Discover The 33 Scariest Animals In The World, From The Deep Sea To The Tropical Skies

Published November 15, 2021

With toxic saliva, fang-teeth, and retractable jaws, you'll wish you never have to come face to face with these terrifying creatures.

Huntsman Spiders
Scary Animals
Scariest Animals
Vampire Squid Swimming
Discover The 33 Scariest Animals In The World, From The Deep Sea To The Tropical Skies
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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.

Vampire Squid Open

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.

Cape Buffalo Horns

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.

Next, read about the world's deadliest animals you may not know about. Then, check out these cute baby animals — because the earth isn't all scary.

Erin Kelly
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.
Leah Silverman
A former associate editor for All That's Interesting, Leah Silverman holds a Master's in Fine Arts from Columbia University's Creative Writing Program and her work has appeared in Catapult, Town & Country, Women's Health, and Publishers Weekly.