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With a leg span of up to 12 inches, the giant huntsman spider is one of the most terrifying arachnids on Earth. Not only are these creatures enormous, but they're also incredibly fast. In fact, they move so quickly that they don't even bother weaving webs to hunt their prey. Instead, they race at their victims with their pincers bared — and they can kill anything from insects to possums. History Uncovered/Facebook
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Amblypygi is an ancient order of arachnids, also known as whip spiders or tailless whip scorpions. They possess an extremely long and flexible set of "first legs" that can be up to six times the length of their body and act as antennae to sense information about their environment. They live mostly in the rainforest and are harmless to humans — unless you count the nightmares. Greg Hume/Wikimedia Commons
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Deep-Sea Dragon Fish
The deep-sea dragonfish uses it's fangs to grab prey that floats past as it lurks 1,600 feet deep in the ocean. Incredibly, their fangs are made of nanoscale-sized crystal particles.
Their average size is about three and a half inches long, so while they're not usually huge, they are still scary, and they have evolved a sensory system that detects even the smallest movements in the deep shadows.Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Wikimedia Commons
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Vampyroteuthis infernalis — which literally translates to "vampire squid from hell" — are equated to vampires because of their blood-red color. Instead of expelling ink like other squids, they release bioluminescent material to confuse would-be predators in the ocean depths. Scientists theorize that vampire squid are extremely ancient; representing some of the only living descendants of the 200 million-year-old common ancestors of both octopus and squid.MBARI/YouTube
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Larger than even bald eagles, the California Condor is the biggest wild bird in North America. These terrifying scavengers search for carrion across Pacific beaches into mountain forests and nest in caves on cliff faces. The first species to be filed under the Endangered Species Act in 1973, they once were almost completely eradicated from the Pacific Northwest — but they're back now thanks, in large part, to a breeding facility in Oregon.Joe Lewis/Wikimedia Commons
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Black Mamba Snake
The black mamba is one of the world's deadliest snakes with the intimidating looks to match. These snakes inject 12 times the venom needed to kill a human with every bite and can shockingly bite up to 12 times in a single attack. Needless to say, if you find yourself in sub-Saharan Africa, beware the death-dealing black mamba. worldleaks/Flickr
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Giant Deep Sea Isopods
Nothing like a bunch of segmented body parts to give you the shivers. Giant isopods are one of the biggest crustaceans known to man and are related to shrimp, crabs, and even the terrestrial pillbug. Their enormous size is a result of a phenomenon known as "deep sea gigantism," or the tendency of deep sea creatures to grow much larger than same or similar species located in shallow water.oceanexplorergov/Flickr
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Goblin sharks inhabit the ocean at depths of more than 4,000 feet and have been found off various coasts in the Atlantic Ocean — but the majority are sighted off the coasts of Japan. While these terrifying creatures are known for protruding their jaws in an unnatural fashion to catch prey, what's also interesting is that goblin shark females feed their unborn offspring with nutrients from unfertilized eggs.Wikimedia Commons
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The gharial is among the longest of all living crocodile species. They currently inhabit rivers in the plains of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and they are the most thoroughly aquatic of the species, leaving the water only for basking and building nests. They don't chew their prey, they just swallow it whole. Charles J. Sharp/Wikimedia Commons
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Brown Coconut Crab
Coconut crabs are found across coastal forests throughout the Indo-Pacific, from African islands to the Eastern Pacific Ocean. They can be up to three feet in length and have an insane grip that they use to lift prey equal in size to that of a 65-pound child. Known as a predator to large seabirds and rats, they also inhabit Nikumaroro Island, one of the uninhabited Phoenix Islands, and are even rumored to have possibly killed Amelia Earhart.Jon Tann/Flickr
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The cape buffalo, or African buffalo, is a massive animal weighing almost a ton. They stand five feet tall to the shoulder and have heavy, curved horns. Formerly found all throughout sub-Saharan Africa, now they're becoming near-threatened on the conservation scale. They are always fairly aggressive, but when they're wounded, they're regarded as one of the most dangerous animals in the animal kingdom — and are able to launch a lion several feet into the air. Charles J. Sharp/Wikimedia Commons
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Giant Amazonian Centipede
Scolopendra gigantea, or the giant Amazonian centipede, is one of the largest centipede species in the world — measuring about a foot long. Found in northern South America, they are carnivores that eat any other animal it can overpower and use its venom on, including scorpions, tarantulas, small lizards, snakes, frogs, birds, mice, bats — and even one four-year-old child in Venezuela. Creatures of Enigma/Facebook
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Once revered by Ancient Egyptians, hamadryas baboons are also sometimes called Sacred Baboons. These Old World monkeys exist in a patriarchy; the males restrict the movements of the females using visual threats, biting, or grabbing them to keep them in line. Males sometimes succeed in taking females from other harems, which can result in aggressive fights. These monkeys are currently extinct in Egypt, but can still be found in Somalia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. _pavan_/Flickr
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The world's largest nocturnal primate, the aye-aye is actually a long-fingered lemur from Madagascar with perpetually growing, rodent-like teeth. They grow their middle finger notably longer than the rest of their fingers — which would be super creepy all by itself if it weren't for those crazy eyes — in order to reach grubs that burrow inside trees.nomis-simon/Wikimedia Commons
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Luckily, komodo dragons are limited to a few Indonesian islands; Rintja, Padar, Flores, and Komodo. Male dragons can be up to 10 feet long, weigh 150 pounds, and eat close to 80 percent of their own weight at a time. Attacks from these fork-toothed beasts are rare — but if a komodo dragon does attack, they can snap you in two pretty handily. Charles J. Sharp/Wikimedia Commons
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Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula
The Goliath Bird-Eater belongs to the tarantula family and resides in South America. It's the biggest spider in the world by mass; measuring up to 4.75 inches with a leg span of up to 11 inches (second only in span to the huntsman spider). They may not eat birds frequently, but they can — as well as anything else smaller than they are. Female Bird-Eaters can live up to 20 years old under human care, but male life spans are notably shorter at between three to six years.briangratwicke/Flickr
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Giant Golden Crowned Flying Fox
With a wingspan of up to five and a half feet, these flying fox "megabats" can look terrifying — but don't worry, they only eat fruit. Indigenous to the jungles of the Philippines, this enormous species of bat is the largest in the world and live in colonies that can number up to 10,000 members.smurfun/Flickr
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Hairy Frog Fish
Imagine a hairy, bloblike creature that's called a fish but that walks on its fins along the seafloor scouting for snacks. This isn't a mythical sea creature — it’s called a hairy frogfish, and they're about eight inches long and live mostly in warm waters around the world. This odd fish can also change color for camouflage and eat crustaceans and other fish. Christian Gloor/Wikimedia Commons
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While all octopuses are venomous to a degree, the toxins contained in one Blue-Ringed Octopus bite are enough to kill 26 people. Native to the Pacific Ocean, this psychedelic-colored, six-inch mollusk lives in coral reefs and on the sandy bottoms of shallow tide pools. The blue markings only appear when the animal is threatened, and be careful not to threaten one, as there is no known antidote to their venom. saspotato/Flickr
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The ill-tempered Marabou Stork is a massive creature that has one of the largest wing-spreads of any living bird. Large specimens reach a height of 60 inches and weigh up to 20 pounds. A frequent scavenger —eating mainly carrion and scraps — its naked head is likely an evolutionary adaptation; head feathers would become clotted with blood and gore after spending time feasting inside a larger corpse. Charles J. Sharp/Wikimedia Commons
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These ferocious looking deep-sea fish can live at
depths as far down as 16,400 feet in tropical waters worldwide. It is easy to see how it gets its name; these fish have mouths full of pointy teeth for catching and gripping prey. Common fangtooths migrate toward the water's surface at night, and are more active than other deep-sea creatures when it comes to hunting. David Shale/Smithsonian Institute
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Japanese Spider Crab
Japanese spider crabs are the largest of the 60,000 species of crustaceans — and one of the largest arthropods — ranging from 12.5 feet from one front claw to the other, and with 10 creepy, gangly legs. These spider crabs live on the Pacific side of Japan, at chilly depths as low as 1,640 feet. They belong to a group called "decorator crabs," who adorn their shells with camouflage made from anemones or sponges. Takashi Hososhima/Wikimedia Commons
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Naked Mole Rat
The horrifying naked mole rat is a hairless, burrowing rodent that lives underground in East Africa. They are the only cold-blooded mammal, as well as the only mammal that lives in a society like that of bees; only a few get to breed with one queen and the rest are workers. While they aren't large mammals, just something about those teeth outside their actual mouth is very unnerving.Roman Klementschitz/Wikimedia Commons
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The Northern Stargazers, or zombie fish, are a family of fish that have eyes on top of their heads, an upward-facing mouth, and a face that only a mother zombie fish could love. They live in both shallow and deep salt waters worldwide. They bury themselves in the seafloor and leap out to ambush prey with their two venomous spines located above their pectoral fins. Rickard Zerpe/Wikimedia Commons
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Pictured here is the "demonic" Queensland Tube-Nosed Bat. Hardly as demonic as their nickname suggests, they are considered a "megabat" due to their large size. They live in northeastern Australia and are the only species in the Pteropodidae family that roost alone.Michael Pennay/Flickr
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Pacific Lamprey start their life cycle in freshwater streams around the Pacific Rim; Japan north to Russia, and from Alaska to California and Baja, Mexico. They migrate from fresh water to the ocean and back and first appeared in the fossil record 450 million years ago. Their telling feature is a jawless, sucking mouth that attaches to other fish and ocean mammals to feed on their blood and fluids. Luckily, this does not harm the host long-term, but it hurts us just thinking about it.eddiesfisheriesfws/Flickr
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The tree canopies on the island of Borneo are the only habitat of the proboscis monkey, an endangered species. This monkey is most famous for its pronounced brow and bulbous, floppy nose — but only the males have the long noses. They're pretty easygoing monkeys, even if it looks like they fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. TimSagorski/Wikimedia Commons
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Bearded Sea Devil
Throughout tropical to subtropical waters of all oceans, there lives Linophryne brevibarbata, a species in the genus leftvents, commonly called "bearded seadevils," and related to anglerfish. As you can see, these are small but absolutely terrifying in every plausible way. Nigel R. Merrett/Wikimedia Commons
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The shoebill stork may look like some kind of prehistoric muppet, but it's one of the fiercest birds in the animal kingdom. With a dense beak that clocks in at seven inches long and sometimes just as wide, the shoebill can easily decapitate a six-foot lungfish in one strike and has been known to take on crocodiles. History Uncovered/Facebook
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Promachoteuthis sulcus is a species of squid known from a single (but distinctive) individual specimen from the depths of the south Atlantic. What appears to be human teeth are really circular, folded lips — of which only the tops and bottoms can be seen — and that surround the creature's beak, which is not visible here.R. Young/Tolweb.org
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The star-nosed mole is a fuzzy little carnivore living in moist, tunneled areas in upper North America. As they go along, they bob their heads and use that nose (with its 25,000 minute sensory receptors) to navigate and hunt. It’s also one of just two animals in the world that can smell underwater; they blow air bubbles and then suck them back in through their nose. US National Parks Service/Wikimedia Commons
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Visored bats are somewhat rare, as few specimens have been collected throughout tropical South America and the Amazon basin. These bats' bodies are only about two and a half inches long, and the male bats have an unusual feature: a large fold of skin on the neck which can be pulled up over the face as a mask while sleeping. Females also have the fold, but it's smaller and non-functional.Guilherme Siniciato Terra Garbino/AMODSS/Facebook
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Powerful predators, the Wolf Fish or Wolf Eels are the embodiment of deep-sea horror. They reach lengths of up to five feet and live in the cold, northern Atlantic waters. With powerful jaws on their giant heads and huge canine teeth that are too big even for their mouths, they eat hard-bodied or spiny invertebrates, such as crabs and sea urchins.gorbould/Flickr
Discover The 33 Scariest Animals In The World, From The Deep Sea To The Tropical Skies
It would be terrifying to come across a huge, roaring bear, standing at full height, with claws raised and foam dripping from its massive teeth. That's a scary animal indeed. But bears, tigers, and even snakes have nothing on these scary animals.
Bringing to mind the famous Hamlet quote: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy," these terrifying creatures are not widely known, but they're out there; from the man-sized bat down to the deep-sea dragonfish, you might be glad you've never seen these critters in the wild.
But perhaps these scary animals benefit from their intimidating looks and can keep predators at bay because of it. After all, humans have a way of causing mass extinctions in the animal kingdom.
And maybe that's what makes these animals all the more fascinating: they have endured.
Scary Animals That Lurk In The Depths
Although its name might imply that this particular squid is a bloodthirsty beast, they are actually scavengers, not predators. They're also, surprisingly, not actually squid. Meet the Vampire Squid, the only-known members of the order Vampyromorphida, a cephalopod that may be an ancient link between the octopus and the squid.
RedditA vampire squid swimming in the depths.
Vampire squid thrives in the deep ocean where there is very little oxygen. They eat something called "marine snow", which sounds pleasant enough, but is precipitation of corpses, snot, and poop that rains down onto them. Predators are almost non-existent at these depths, and so the vampire squid is free to undulate and roam around.
These animals are certainly creepy-looking, especially when they move all those webbed tentacles up over their head like a mask. However, with their bright blue eyes and parts that glow with bioluminescence, they are almost pretty, in a weird way.
These creatures aren't a threat to humans; they look scarier than they really are.
Creepy Creatures That Rule On Land
Widely regarded as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, the Cape Buffalo is a very robust species — with its giant horns as a defining feature. As one of the "big five" African game species, (joined by the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, and elephant) they are sometimes referred to as "the black death" because they are ambush and attack pursuers when wounded.
dkeats/FlickrCape buffalo are considered one of the most dangerous animals in the world.
With a bodyweight of up to 2,000 pounds, they are clearly very powerful and therefore scary, animals. In the video below, you can see the ease in which it tosses a lion up several feet into the air while protecting a juvenile buffalo.
The cape buffalo is currently in near-threatened conservation status, because of habitat fragmentation. They're often in conflict with humans because of their aggression; breaking fences and trampling crops are also problems they cause. Not to mention spreading disease to livestock populations.
All in all, you're going to want to steer clear of these massive creatures; they are as dangerous as they look.
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.