Sociopathic intraspecies torture is almost exclusively a human thing. Every other species tends to keep its internal mating, maiming, killing, and baby-eating as straightforward, fast, and nonpsychotic as animally possible. The way nature originally intended murder to be.
Mostly, anyway. Turns out, dead-eyed, unfeeling psychopaths who only come alive when causing pain and sadness are as welcome in nature as trees, leaves, and water. And just like shitty NCIS plot "twists" have taught us, it's always the cute, innocent-looking ones you've got to watch out for.
#5. Meerkats Enslave Other Meerkats (Whose Children They Just Brutally Murdered)
Meerkats aren't cats, because if they were they'd be pretentious enough to correct our spelling of their stupid, stupid name. But oh dear me are they precious. Look at them hugging after an adowable widdle bweakfwu in famwy thewapy:
And here's them standing on two legs like they're people waiting for the next train to D'awwsylvania:
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Is there anything bad about these little cuddlesnots? Oh, absolutely -- a 15-year study observing 40 large meerkat groups concluded that their leaders are slave-driving, murderous taskmasters who react to any possible competition in the worst manner imaginable: mass infanticide. See, each group is run by an alpha couple, the only kats allowed to make babies. So if a beta couple barebacks and it backfires, the mom-to-be better hope her boss is in a good mood when she finds out.
"I'm still on 'first verbal warning' status, remember? ... Please say you remember."
But hope is a worthless, silly thing, because the alpha's never happy to meet a wee one that isn't hers. After all, what if one grows up to be the Chosen One to overthrow the tyrant and usher in a thousand years of peace, harmony, and hakuna matata? Fuck that -- Queen K will just straight-up murder those poor tots right in front of their horrified mother. Every single one of them, every single time. Shit, even Joffrey stopped at five.
And instead of just putting the beta out of her misery, the alpha gives her a Sophie's Choice: Either immediately leave the colony and never return (which, since meerkats aren't good at hunting alone, would turn mom into snake poop within days) or become the alpha's best slave forever. Yes, slave -- the beta would be forced into becoming an allonurse, making milk for the alpha's children and generally babysitting the little brats, because it's not like she has any kids of her own tying her down.
Story time ends when they say it ends.
This is absolutely the selfish, power-mad alpha rubbing dirt in a gaping head wound she just slashed open, but since the whole point of being an animal is to not die, most betas choose a lifetime of indoctrinated wet-nursing. Not that it does them much good, since many allonurses drop a ton of weight after many stressful years of feeding meerkid after meerkid that isn't theirs. Eventually, they'll keel over and die. But at least they made a difference in a child's life.
#4. Nazca Boobies Are Abusive, Bullying Pedophiles
I'm going to try to write about Nazca boobies without devolving into a giggling prepubescent jackass. Because, honestly, these boobies are-
OK, so Nazcas aren't quite as goofy and harmless as their name -- or their blue-footed cousin -- implies. In fact, many are just plain horrific, namely the adults that never managed to mate. Maybe they spent too much time cursing the humans who named them and not enough time learning how to squawk to the opposite sex. Whatever the reason, these Nice Birds stew in loneliness and misery until one day they just fucking snap. The target of their anger? Baby Nazcas.
"I'm only doing this because I care. About me."
A 25-year study saw these "unemployed" birds react to their childless single life by becoming aggressive, abusive bullies who most certainly do not pick on boobies their own size. Instead, they track down weak, innocent chicks and beat the droppings out of them -- pecking, scratching, and biting the little tykes for no real reason besides "they can." The only chicks safe from these big ol' aggressive boobies (it will never, ever stop being funny) are newborns (since mommy will always be at their side) and older chicks that could conceivably put up a fight.
Proving, as always, that being the middle child sucks.
What's worse is, like so many bullied humanoids who grow up to be like Ike Turner, beaten-down chicks are extremely likely to become abusive assholes themselves. Researchers discovered this cyclical behavior (until now seen only in our own wonderfully wretched species) by wrapping colorful bands around the legs of hassled chicks. Later, they'd study the abusive adults, and wouldn't you know it -- they were almost always the beaten-down babies from years prior. The chicks that escaped torment (and the annoying leg bands) were more likely to leave babies alone in favor of making their fucking own and moving on with their damn lives.
If endless physical abuse isn't bad enough for you, how about child rape? Boobies do that too. Instead of pummeling an unguarded chick, they'll try to win its trust by preening it and showering it with gifts like feathers and pebbles. Whether the seduction takes or it doesn't, next comes the fucking, which can last anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours, depending on how quickly Parent Dearest returns and pummels the lowlife raping their goddamn child.
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"Dammit kid, you said they were on vacation. I TRUSTED YOU."
Pedophiliac Nazcas are a distinct minority (roughly 14 percent of abusive males and 7 percent of females want to bone a hatchling), not that it makes their behavior any less stomach-churning. These birds are the biggest disgrace to boobies since Girls Gone Wild.
#3. Coots Force Their Unwanted Children To Starve Themselves To Death
The coot ... wait, really? *Sigh*
Just when I thought I was finally over the snickers, here comes the coot -- a bird named after a vagina. This proves that not only did Mother Nature create millions upon millions of beautiful creatures with which to populate the Earth, she also ghostwrote Porky's.
Even without the rated-R moniker, coot chicks are so damn adorable, they manage to turn looking like waterlogged mini-vultures into a positive trait. It's their parents, some of the worst child-rearers since these darlings of the DSS, who are the real issue. Basically, they hatch too many children -- nine or 10 at a time -- and can't feed them all. Coots aren't birds of prey, and often the best meals they can scrounge up are tiny, unfilling non-noms like insects and unbreaded shrimp with no cocktail sauce. Mom and dad attempt to divvy up this anti-buffet among their starving, increasingly squawking chicks, but it's not enough. The kids remain hungry, and by now are shrieking nonstop about it.
"Mom's in her crying spot again. Maybe she's pregnant."
Then, after several tantrum-filled days, the Devil takes over. Coot parents, unable to handle the responsibility of feeding such a noisy, demanding brood, start attacking their own children -- biting them on the head and making it perfectly clear that soup's off forever.
Bubba Gump's personal Hell.
Eventually, they stop attacking all their kids and zoom in on whomever they feel is the weakest. That one gets bitten, pecked, and shunned every time it yells for food, until finally it gets the point and shuts up. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean an invite back to the dinner table. It has officially been disowned, and anything it does will simply invite more violence. The sole option, being a baby, is to slink off and slowly die of starvation.
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On the bright side, Junior's Christmas shopping will take no time at all.
But the coots' reality-cooking-show level of dickishness doesn't stop there. In the likely event there are still too many beaks and not enough eats, the beatings must begin anew. Mom and dad will establish a new weakest link, pushing it away and denying it even a speck of food until it too sadly waves goodbye and settles down to wither into bones and dust, all alone. This most depressing of Tribal Councils continues until the coot count whittles down to an acceptable level -- namely, two or three chicks.
Shit, at least hamster mommies get their infanticide over with quickly. Coots drag that shit out, making damn sure all survivors remember that if they ever channel Oliver Twist and ask for more, they're next.