The 6 Deadliest Animals Too Adorable to Run Away From

As we love to point out, Mother Nature's favorite gag is giving vicious predators the bodies of harmless fuzzballs. As part of our duty to make sure you don't judge an animal's lethality by its appearance, we'd like to remind you that ...

#6. Roadrunners Eat Rattlesnakes

Via Turtletrack.org

When someone mentions roadrunners, you probably think of a tall, skinny bird that runs really fast, goes "Meep meep" and routinely outwits cartoon coyotes. And while Warner Bros. did get some things right (the birds are capable of flight, but choose to just run around really fast), cartoons are rarely accurate sources for the aspiring ornithologist.

Via Wikimedia Commons
Top speed: 17 mph.

Real roadrunners are smaller (upward of 2 feet long from beak to tail) than their cartoon counterparts, and they're far more likely to be doing the murdering than running from it.

Wait, What?

Roadrunners are almost exclusively carnivorous. The diet they follow is not the wimpy "small furry things" sort, either. Try rattlesnakes.


A snake lunging at a roadrunner's face is the same as you punching at a mugger's gun.

The roadrunner just sinks its beak into the snake (or whatever abomination it happens to be facing), promptly lifts it high into the air and repeatedly smashes it into the ground until it is tenderized enough to swallow whole. This technique, according to scientists, "subjects the prey to an outward force away from the center of rotation, in this case, the center of rotation being the roadrunner's face." More importantly, it does it like a boss.

That there, friends, is a goddamn finishing move. It even has a name: the Centrifugal Slam.

Oh, and the roadrunner also eats other birds. It doesn't even fly after them -- instead, it just jumps in the air and snatches them as they pass. And then: the Centrifugal Slam.

Via Fatfinch.wordpress.com
If that doesn't work, its manager distracts the ref and throws in a chair.

Roadrunners are the only known predator of the tarantula hawk, a 2-inch insect hellspawn that fights tarantulas into submission and lays eggs inside their living bodies. Roadrunners also eat the horned lizard, a spiked monster that shoots blood out of its eyes when threatened.

Photos.com
"Meep meep, motherfucker."

Once the prey is dead, the roadrunner swallows it whole. Well, attempts to. The snakes in particular are usually too long to swallow entirely, so most of the meal ends up just sort of dangling from the roadrunner's mouth. But don't think that the bird gives a damn. It just goes about its business with a dead snake hanging flaccidly from its throat, slowly swallowing more as its stomach digests the meal.

#5. Giant Otters Murder Piranha and Alligators

Via Pbase.com

Otters are some of the cutest, most innocent-looking animals on the planet. Statistically speaking, 102 percent of what they do is adorable. Giant otters are the same, only more so.

At 6 feet, the giant otter is physically the largest member of his family, and even though he's a bit on the big side, we would totally name him Buster and take him rafting. Come on, look at the big fella.

Via Wikimedia Commons
Well hi there!

Giant otters even have a cute nickname:

"River wolves."

Wait, What?

Giant otters live in South America, where they primarily feed on perch, large catfish and characins, such as piranhas. They hunt in packs (hence the nickname), corraling fish into shallow water for easy pickings. When feeding cubs, they beat up the fish within an inch of its life but leave it hanging -- so that the cute otter babies can have fresh food.

Via Wikimedia Commons
His sadism is matched only by his adorablism.

But no matter how much of a fish-mutilating dick the giant otter may be, it's still just a cute and furry mammal. It has to be wary of other predators that haunt the Amazon River -- such as the local member of the alligator family tree, the caiman.

Via Wikimedia Commons
Also known as the "poor man's dinosaur."

Oh, wait -- it's the other way around.

When a pair of giant otters see a caiman basking on the shore, they might start pawing at the reptile's tail, apparently just for shits and giggles. Maybe the caiman takes the hint and pisses off, but more likely it will turn around and attack. The otters will dodge, then have a go at the tail again. And again. Until the caiman is too tired to fight back. Then they calmly eat the caiman alive. Starting with the damn tail.

If there are more otters around, they'll skip the tail biting, gang tackle the caiman and start chomping away. A pack of giant otters can devour an entire caiman, bones and all, in 45 minutes.

Another delicacy on the giant otter menu is the anaconda, which you may remember as the largest damn snake on Earth. A small group of giant otters will swim up to and grab the snake, then start biting and clawing it. They will bash the anaconda against tree trunks and, if they feel particularly badass, employ a technique described by a biologist as "tug-of-war with an animated fire hose." Yes, giant otters can reduce the most powerful snake on the planet to a mere plaything.

Not bad for an animal that sounds like a squeak toy.

#4. Long-Tailed Weasels Are Dancing Spree-Killers

Photos.com

Oh, come on now. Weasels? They do probably hunt mice or something, like pretty much every small carnivore. But a long-tailed weasel on a list of ferocious killers? No way. Look at that little fella -- it's just a fluffy hot dog with legs.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Well, the long-tailed weasel isn't just one of the most horrible serial killers in nature; one of its many methods of mayhem involves break dancing.

Wait, What?

The long-tailed weasel likes to kill by wrapping its body around its prey, then crushing the prey's skull by biting it. If the victim tries to escape into its burrow, the weasel's slender body allows it to run in after the prey to deliver the skullcrusher. If the victim tries to run out of its burrow, the weasel crushes its windpipe instead, because variety is the spice of life.

Via Itsnature.org
Sweet mousestache!

But what if the teeny tiny predator feels like attacking larger foes, such as, say, snowshoe hares, which are routinely three to six times the size of the less than 10 oz. weasels?

Enter the "weasel war dance," an intricate series of movements performed by the weasel to charm the bunny with the power of dance:

Here's a step-by-step guide for rocking those moves at home: run right really fast; run left really fast; right; right; left; left; jump; hop; roll; roll; kill.

Somehow, it gets nastier still. Long-tailed weasels are genetically hardwired to commit mass murder. They kill whenever they can and store the food for later, but rarely visit their corpse stashes because they prefer their food "alive and quivering." They also lap the blood from the wounds they inflict, and as the icing on the serial killer cake, they make their nests out of the fur of their victims.

Via Pbase.com
Awww. We'd name him Hannibal and make him wear a skin mask.

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