#3. The Whale That Stalks Great White Sharks
Let's say you got to choose which animal you'd be reincarnated as this time. You want the one creature who absolutely is not going to get eaten. So, of course, you pick the earth's most perfect hunting and eating machine: the freakin' great white shark.
Even your skin is made of teeth.
You are now 20 feet and 5,000 pounds of pure, distilled murder, immune to any harm as long as you remember to avoid ragtag trios from nearby coastal towns on shabby fishing boats named Orca.
Orca. That's, like, Free Willy, right? What a funny name for a shark-hunting boat. Wondering why someone would decide to name their ship after some damn Disney whale, you're lost in thought ... when, suddenly, you notice a huge cavern of a mouth opening up riiight next to you.
What the great white sharks represent to mankind, Orcinus orca, better known as the super-shiny killer whale, is to great white sharks a hundredfold.
It's not necessarily true that killer whales hunt great whites for food -- scientists actually aren't sure what the relationship is between the two species. What we know is that the whales are smart enough to have figured out that sharks need to move in order to breathe, so they hold the sharks upside down until they are immobilized, slowly suffocating, until they're dead. After that, we truly enter serial killer territory.
Watch at your own peril:
Yes, that was a killer whale eating the shark's liver, Hannibal Lecter-style. Interestingly, this particular case of organ theft was not even an isolated incident. In another instance, a great white approached two orcas while they were eating a seal. Not only did he end up having the shit kicked out of him, but also one of the orcas took the shark to the surface and, no shit, held the shark there while the other disemboweled it, feasting on its liver.
These killer whales were not even hunting for shark liver. This was simply a case of a great white being at the wrong place at the wrong time ... unless, of course, the whales were just using the dead seal as bait.
"Don't mind me. I am just a regular, not-shark-eating whale."
Whatever the truth may be, such attacks do happen, and they have one hell of an effect on the local shark community. In two wholly separate instances off California, more than three years apart, documented cases of great whites being found liverless resulted in "the entire great white population -- up to 100 individuals" escaping the orca threat in almost human-like panic within days.
In one case, a shark that the researchers were tracing had not only skipped town, but swam 2,280 miles to Hawaii. To put that in context, there is virtually no spot in the United States that is 2,280 miles away from the nearest coastline, which in shark terms would make Kansas too close to killer whales for their comfort.
#2. The Cat That Eats Crocodiles
This time, you find yourself in the skin of a caiman, the Amazon equivalent of a crocodile and every bit as badass a predator as you'd expect from a modern day dinosaur. You lay on your favorite part of the river bank, lazily eyeing the waterline for something to deathroll and consume, when you notice a suitably out-of-place-looking large cat.
Which makes you immediately burst into song!
Had you been paying attention to previous entries, you'd probably know better than to attack -- but since you're a caiman, your reading comprehension leaves something to be desired. So you lunge.
You can probably guess by now how that goes for you.
The jaguar. The largest big cat in the Western Hemisphere and the third largest in the world. It has the strongest jaws of all cats; strong enough to crack open a turtle shell.
But while it could maybe take on a caiman on land, surely it gets its ass handed to it if the caiman gets in water? It's a freaking cat.
Nope! Jaguars can and totally do attack caimans in the latter's own element. Like this particular cat, who not only challenges its foe in 2-foot-deep water, but also wins by drowning the goddamn caiman. We didn't know that was even possible!
"Hey, what the hell are you d- blblblblblbbl!"
But why would a big cat attack a caiman, when there's plenty of easier prey around? Well, according to the Cold War-era narrator on that clip, it's because "he doesn't care about danger." While we are in no position to disagree with this assessment, it is worth noting that there's a sexy lady-jaguar watching the fight from the sidelines the whole time.
Now, consider that what looks an awful lot like the same cat took down an anaconda earlier in the same day, and make of that what you will.
OK, now he's just showing off.
#1. The Badger-Eating Bird
So you're a honey badger -- a notoriously dirty and fearsome fighter that holds a Guinness World Record for its badassitude. An animal that, as we have pointed out before, could fill the Louvre with all the fucks it doesn't give.
Via Wikimedia Commons
"I'll eat your goddamn camera and shit out a picture of your last moments."
Having lived through these scenarios quite a few times, you know something is probably out to get you and technically you should get worried 'round about now. But you won't, because this time you're the goddamn honey badger. Let trouble come -- you'll just maul its balls to death like everything else, from cobras to leopards to pretty much everything on this list. Bring it, nature -- you are ready.
And then, as if on cue, a shadow falls over you.
"I practice on helicopters."
If you were to host a convention of the most terrifying animals on earth, there is one creature that could transform the whole party into an enormous group therapy session just by showing its shadow. Namely, Aquila chrysaetos -- better known as the golden eagle -- whose name translates into "death" across the growls, roars and hisses of so many animal languages.
Via Dave Bonta
Mother Nature's own Grim Reaper.
A golden eagle can detect movement from 10,000 feet in the air, and odds are it can also swoop in and kill it. If it's feeling particularly dickish, it just flat out walks up to an animal protecting its cubs or stash and grabs them from under it. The bird has no natural predators and, thanks to its flight, muscle and an arsenal of sharp appendages that would make a combine harvester blush, it tends to find itself at the top of whatever food chain it occupies. Even if said food chain includes this:
"Hold up, kids. Fuckin' eagles over there."
That's right, the golden eagles flat out ignore the rules of one of the most important games on the planet: don't mess with the bear. They can send full-grown grizzlies off in full sprint, presumably into the woods so that they could shit themselves in peace.
But you're still a badger, right? You can send grizzlies running, too! What could that pathetic sack of feathers do to you? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Behold, Mother Nature's equivalent of Ali-Foreman:
While the match starts out in a suitably unstoppable force meets an immovable object manner, the badger is quickly shown its true place in the animal kingdom: In a small puddle of terror-piss, hiding under a carcass that was supposed to be its meal -- while the golden eagle calmly begins its first feast as the true Badass King of the animal kingdom.
For more badassery, Jacopo suggests you check out the topic page for his latest book "Go @#$% Yourself!" - An Ungentlemanly Disagreement, by Filippo Argenti, available in paperback and DRM-free on Kindle!
For more unmitigated terror, check out The 5 Creepiest Serial Killers (Who Were Animals) and The 6 Deadliest Animals Too Adorable to Run Away From.
And stop by LinkSTORM to see what Brockway's beard fears (hint: it's nothing).
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