the flea that is among the most dangerous critters in the world; instead, it’s what the flea is harboring. Rodent fleas are known to sometimes carry a bacterium called Yersinia Pestis. This bacterium is the cause of the bubonic and septicemic plague. Pneumonic plague is then transmitted through inhalation of saliva from a person suffering from the aforementioned plague variations. Still with us?
The outbreak of the plague in Europe peaked during 1347 to 1351 and was responsible for reducing the entire population of Europe by an estimated 40-60%. That’s as high as 200 million people and some historians would argue that number is tame.
And if you think the Black Plague is a thing of the past, think again. There was an outbreak recently in October of 2017 in Madagascar with nearly 700 infected. According to the CDC, there are anywhere between 1 and 17 cases reported each year.
4. Brazilian Wandering Spider
For a spider to be considered a threat to humans, you know it has to kind of be a big deal. Sure, everyone hates spiders. They’re creepy, with too many eyes and too many legs. They’re too fast and they get into your blankets and pillows and well, you know the drill. They’re scary, but more often than not…they’re harmless.
Well, not the Brazilian Wandering Spider. These are scary and dangerous. According to some studies, their bite is capable of delivering a lethal dose to a human being, especially if that human being is a child.
Perhaps even more terrifying is that these spiders do not build webs. Instead, they are known as active hunters. They aren’t called “wandering spiders” for no reason; they literally wander on the forest floor and hunt prey at night–either by full on attack or ambush.
Remember tetrodotoxin? It isn’t only for the blue ringed octopus. It turns out a lot of creatures are in possession of the dangerous substance, the pufferfish included. Tetrodotoxin is 1200 times more deadly to humans than cyanide, and maybe we should just reiterate: there is no antidote.
When a pufferfish feels it is in danger, it inflates its body (hence, pufferfish). However, that’s only to ward off predators and that doesn’t always work. So, at the same time, it secretes tetrodotoxin onto its skin, making them not only unpalatable, but deadly.
In some places around the world, the pufferfish is often served as a delicacy. However, it can only be prepared by chefs who have trained for three or more years because one wrong move with a knife and the sashimi is contaminated with the neurotoxin. We’ll stick with California rolls for now, thanks.
2. Irukandji Jellyfish
An adult irukandji jellyfish is only one cubic centimeter, it really doesn’t get much smaller than that. Also they’re nearly transparent, so your chances of being able to see and avoid one are almost 0%. And did we mention yet that they’re one of the most venomous jellyfish in the entire world?
They only inhabit in the waters near Northern Australia, because that’s where all the most dangerous animals in the world are found.
Because the jellyfish are so small, it can be difficult to even realize you’ve been stung until about half an hour later. But you will most definitely know because when you are stung by one of these jellyfish, the symptoms are collectively known as Irukandji Syndrome, which is just as serious as it sounds. Physically, the symptoms include headaches, nausea, back pain and more. Mentally, sufferers have reported a “feeling of doom.” Makes sense.
Finally, if a person does not go into cardiac arrest, they can live through Irukandji syndrome–though it can sometimes take up to two weeks for the symptoms to dissipate completely.