5 Animals That Look Like Cartoons (Until They Kill You)

#2. A Stupid-Looking Fish That Can Wipe Out an Entire Fish Tank

Ulla Born/iStock/Getty Images

Look at this dumb little bastard.

That is Lactoria cornuta, or longhorn cowfish, the official town doofus of the Indo-Pacific reefs. Not only can these dopey bastards harm themselves in a perfectly safe aquarium by getting "wedged in the tank and decorations," but they're also extremely slow swimmers that are pretty easy to catch, at which point they'll often let out "a grunting sound."

Now, with all that in mind, give the little guy a voice, like he's a cartoon character. What does that voice sound like? Is it Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants? Barney Rubble with a touch of Marvin the Martian? Is it like a tiny aquatic Hodor?

Ulla Born/iStock/Getty Images
"Longhorn cowfish."

Whatever cutesy voice you've supplied, we're going to go ahead and bet it's probably not Hannibal Lecter. And yet that would be the more apt characterization: Whenever the cowfish is threatened, it releases a substance called ostracitoxin that can kill every single fish in the tank. Including itself.

Olga Khoroshunova/iStock/Getty Images
"Duh -- if I'm dead, no one can kill me, dumbass."

Yes, this stupid, harmless-looking little fish that seems like something you'd find bumping into a wall in a Mario game will go full nuclear. It will kill any and all attackers, even if it has to die itself to do it. It's just that big a fan of murder.

#1. A Giant Rat With a Poison Mohawk

Susannah Rouse/Oxford

This is a giant rat.

And it's actually ... sort of cute. Or at least not as disturbing as your typical sewer rat. Rats are one of the few strange creatures that, beyond a certain threshold, grow more acceptable the larger they are. For some reason a rat the size of a small dog is nowhere near as disconcerting as one the exact size of your own face. Maybe it's even nice. Go ahead, give it a pet.

Pet it right on its poisonous mohawk.

Kevin Deacon
If you take away one thing from this article, it's to run away from anything resembling '80s hair.

Crested rats chew up the bark of the highly toxic Acokanthera tree, which contains a substance known as ouabain (the same stuff that the locals use to make their poison arrows; in the right dose, it can stop an elephant's heart). Once it's nice and spreadable, they smear the noxious pomade all over the spiky hairs on their backs, which have evolved to become hollow and absorbent so as to provide a more efficient weapons storage and delivery system.

"You should see what we do to our pubes."

Researchers have suspected for years that the crested rat might be poisonous (the fact that dogs frequently dropped dead after attacking them was a major clue), but only recently uncovered the exact mechanism. What we don't know yet is how the rats are able to expose themselves to the deadly toxin without suffering the effects themselves. This is something we should probably figure out before the information makes its way to the New York City sewers.

E. Reid Ross is a columnist at Man Cave Daily. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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Related Reading: Prefer your animals to be juvenile and hilarious? This worm looks like a butt. And 'looking like a butt' is less awesome of an animal superpower than this ferret's ability to eat concrete. Ready for a badass new pet of your own? These domesticated jungle cats should oblige.

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