7 Terrifying Creatures You'll Never See Coming
We at Cracked are no strangers to the horrors of the natural world. There are some just outright evil creatures out there.
But at least the vast majority have the common decency to be upfront about the fact they can do us serious harm--claws, big teeth, bright colors. But not these guys. These assholes can ruin your day, and you'll never see them coming.
The Candiru Fish
There are hundreds of organizations that are devoted to saving the Amazon. But, if Judge Joe Brown has taught us anything, it's that there are always two sides to an argument. So what could we possibly have against the rainforest? Well among other things, the Amazon is home to nightmarish creatures like the candiru, otherwise known as the vampire fish. The nickname appears to be a cruel joke, because quite frankly we'd rather get stuck in a damned city full of vampires rather than run into one these nightmares.
Seriously, if you haven't heard of these things, and what they can do, just start cringing now. It's about to get ugly.
First, it's tiny. You won't see it if you're, for instance, standing waist-deep in water. Not until it's much, much too late.
You see, when the fish isn't around humans, it utilizes its extreme sense of smell and taste to track trace amounts of urea and ammonia that leak from the gills of other, less assholish fish. Then the candiru wedges itself into their gills, extending spines to latch onto their flesh and feed on the blood of the host. To quote from Wikipedia: "the Candiru begins to gnaw a hole towards a major blood vessel and gorges itself." But who cares about that? After all, you're not a fish, right?
Hey, you know what else releases a stream of urea and ammonia? You, pissing yourself in fear of this unholy beast. Thus if you are unlucky enough to be in the Amazon River when you relieve yourself, you may fall victim to the candiru burrowing in a private region (we mean your dick). Yes, this happens. Now go back and read that part about the spines.
The candiru is represented here by a baby. The hot dog is your penis.
The fish is almost impossible to remove without surgery, though what difference does that make when the alternative would be expelling a spiny fish from your freshly ravaged nether regions?
Ah, Australia. You knew it would turn up on this list. Why? Because it's home to things like the fucking stonefish, that's why.
This spiny fish calls the Great Barrier Reef home. The Great Barrier Reef isn't generally regarded as the epicenter of terror, but the stonefish is doing its damnedest to turn that around. It lives up to its name by sitting at the bottom of the reef and refusing to move while it waits for shrimp or small fish to happen by so it can suck them into its massive mouth. It remains unclear whether or not the stonefish makes the same sound as Kirby.
Regarded by the scientific community for its ability to camouflage itself, the stonefish is better at being a rock than most rocks.
Damn, he's good.
Lying in one spot for extended periods of time and eating shrimp is something that we can get behind. Doing it in Australia is all the better. However, the Cracked staff does not share the same poison injecting, death-inducing attitude. The extremely immobile and apparently lazy nature of the fish would indicate that we could get along, but no. The jerkfish has to have 13 incredibly poisonous and incredibly sharp spines that are capable of killing a completely healthy adult human in just two hours.
Not when he's dead, though. You hear that, you fucker!?"
Some of the symptoms that could lead up to the possible death may include such timeless classics as: intense pain lasting up to 12 hours, nausea, tremors, abnormal heartbeats, seizures and paralysis. And of course, this assfish prefers shallow, warmer water, which is exactly what the majority of beachgoers enjoy. So next time you head to the beach, be on the lookout for the stonefish. Oh wait. You can't because it's fucking invisible.
The African Gaboon Adder
We know what you're thinking: "Those are fish! Big deal! We'll just avoid the water, that'll take care of it."
But if you decide to stay on the land, and for some reason are unfortunate enough to have to walk around the savannas of Africa, you should probably be aware of the African gaboon adder. The owner of some large fangs and extremely potent venom, the adder utilizes an impressive set of hunting tools. But, unlike most hunters with awesome weaponry, the adder doesn't do something as trivial as moving. Instead, it just finds a place to hide and waits on some poor bastard to happen by to kill it.
And when we say, "hide," we mean that you're not going to spot the thing, even if you're looking for it. It's born with a hide of perfect camouflage almost as good as the stonefish's.
Compounding the horror of this creature, the mere force of its strike is capable of killing its prey. While a human probably wouldn't be killed by the strike alone, it would leave a mean bruise and a couple of deep puncture wounds from its two-inch long fangs. And then while you scream like a girl at a Jonas Brothers concert, the snake's venom begins to digest you from the inside out... like the music at a Jonas Brothers concert.
This hiding spot is less inspired.
Does the snake have the decency to have a rattle or some kind warning to let you know to run away? Barely. Apparently the adder will signal you're impending death with a barely audible hiss, a hiss that could easily be mistaken for rustling leaves, just like the ones that it is hiding in. Seriously, the son of a bitch basically has a picture of a leaf painted on its head.
Australian Paralysis Tick
We're just going to say it now; between dingoes eating babies and the lack of a suitable crocodile hunter, Australia is overrun with creatures that want you dead. Even the bugs could care less about you.
The Australian paralysis tick is one of the most abundant and terrible parasites found down under. Ticks here in the states are an annoyance at worst but the paralysis tick, as you may have guessed, is capable of paralyzing its host so it can feed in peace.
That's not a tick.
Now this is a tick.
Oddly though, scientists are confused as to why it does this as paralysis doesn't seem to improve its efficiency. Basically, the tick just does it because it can. Oh, and the juvenile tick is so small that it is nearly impossible to remove without a magnifying glass and some tweezers. So enjoy.These ticks are much more likely to attack the family dog than to draw sustenance from human blood, but if it chooses you, you can expect to feel the following effects: First, there will be a mild itch which may or may not be followed by fever. Then, of course, we get the paralysis. Being rendered motionless isn't a guarantee, because only the females have the ability to administer the toxin through a large, barbed hypostome. We notice science likes to give horrifying things unrecognizable names.
If you're in a hurry to see the thing in motion, well, lucky someone has bothered to make a video:
From the way they start playing with the thing at the end, there, we're thinking it's their pet. Freaking Australia. Figures.
Caterpillars? Really? Ha, don't those things turn into butterflies or some shit? Give us a break.
"Ooh, I'm a fuckin' caterpillar or whatever."
Not so fast. The Lonomia caterpillar calls South America home and is so horrible that it is considered a public health problem. Not even the above mentioned candiru can lay claim to that. So what makes the Lonomia such a scourge to humanity? Well, what from a distance seems to be another lumbering, lovable caterpillar, on very close inspection is revealed to be covered with venomous spines.
When the spines make contact with human skin, the immediate symptoms are a burning sensation, headache and nausea, much like the effects of a one night stand in Vegas. This could be followed some time later by internal hemorrag... hemmorag... internal bleeding. This includes hematuria, which we think is Latin for "blood in urine" and ecchymosis which is essentially bleeding under your skin. The venom contains several toxins that affect the clotting ability of your blood and can, in extreme cases, damage your kidneys.
Though it seems that things couldn't get much worse, the caterpillars actually have the ability to throw their spines into the air, so you don't even have to actually make contact with the animal for it to fuck you up.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT
Electric Torpedo Rays
Normally water and electricity don't mix. However, electric torpedo rays don't give a shit about logic and will release up to 220 volts of electricity into the water at any given moment, from their totally hidden spot on the ocean floor.
Electric rays are fairly aggressive and have been known to attack divers, so don't try to tell us that they are more scared of us than we are of them, 'cause we're terrified.
Electric impulses fired from the ray can knock a full grown adult on their ass. Amplify the shock with a conductor like salt water, mix in a lack of oxygen and you have a recipe for dead swimmer. But like every efficient murderer, the rays leave little evidence of their crimes.
The electric rays are like the hit men of the ocean. There are no confirmed fatalities contributed to the rays, but there wouldn't be (they are suspected in several unexplained deaths of divers). By the way, you may be thinking that it's pretty badass somebody named them "torpedo rays" but they weren't named after the explosive ship-killing weapons. No, the weapons were named after the fucking rays.
And if you're comforting yourself by looking at the picture up there and figuring, "Well, that's not all that well hidden. In clear water, I'd surely see that thing." Yeah, give it about one second to bury itself in the silt, and you're not going to see a damned thing.
The N. fowleri may not look like much--and won't look like anything at all without a microscope--but of all the creatures on the world that want us dead (and there are many more than we've mentioned here) it might be the worst of them all.
This little bastard can't wait to kill you. It's preferred method? Like most good horror movies monsters: to feast on your brain until you stop living. In another strange horror movie-like twist, it apparently targets teenagers.
N. fowleri seen here attacking.
The difference is, of course, brain-eating zombies are at least visible. This amoeba, on the other hand, dwells in lakes and ponds. It sits on the bottom waiting for its victim to stir up the water enough for an attack, it then literally crawls into your brain via the nasal passage, sits and gorges itself until it is drunk on tasty gray matter and you ultimately pass away two weeks later. What an asshole.
The only symptoms of this unspeakable horror seem to initially be a headache or fever followed a few days later by hallucinations. But, of course, that's what people get for swimming in murky, amoeba-infested waters in the jungle, right?
Oh, hey, did we mention that it can turn up in your swimming pool?
And because we can't stress enough how much animals must be annihilated from the planet, check out 5 Scientific Reasons People Act Like Assholes. And check out The Galactic Empire's Official Defense Strategy in our Death Star page.
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