If animals could talk, they would spend most of their time calling us dicks and telling us to get off their land. The traits we think of as "cute" are often simply tricks animals have developed to get tourists to throw them food.
Here are six animals that you'll probably want to steer clear of, no matter how adorable they look on that wall calendars.
Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)
To give you an idea of how cute hippos are, we'd like you to have a look at this:
Now have a look at this:
Hippos are practically the very definition of Disney-cute. What sort of person could look at this big ol' rascal, playing away in her favorite swimming hole, and not think of stuffing her in a tutu and making her dance to classical music?
For chrissake look at them. There is no way you could look at a big, fat, happy, squishy, huggable hippo and not think, "If she could talk like a human, she would sound just like Jada Pinkett Smith and be oh so sassy." You would totally name her Sassybaskets and she would be your tutu-wearing, ballet-dancing, strut-walking pal for life. Just you and Sassybaskets against the world! Look out, New York, here comes Sassybaskets!
OH SHIT! RUN!
It turns out in the real world, hippos fucking kill people.
There's this word, "territorial," that nature takes pretty seriously. When it's applied to a two-ton animal with teeth the size of bowling pins, that is one hell of a word. The sort of word you either pay very close attention to, or ignore and end up with a complimentary "Killed to death by a fucking hippo" tombstone. That sort of thing is really embarrassing for the family, you know?
The next time you settle in for a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, take a moment to to reflect on the small fact that hippopotamuses kill more humans per year than any other animal in the entire continent of Africa. Only elephants are consistently larger than hippos, and only the Warner Brothers' Tasmanian Devil is more consistently aggressive.
Perhaps you've seen this pic:
That is not in fact a man and a hippo doing a live reenactment of a cartoon they saw. That's an experienced park ranger, who narrowly avoided getting killed by a hippo by sprinting over a hundred yards.
The late Steve Irwin, a man who used to tackle 12-foot crocodiles for fun and wave angry snakes filled with kill-you-before-your-next-heartbeat poison at a camera, considered a five-minute sequence where his camera team had to cross a river filled with hippos to be the single most dangerous moment ever filmed on his show.
The man who toyed with crocodiles, was scared shitless of hippos.
Duck-Billed Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
God, we don't even know where to begin.
This is an animal so deliriously ridiculous, biologists refused to believe it could possibly be anything but an elaborate hoax when it was first discovered. To put this in perspective, these exact same biologists believed that rotting meat spontaneously generated maggots and saw nothing wrong with pouring liquid heroin down babies' throats. Platypi are that ridiculous.
But seriously, look at it. It's got a thick, furry body with a flat, beaver-like tail and otter-like feet and we're cool with that because he's so damn fuzzy. Then there's the matter of the big, leathery duck bill and it's suddenly more than a little weird, because that's ... that's not really supposed to happen to mammals.
And then there's the further matter of the very high degree of electroreceptivity in that there bill--it helps the platypus find food buried in the silt. Kinda like a hammerhead shark's head, only instead of being terrifying-looking eye protrusions with an awesome name, it's a goofy-looking duck bill. On a mammal. And OK so that's ... pretty weird, but so what? Their babies are called puggles for fuck's sake! Puggles!
Also they lay eggs for some reason.
OH SHIT! RUN!
And, they are poisonous.
Male platypi have a pair of spurs on their hind legs that they use for defense and dominance duels. They deliver a brutal dose of venom that will put a human being into the emergency room and leave him writhing in muscle-impaired agony for months.
The platypus is mother nature's way of saying, "I made this thing out of spare parts I found on the workshop floor, and it can still fucking cripple you."