#5. Spectacled Bear
Bears are pretty intrinsically scary, but come on – look at that guy! That’s not a bear, that’s a fat raccoon. And not even fat in the gross way, but in a “he looks like he’d make a good pillow” way. Even the name is just cuddles on toast: spectacled bear. Look at him: He’s got wittle glasses. Now, here’s the exact same animal, without all that snugly fur.
Holy shit! It’s like they’ve taken everything you’ve ever done wrong in your life and built an animal out of it to punish you. This was taken at a zoo in Germany after the bears contracted a mange-like skin condition, which means that the nice, thick coat of fluff normally covering the bear was just a deceptive sheath there to hold in the nightmares. That thing looks like it guards the gates of hell during the official functions, when hell really needs to break out the big guns to impress visiting dignitaries. With the simple subtraction of hair, it went from cuddly panda-alternative to something that can only be killed if you first close the seals of Gozer the Gozerian so it can turn back into Rick Moranis.
#4. The Red Fox
If there was a color-coded scale for cuteness like there is for Terror Alert Levels, the red fox would be at Level Orange: way above Adorable Bomb Threat and just half a notch below Snuggle Jihad. Look at him; he’s got little stockings. Like a sweet little furry whore.
I would name him Mr. Pringles, and feed him chips. You know he’d eat them all tenderly and shit.
Now, here’s the sound he makes:
If you came of age in a small town, you’re probably already familiar with the sound red foxes make. Here is the exact transcription of the time you found out:
You: Jesus, this weed is amazing. Am I being paranoid, or is the ground trying to sneak up on us?
Your Dickhead Friend Barry: Ha! You’re high, man. You’re like… you’re… you’re like high. Man.
Red Fox:AWWAAUUUUGHHGGGHHHH!!!!You: WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT!
Your Dickhead Friend Barry: What was what?
You: Don’t "what was what?" me, you son of a bitch. What the hell was that sound?! Is somebody raping a baby?!
Your Dickhead Friend Barry: That’s just a fox, dude.
You: There’s a fox raping a baby?
Your Dickhead Friend Barry: No, that’s what foxes sound like.
Red Fox:AHGOOOOODDAAHHHHELLPYou: Fuck that. Those were words. That’s the devil. That is the devil screaming for help. I’m going home. I’m going home and I never want to see you again for fear you will remind me of this night.
Your Dickhead Friend Barry: Don’t be such a pussy.
Red Fox:AAAEEEAAATYOURSOUUUULLLYour Dickhead Friend Barry: OK, now that’s the devil.
Think I’m overreacting? Have you ever seen one do it? Here’s the visual:
In case you missed it, here’s the red fox’s face when it makes that sound:
Here’s the archetypal scene from The Body Snatchers, widely regarded as one of the creepiest moments in cinema:
Here’s me going the fuck home, Barry.
#3. Water Deer
Deer: The ballet dancers of the forest. Elegant in a delicate, almost fragile sense - the deer is made all the more adorable because of its perceived fragility. There’s something almost holy and innocent about the tender deer’s visage bounding through the morning mist. Bambi wouldn’t have touched our hearts nearly as much if he was a possum; it’s the deer and the deer alone that symbolizes gentle strength and nobility of heart.
That tiny little guy up there is a water deer. You can just picture yourself there, can’t you? Watching him gently nibbling at those leaves. Maybe you step backwards and a twig snaps subtly beneath your heel. He raises his head to look at you...
“What? Do I have something on my face? Is it terror? I had terror for lunch. It’s probably terror.”
…and then lunges for your neck. That’s not Photoshop or fancy taxidermy, by the way. The water deer really is a tiny, precious little fawn with giant, giant fucking fangs. If you were of a somewhat nervous demeanor, and you stumbled across that bastard in the forest, you could be forgiven for forming the sign of the cross with your canteen and dropping to your knees to pray for divine intervention. If you were of a more stoic demeanor, you'd probably just assume your eyeballs had gone insane.
Now, they are pretty harmless. There's no records of a water deer biting humans, who then rise from their graves to haunt the Earth as water deer themselves or anything… but all that proves is that they’re really good at getting away with it.
#2. Barn Owls
Barn owls are a little weird, but it’s a specific kind of inexplicable weirdness that somehow makes them all the more endearing. It’s like the comedic stylings of Robin Williams, or that Japanese girl who wears Rainbow Brite outfits to school everyday: Sure, they’re not generally accepted in polite society and probably a little retarded, but as long as nobody knows you like them and you never, ever act on it, it's not hurting anybody. It just brings a little twisted brightness to your otherwise crushingly dark existence. But dang: If I have to explain what a barn owl is, you really need to get out of the city.
Of course, once you actually see one, you’ll be going right back there as fast as your legs will carry you while using what breath you have left to gasp curses at the absentee God who allows such horrors to exist. Here they are doing something that’s equal parts “sassy black lady neck wobble” and “pre-deathstrike snake weaving.”
And of course, there’s the one in the back horking down something cuddly in one go. Even if you objectively know that owls eat like that, actually watching it knock back an entire mammal like it’s a shot of Jack is Grade A Terror Fodder. But the creepy silence implied by the animated .gif probably makes it worse, right? Nope: Here’s the sound you’re missing.
That's right: They scream at you while they deepthroat bunnies and do the Terror Cabbagepatch. Don't be fooled by Harry Potter, the owls only looked cute and exotic in that movie because they couldn't sneak the scene where owls savagely chewed the hope out from behind Hermoine’s eyes by the MPAA.
#1. Caucasian Shepherd
Oh holy shit. That’s just not even fair. That puppy is an emoticon:
That dog is so cute it makes you inexplicably mad. You just want to yell at it; tell it to tone it the fuck down already. I fell in love with you instantly, OK Captain Buggles? Now you're just rubbing it in. But hey, all puppies are cute. What does it look like grown up?
That is the biggest, dumbest, friendliest dog I have ever seen. If nature was a movie, that dog would be played by John Goodman. Now, here’s the scale of the thing:
Jesus Christ! That is exactly the size of a full-grown person. But look! They’re hugging! They wuv each other! Isn't that adorable? Let’s look at another picture of hugging!
“Hold me, Vince. I’m tired of denying it, and I don’t want to die a liar.”
OK, that is technically another picture of hugging. It’s just this time it’s less “Woman and her Best Friend Hugging” and more “I know I’m Wearing Full Armor but this Shit is so Real that I Still Need a Hug Hugging.” OK, so the Caucasian shepherd seems to have the largest mouth full of razor sharp teeth this side of a Sarlacc Pit... but that’s probably just the shot, right? No way that's the norm.
Oh! So… here it is about to devour the entire concept of love from the world. That mouth is so fucking terrifying it’s vulgar. If you’re at work right now, I bet this isn’t even showing up; the automatic image scanners on Web filter software block this picture on the grounds of Pornographic Terror.
But then, here it is as a puppy again:
Buggles! You're like a pill-bug made of fur! I love you!
Maybe it's all worth it. I mean, that dog must be secretly full of affection to start out looking like that. Oh hey, look - the adult's back! Here it is...
...hating you so much that it is apparently learning to walk like a man and growing thumbs out of the sheer will of fury just so it can reach up and GOUGE OUT YOUR FUCKING EYES FOR LOOKING AT IT.
You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or find him on Twitter, Facebook and his own site, I Fight Robots where you can learn all about his upcoming book "Over-reacting at Nature: Eighteen Thousand Different Ways to Say 'Fuck That Animal.'"