Not every innocent animal is created equal. While some love nothing more than to cuddle up next to a human and receive “all the pets,” others want nothing to do with us. These animals might look easy enough to touch, but the consequences of our actions can be terrifying. Some, like the hairy frog, have a scary defense system you don’t want to trigger, while others, like dormice, just want to get away by any means possible. These are tricks of the trade for the most innocent critters you definitely don’t want to touch!
Dormice Give Away Their Tails
As small and cuddly as they come, dormice also prefer to be left to their own devices. While they won’t turn around and hurt you if you pick them up, they will still give you a good jump and leave you their tail as a “present.”
When threatened, the last defense of dormice is to dislodge their tail, leaving it in the claws of whatever has grabbed them. Once freed, they have one last chance to run away to freedom.
Noble Hoopoes Strike From Up High
Don’t be fooled by the majestic feathers of the royally named noble hoopoe. This bird is anything but dignified. They may look pretty, but when you seeing one flying it’s time to get out of the way because a bomb is coming.
When these birds feel threatened, they take to the air and “relieve” themselves onto predators. That’s one way to avoid being eaten! Is it really easier than just flying away to safety though?
Hedgehogs Become Balls Of Spiky Doom
Who doesn’t find hedgehogs adorable? These small animals are popular pets and look completely harmless to the naked eye. And as long as they aren’t threatened, they are harmless. Once they feel danger, though, they curl up into a ball of spiky doom.
Any predator looking for a snack is instantly going to regret trying to take a bit of a hedgehog ball. All they’ll end up with is a mouth full of intensely painful spikes!
Boxer Crabs Take Their Name Literally
Sometimes, the stranger an animal looks, the more adorable we think they are. That’s the case with boxer crabs, who looking nothing like the average everyday crabs humans are used to seeing. Because of this, curiosity makes people naturally want to approach them when seen in the wild.
The best move here is to fight your curiosity. Boxer crabs got their name for a reason. When they need to defend themselves, they put on “sea anemone gloves” to be able to deliver stinging blows that will leave a mark.
Northern Fulmar Chicks Will Ruin Your Day
At first sight, you would never think a baby bird could be dangerous in any way. Northern fulmar chicks, however, will make you second guess yourself. While still baby birds, these fowl have the ability to projectile spew an odorous orange liquid at predators.
Northern fulmars make their habitats in North America and if a nest is found with chicks, it should obviously be avoided. That is unless you like ruining your best outfit and smelling terrible for days.
Slow Lorises Have Sensitive Armpits
Not many primates are cuter than the large-eyed slow loris. But as much as you might want to cuddle up to one and pet them, it might not be the best way to say hello.
Slow lorises, when danger is near, secrete a poison from their armpits that covers their entire body. This poison is one that humans, and other animals, are extremely allergic too. When exposed to it, humans and predators can be put into a state of anaphylactic shock.
Don’t Approach A Duck-Billed Platypus From Behind
The weirder they look, the cuter humans think animals are. The duck-billed platypus, like the boxer crab, fits this description to a tee. And like it’s aquatic compadre, the duck-billed platypus has a secret weapon in case you get too close.
With this animal, you want to avoid its hind legs. Duck-billed platypuses grow a venomous spike on their back legs. It can be a rough lesson for a predator to learn, especially when the animal looks so harmless at first glance!
Opossums Play Dead
Hanging upside is all fun and games for opossums until a hungry predator begins sneaking up on opossums. Once spotted, these marsupials get a few moves ahead of their attacker and play dead. While you might have already known that, we bet you didn’t know that this comatose state is involuntary.
This makes the opossum the first animal on this list with an involuntary defense mechanism. Of course, it is not the only animal to employ this technique, it is just the most famous.
The Blue-Ringed Octopus Will Tell You When Its Angry
You won’t like the blue-ringed octopi when it’s angry. Thankfully, you will know exactly when this animal is upset and ready to attack. When the blue rings it is famously named for become visible, it means the octopus is about to strike.
Normally, the blue-ringed octopus is camouflaged into its environment while hiding from predators or waiting for prey, preferring not to make its presence known. When it has to, though, its bite is 100 percent worse than its bark.
Mantis Shrimp Are Unforgiving
In the ocean, the more colorful an animal is, the more dangerous they usually are. When it comes to the mantis shrimp, that old rule rings true. Keep your appendages away from this critter, because it can snap them shut at over 50 miles per hour!
That’s one way to keep your predators at bay. Mantis shrimp might not live at the top of the oceanic food chain, but they aren’t exactly at the bottom either!
Crested Porcupines Are Ready To Run
You probably know what we are going to say about why crested porcupines are actually dangerous. But do you know how they use their spikes to fight off predators? Instead of waiting for the attacker to come to them, they run backward in the predator’s direction – spikes first!
This form of self defense can be deadly for any animal looking for a meal. More than once, crested porcupines have taken down lions in their efforts to live for one more day.
Desert Rain Frogs Are Screamers
Desert rain frogs don’t have venom or quills or any other physical form of defense. Instead, they use their singing voice to ward off predators, because their squeak is “ear-splitting.” The “scream” renders predators useless the louder it gets.
The good news is that desert rain frogs are pretty easy to avoid. The current habitat they live in is only about 770 square miles and is located in Africa. They pose no ear lobe threat to anyone living in the United States.
Approaching a skunk in the wild can lead to a stinky situation. These animals, while cute, are famous for their foul defense mechanism. When scared, they spray their attacker, or unsuspecting humans, with a terribly odorous concoction.
One spray and you’ll never find skunks cute again, and predators won’t make the same mistake twice. Then again, if you’ve ever come across skunks in big cities, you might not have ever found them cute to begin with.
Turkey Vultures Give Up The Goods
While not everyone would describe turkey vultures as innocent, they’re pretty harmless to humans. As scavengers, they prefer meals that have already passed away than those still living. And when they feel danger can you guess what they do?
Get into a spot where a turkey vulture feels threatened by you, and you might just find them showing you their last meal. These birds regurgitate their partially digested meals to ward off predators, which would definitely keep us away!
Mimic Octopi Are Master Actors
Octopi are some of the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom, so it only makes sense they would come up with some crazy defense mechanisms. Of all them in the sea, perhaps none have a better defense than the mimic octopus, which literally shape-shifts into other animals to protect itself.
The mimic octopus takes on the appearance of venomous swimmers when danger is near – lionfish, flatfish, jellyfish, sea snakes, and sole. When it looks like one of these creatures, predators get the message to stay away.
Sea Cucumbers Push It Out
They might not look like it, but seas cucumbers just might be one of the most dangerous animals in the ocean. They aren’t predatory, but when attacked they shoot poisonous organs out of their body at the danger.
The organs they release are their cuverian tubules, which also entangle any predators who get too close. As for the sea cucumber itself – its tubules take about one and a half to five weeks to fully grow back.
Hagfish Could Also Be Known As Gagfish
What could be more innocent than a fish that looks like a swimming tube? Called the hagfish, this aquatic creature is not something that should be approached. If it senses you or a nearby predator is dangerous, it produces a cloud of slime.
This slime isn’t meant to make it hard to see for the hagfish to swim away. The slime ends up getting stuck in the gills of predators, gagging them to death. As for humans, it’s probably more annoying than anything.
Stick Insects Blend In
Stick insects might have the best self defense mechanism on this list. When they need to avoid danger, they simply become what they were always meant to be: sticks. What can we say, they were just born this way!
Stick insects can be found worldwide and live on every continent except Antarctica. Next time you’re on a hike with your friends, try finding one. Even if it is right in front of your face you might not be able to spot it. That’s how good their natural camouflage is!
Potato Beetles Have Poisonous Poo
When potato beetles are young, they need protection while they develop. During this larval stage, they cover themselves in their own poop. As if that wasn’t gross enough, any predator who still thinks they would make a tasty treat is in for a rude awakening – the poop is poison!
The surprisingly scary insects can be found all over the United States with the exception of Hawaii, California, Nevada, and Alaska. They have also been found in parts of Asia and Europe.
The Hairy Frog Breaks Its Own Ribs
Depending on what kind of animal lover you are, frogs are either adorable or gross, icky, and slimy. If you find these amphibians to be cute, then please be warned about approaching the hairy frog.
When these animals sense danger, they break their own ribs to create a spike pointed self-defense weapon. When you see it, back away slowly and don’t make any sudden movement. Or just don’t approach a hairy frog in the first place since you now know what’s best for you.