Top 12 Most Frightening Creatures that Still Exist

1. The Puss Caterpillar

the-puss-caterpillar

If caterpillars have always creeped you out for no reason, then you’re about to learn of a good one. The Puss Caterpillar is only about one-inch long on average and might not look like much of a threat at first, but rub one the wrong way, you’re in for a surprise. That’s because hidden underneath its cute and fuzzy exterior, right around where the mouth is located, are rows and rows of razor-sharp quills that are poisonous.

Even humans are not safe from its painful sting, which causes a grid-like pattern of swollen red dots to appear across the skin. Once stung, you can also expect to experience intense headaches, queasiness, vomiting, and your neck might swell up as you go into shock. These symptoms can last for an hour or they can drag on for days as the poison works its way out of your system.

Since most doctors usually have never heard of the Puss Caterpillar before, they are often of no help when someone comes into the emergency room because of one. Even its population levels have been steadily rising for years now, rarely does anyone ever seem to suspect a venomous caterpillar is to blame. This leaves victims burdened with the additional stress of not knowing how to properly treat their condition, or even if it will end.

Later in life, the Puss Caterpillar makes a freakish-looking cocoon and eventually becomes a much less harmful moth. Until then, however, anyone is fair game. Worse still, many times a small child will innocently handle a Puss Caterpillar, only to experience its terrible sting along with all of the side effects later on. In fact, these bugs are such a problem that outbreaks have been known to shut down public schools all throughout Texas.

Oh, did I not mention before that these caterpillars are in many regions across the United States?

2. The Mantidfly

the-mantidfly

What do you get when you cross a wasp with a praying mantis? A mantidfly. This little winged freak looks pretty menacing at first, but it’s actually completely harmless unless you are a fly, in which case look out. The mantidfly will use its long front legs to grasp its prey and immediately rip their wings off. Then it spins them around and around while eating them whole like a living piece of corn on the cob.

These strange creatures are common in the United States and also in tropical regions throughout the world. Scientists believe that the mantidfly has evolved itself to appear like a wasp so that flies and other nearby insects would not see it as a threat until it’s too late. Unlike real wasps, mantidflys are nocturnal.

If you were already afraid of bugs, then this is probably the last thing that you would ever want landing on your shoulder. It’s fearsome appearance is definitely what earns it a spot on this Top15s list.

3. The Horned Lizard

the-horned-lizard

Everything in the desert wants to eat horned lizards, so they have developed a wide variety of defenses in response. They are not the fastest reptiles in the animal kingdom by far, so running away is usually not an option. Instead they try to blend into their environment using camouflage. If that doesn’t work, then the 5-inch reptile will puff up and hiss in display of dominance. Puffing up also makes them harder to be swallowed.

There’s one special defense, however, that horned lizards save for only when they are attacked by coyotes, foxes, and other similar predators: they squirt their own blood. Horned lizards can shoot blood from their eyes up to 6 feet away.

Located underneath both of the lizard’s eyes are tiny pouches. When a lizard sees a desert wolf, for example, the pouches quickly fill with blood that the horned lizard can aim just by looking at its target.

You might be wondering why they would bother to squirt their own blood on a predator. After all, wouldn’t that just make them hungrier? Ordinarily yes, but scientific studies show that there is something in horned lizard’s blood that certain desert animals hate. Scientists aren’t sure exactly what chemicals are in its blood to make this happen, but they are sure that horned lizard blood can cause an allergic reaction in certain predators that leaves them shaking their head for up to 15 minutes – plenty of time to get away.

Even when scientists covered delicious mice with horned lizard blood, the desert foxes they used still couldn’t stand it had the same disgusted reaction. At any rate, this is definitely the only creature on earth that can shoot blood straight out of its eyes at will.

4. The Margay

the-margay

Everyone knows that cats are pretty smart, and they also tend to have a cruel streak when it comes to hunting prey, too. The margay is no exception.

This small cat lives in both Central and South America, and it developed has a clever and sadistic way to hunt that makes it very unique . . . and scary. One day, Brazil researchers were studying the margay when they observed something quite disturbing.

One margay was perfectly imitating the sounds a baby monkey makes when it’s in distress. When the concerned adults came rushing to see what was wrong, all they would find was a wildcat staring back at them, ready to pounce.

As if being eaten alive by a jungle cat wasn’t terrifying enough, the poor monkeys spent their final moments leading up to that feeling the type of terror that only a parent could feel for its young.

When the researchers told the natives of what they saw, hardly any of them were surprised. Apparently, the maygar knows how to do the same thing with birds and other wildlife, too.

5. The Frankenfish

the-frankenfish

For years now, a biotechnology company called AquaBounty has been making headlines by splicing the DNA of three fish together. This was done in an effort to make the largest salmon possible to sell to grocery stores and restaurants. Since then, the media has dubbed them as “Frankenfish”, but they are basically just oversized salmon, so we are not going to play them up as some kind of terrifying-looking creature.

What makes them scary, however, is what they are singlehandedly doing to the world’s oceans. Frankenfish are kept in overcrowded tanks where they often escape into the wide open ocean. Here, they become one of the biggest unnatural threats to the food chain. These super salmon have been designed to literally never stop growing, so it isn’t hard to imagine how easily they can wipe out an ecosystem by overeating.

There’s also concerns about Frankenfish mating with wild salmon once they escape and becoming even more prevalent. To keep this from happening, AquaBounty claims to raise the Frankenfish as sterile females. However, even they have to admit that this method is not foolproof, and a certain percentage of them are still quite fertile.

Salmon are also thought to be able to change gender, which further adds to the potential for a major Frankenfish overpopulation in the future.

So what will be the end result of the ocean? Nobody is sure. Some people expect the majority of the ocean life to die out over time as escaped Frankenfish continue to breed with other salmon and take over the seas. The Food and Drug Administration is currently being sued for the potentially devastating consequences of allowing this to happen.

6. The Frilled Shark

the-frilled-shark

The frilled shark has been around for over 80 million years, and it continues to lurk in the Atlantic Ocean to this day. Since it normally lives thousands of feet below sea, however, it is rarely photographed. In 2007, one was found swimming in shallow waters at a Japanese marine park. While this was a rare chance for people to see the frilled shark up close, keep in mind that this particular one was close to death and in very bad shape. Healthy ones weigh much more and are probably even more intimidating to witness.

Frilled sharks mostly eat fish, but the way they eat is what makes them one of the scariest creatures of all time. That’s because the frilled shark devours its prey more like a snake would as opposed to any member of the shark family. Their jaws don’t really deliver a powerful bite, but rather hyperextend like a snake’s. This means they are the only sharks who pretty much swallow prey whole.

7. The Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

the-lions-mane-jellyfish

Jellyfish are one of the planet’s most ancient monsters, and they just seem to be growing more and more terrifying with the passage of time.

Take the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, for example. Normally one weighs about 40 pounds and is about the size of a garbage can, but in 1870, one of these behemoths washed ashore from the Massachusetts Bay. Its body was 7-and-a-half feet wide and its tentacles were 120 feet long, the largest jellyfish ever recorded. Their tentacles are tightly arranged in eight bunches throughout its body, with over 100 tentacles in each group. That’s more than 800 total. These tentacles pack such a severe sting that even once they become separated from the jellyfish, they can still hurt someone.

In 2010, a single Lion’s Mane Jellyfish died and broke up into smaller pieces. Pieces of its tentacles washed ashore in Rye, New Hampshire, and stung over 150 people on the beach. At least nine of them required medical care. The sting of a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish can cause blistering burns and muscle cramps.

The sting of a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish can cause blistering burns and muscle cramps. It can even slow down the heart and respiratory system enough to cause someone to die. As if this weren’t enough, Lion’s Mane Jellyfish usually travel in large groups that can spread over a half-mile long, feasting on small fish and attacking whatever else gets in its way.

8. The Camel Spiders

the-camel-spiders

What has 8 legs, is half-a-foot-long, and jaws that are literally a third of its overall body? Camel spiders. Most commonly found in Middle Eastern deserts, these spiders not only eat other bugs, but

Most commonly found in Middle Eastern deserts, these spiders not only eat other bugs, but they also prey upon lizards, birds and even small rodents. Their jaws use digestive enzymes that literally dissolve their prey’s flesh into liquid as they chew. Their fearsome appearance and incredible speed has given camel spiders a legendary reputation as one of the scariest creatures to ever exist in modern times.

During the Gulf War in the 1990s, rumors spread of gigantic spider chasing down American soldiers and jumping up to 3 feet in the air. Sometimes, soldiers claimed, spiders even started eating people’s limbs while they slept. Those are completely made up war stories, but here’s what is true: camel spiders are able to run 10 miles-per-hour and they will charge straight at you. They actually just want to stand under the shade that your shadow provides, but they still will bite when they feel threatened. Some varieties will even make an angry hiss.

Some varieties will even make an angry hiss. A half-foot spider that runs towards humans instead of away from them and hisses . . . yeah, that deserves a respectable position on the list.

9. The Sloth Bear

the-sloth-bear

Despite their name, sloth bears have absolutely no relation to sloths. They just have similar-looking thick claws and insanely sharp teeth.

While sloths mainly stay high up in the trees and keep to themselves, sloth bears are known to be aggressive and will randomly attack humans. The first sloth bear attack was recorded in the 1957 book Man Eaters and Jungle Killers, written by a famous safari hunter named Kenneth Anderson. In this recollection of his hunts, Anderson recalls tracking a sloth bear that quote “would go out of his way to attack people, even when he saw them a long distance away”.

The sloth bear Anderson speaks of killed at least a dozen people, and seriously maimed twenty-four others. It especially liked to claw and eat their faces. Eventually, after tracking the bear across many different regions of India while interviewing a trail of victims left in its wake, Kenneth finally meets the sloth bear face-to-face. He shines a flashlight in its eyes and shoots it in the chest at close range, and the killer sloth bear is no more.

While his account is a thrilling must-read, it unfortunately is far from the only retelling of a vicious attack by sloth bears.

In 2014, a 45-year-old farmer in India saw a sloth bear and foolishly decided to attack it first with his machete out of fear. The sloth bear defended itself, which is understandable, but what it did next shows why its species makes the list. A crowd of worried villagers had gathered around at this point.

A crowd of worried villagers had gathered around at this point. Instead of wandering back into the woods to safety, the sloth bear charged headfirst into the group so that it could rip into a second victim’s face, arms and upper body. It then went back to the first farmer’s body, where it stayed for the next four hours. By the time the police arrived, the sloth bear had eaten the farmer’s entire right leg.

10. Toxoplasma Gondii

toxoplasma-gondii

You might get upset at your cat for bringing a dead animal inside of the house from time to time, but that’s not the only gift that your favorite feline may have recently given you. There’s another present that might be waiting just for you, one that comes straight from the litter box and goes directly into your brain.

I’m talking about the fecal-dwelling parasites known as Toxoplasma gondii. Once these one-celled creatures get inside of your brain, they usually cause flu-like symptoms at first – but that’s not all.

They can also seriously damage your eyesight along with virtually any other organ. Fortunately, most people have an immune system that is strong enough to beat these worms within a day, or even within an hour, but at same time, there have been plenty of people who have gone from feeling perfectly fine one day to having serious, lifelong complications from this.

As if the physical symptoms weren’t enough, a Czech Republic study in 1992 confirmed that these parasites cause all sorts of personality changes, too. Strangely enough, exactly what kinds of changes occur all depends on if you are a male or a female.

For whatever reason, once a man gets infected, he often tends to disregard rules and becomes much more likely to get into verbal and physical altercations . Infected women, on the other hand, can become equally uninhibited, although in a much different way.

It seems that women who come into contact with Toxoplasma gondii tend to become far more promiscuous than they ever would have been before.

Make no mistake about it: cat-to-human parasites are real, they are dangerous, and they seem to be taking over the world.

According to the Oxford Journals for Clinical Infectious Diseases, 13 percent of the United States population carried this parasite as of 2010. Every single country in the world has tested positive for them to some degree. In certain African and Latin American countries, over 90 percent of the population is infected – almost everybody.

If you ever ate meat that is tainted or undercooked, drank water that was dirty, or if you don’t properly wash your hands after handling cat litter, then you have already put yourself at risk.

 

11. The Loa Loa Worm

the-loa-loa-worm

There are a lot of strange parasites living in Africa, but the loa loa worm has to be one of the worst. You get the loa loa worm from the simple bite of a black fly, where they go on to multiply inside of your connective tissues.

Female worms can make thousands of microscopic larvae inside of you every day. These larva slowly push their way into your lungs and emerge into the bloodstream, where they can be sucked up by a fly and start the process all over again.

This feels about as good as it sounds. They can survive inside of the body for up to 17 years. As they travel all around beneath your skin, it causes raised itchy bumps called “Calabar Swellings”.

Oh, one other thing – the loa loa worm doesn’t have such a great sense of direction, so sometimes it gets lost in the strangest of places. As such, it’s not uncommon to find these worms squirming under the surface of your eye.

12. The Candiru Fish

the-candiru-fish

Here’s a good reason not to swim in the Amazon River (as if you really needed one). The candiru fish is only about one-inch long, but it is feared by the natives more than almost anything else in the entire jungle.

Also known as the “vampire fish”, the candiru feeds off of the blood of its victims. To do so, it has a long thin body with sharp teeth that it uses to rip its way into the gills of a larger fish.

Extremely sharp backwards-facing fins help lodge the candiru fish firmly into place, where it can then eat its way deeper and deeper into the body until it reaches the heart. That sounds pretty bad, but it doesn’t end there.

According to Amazon legend, sometimes the candiru makes a mistake and swims up a person’s urethra instead. In 1930, a fish specialist named Eugene Willis Gudger published a paper in the American Journal of Surgery all about this strange phenomenon.

Apparently, many local Amazon villagers spoke of a dangerous fish that was known to zip straight up the private parts of both men and women alike.

It was the reason why many men made a tradition of tying a rope around their genitals before going in the water. If one of these fish got inside of them, the report said, the only method of removal was amputation.

Of course, there was no way to actually verify these stories back then, and so they were largely written off as myth over time. Scientists tried to recreate the scenario with various experiments, but they found candiru were in no way attracted to the scent of urine, or any other similar claims. Try they might, they just couldn’t replicate the story.

But then in 1997, one poor man said he experienced the candiru fish himself. The local doctor who removed it from him backs up his story by providing some interesting supporting evidence. This man lived deep in the Amazon at the time. He was minding his own business and urinated in the water one day like usual. In those few seconds, he felt a sharp sting in his groin followed by an explosive pain. A candiru fish had rushed into his urethra and was burrowing itself deeper inside by the minute.

It took the poor man four days to travel from his remote location to the nearest city doctor. By then, he was in complete and total agony. As the doctor puts it, his bladder and genitals were extremely swollen, he was bleeding, and he had a bad fever. For days, the candiru fish had been trying to drill a hole straight through his private parts so that it could make an escape out of his rectum. The doctor used a special endoscope to go up the man’s urethra and extract the fish. This surgical instrument has a camera mounted on it, and the 4-minute video it produced is legendary.

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