The most dangerous animal on earth is man -- nothing you read in this article will change that. Animals kill for food and territory, and out of fear, but it takes a man to kill repeatedly, just for the fun of it.
Well ... usually. As we have previously shown, the animal kingdom has its fair share of diabolical serial killers. Like ...
#5. The Face-Eating Sloth Bear of Mysore
The Time: 1957
The Place: Mysore, Near Bangalore
The sloth bear of India sounds like the most harmless animal to carry the "bear" name outside of the koala. They're small and easy to tame, and they feed primarily on insects, using their gargantuan, sickle-shaped claws to pick bugs out of tree stumps and to bolster their grip while traversing the rugged mountain terrain. But as it happens, huge finger scythes are also just aces for tearing the human face clean off.
"You'd be surprised how good thin-sliced face tastes on a toasted bagel."
That is precisely what the people of Nagvara Hills near Bangalore learned when a sloth bear decided to start murdering them. Survivors usually limped away missing one or both eyes, and all of those killed by the beast were found with their faces entirely removed.
We're going to pause the article here so you can read that last sentence a couple more times.
Possibly while picturing this.
Over the course of several days, the enraged sloth bear mutilated about three dozen rural folk. It attacked both in broad daylight and at night, and seemed motivated solely by carnage rather than desperation or starvation. In fact, only three of its victims were even partially eaten.
"A moment on the lips means a lifetime on the hips."
There are three theories as to what caused this sloth bear's insatiable hatred for human beings. Some say it was a mother sloth bear avenging her murdered cubs in the grizzliest fashion imaginable (we're not even sure if that was a pun or not). Another local legend claims the bear fell in love with a girl and was taking vengeance on the closed-minded villagers who kept them apart. Or maybe a painful injury simply drove the animal to madness.
Whatever the cause of the sloth bear's rampage, it came to an end when Kenneth Anderson, a professional writer and monster hunter, shot the creature in the chest. Sloth bears aren't traditionally difficult to hunt, but Anderson had to make three separate attempts to stop the sickle-fingered face-eater.
He was like Indiana Jones crossed with the Dos Equis guy.
#4. Tilikum, the Ted Bundy Killer Whale
The Time: 1991 to today
The Place: Canada to Orlando, Florida
Once upon a time in Sealand, a Canadian water park, there was a killer whale named Tilikum, which means "friend" in the Chinook language. Stick with us, the irony will set in shortly.
Tilikum, seen here waiting.
Tilikum was 11 years old and weighed a strapping 12,000 pounds. He was a perfectly friendly, trick-performing gigantic whale, with enough charm and personality to disarm everyone who worked with him. By all accounts, there was not one shred of malice in his flippered body. That is, until one day he dragged a female grad student underwater after she fell into his tank.
Tilikum blocked the panicked woman from exiting his tank and tossed her body around with his two female tank mates. The girl was killed, but since this was his first offense, Sealand chalked the killing up to a terrible accident and didn't hold Tilikum accountable.
"Sometimes at night he stares at me, rubs his blowhole and mouths 'Soon.' Do you think we might have a problem?"
Sealand eventually went out of business, and Tilikum was moved to SeaWorld in Orlando. He won over that community as well with his tricks and his charm, and seemed every bit the fun-loving performer he was before. Then in 1999, an irresistible opportunity wandered into the park. That opportunity was a 27-year-old homeless man who sneaked in after hours to visit his favorite whale.
What happened next is open to speculation, but by the time the park opened the following morning, said homeless man was found lying dead and naked on the whale's back. Almost as if he was posed that way.
"I'm gonna nod off for a while. Roll me over if I puke."
Two mysterious deaths weren't quite enough to negate the giant stacks of money whale-watchers forked over to watch Tilikum perform tricks on a daily basis. He stayed at SeaWorld, and another 11 years passed without incident. Then, in February 2010, in front of a packed crowd of 5,000 people, Tilikum threw a wet fart into the face of subtlety and snatched his trainer off of dry land.
Eyewitness reports differ, but depending on who you believe, Tilikum either pulled his trainer into the water while she was rubbing him down or leaped up and snatched her while she was standing near his tank. All the reports end pretty much the same way, with Tilikum drowning his trainer for no reason. The report also goes on to deliver the immortal quote "The normally docile whale had killed twice before," suggesting that they are perhaps unclear on the meaning of the words "normally" and "docile."
And also "killed."
As of March 30, 2011, Tilikum is still performing at SeaWorld.
#3. Osama bin Laden (The Elephant)
The Time: 2006
The Place: Assam, India
Yes, that was actually his name.
And this was his face.
We all know elephants are capable of killing if they have to. They're gigantic and intelligent, so we're not at all shocked when one manages to kill a hunter or rampages through a village in search of food. But they're hardly violent creatures; we think of them placidly wandering around the shores of a river, spraying water on each other with their trunks and dropping poops the size of a tractor tire. It's impossible to imagine an elephant hunting anything, let alone human beings.
Yet for two years, a single male Asian elephant terrorized the villagers of Sonitpur, killing at least 27 people. The locals named him "Osama bin Laden" for reasons that are not abundantly clear.
Possibly because sword-sized tusks are pretty damn terrifying.
Being much bigger than any person, Osama preferred trampling or goring people to death. In one six-month period, he ran down 14 people in separate incidents. He also destroyed homes and businesses, melting back into the surrounding wilderness whenever search parties came looking for him. It wouldn't have mattered much if they could find him, though, because he reportedly had no fear of firearms. Picture the climax of Scarface with Babar instead of Tony Montana.
"Fucking ... cock-a-roaches ..."
After two years of carnage, the government issued a "shoot to kill" order for Osama, though to be honest the fact that such an edict had to sit in the legislative oven for 730 days raises serious concern. He was finally caught outside of a tea estate and shot to death by a licensed hunter. But, in true Opera/Red Dragon fashion, there is substantial doubt as to whether or not that hunter killed the right elephant. Which means Osama bin Laden (the elephant) could be anywhere right now. Even right behind you.
An elephant never ... shows mercy!