A List of Aggressive Animals (Notable Mentions), Part 1

Cranky folks. We have all had our share of them. Folks who can go from cool to blazing hot in seconds with the slightest provocation. The animal world has its share of them too. Below are some of the most ill-tempered animals on the planet. The first five on this list are native to Africa. The others are found on other continents.


Whether on land or in water, these seemingly harmless and “fat” animals can be really dangerous, if provoked. And boy, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to do so. They are fiercely territorial and very volatile creatures. A hippo’s rage meter can go from zero to hundred in a really short period, especially if it’s the dominant male in its turf, fighting off intruders, or is a nursing mother protecting its young.

In addition to a bad temper, a hippo also has an arsenal of powerful jaws which house large dangerous teeth. Their jaws can be parted close to 180°. These jaws deliver a terrible bite that other animals (even other hippos) steer clear of, and for good reason too. A hippo’s bite is powerful enough to chop a crocodile in half. If the infamous reptilian can suffer such fate, one cannot even begin to fathom what fate would befall a human victim.

A hippo’s size doesn’t deter it from charging at victims if it wants to. They are capable of reaching speeds of more than 20mph in short bursts, which is quite impressive for their size. They are no sprint champions, but that amount of speed from close range would sure do a lot of damage to an unsuspecting victim.

The perfect story that describes the unpredictability and volatility of a hippo is the story of a man who found a young male hippo at a tender age and cared for it till adulthood. He bathed it, brushed its teeth and bonded with it for a number of years- six, apparently. He was killed by the same hippo. He’s one of many victims of hippo attacks. These guys have a track record of about 3000 humans kills per year, usually by capsizing boats that victims were travelling in.

So in case you see a hippo, think twice before you move close.

The Cape Buffalo:-

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the Cape Buffalo makes this list. The Cape Buffalo has earned its reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the African savannah, commanding the respect of predators and fellow herbivores. They live in highly organised herds that may be made up of hundreds of individuals. A herd is headed by a dominant male, a veteran fighter- A survivor, who’s generally responsible for the safety of the herd.

An average healthy adult buffalo weighs close to a ton. All that weight, housing unbridled volatility. Buffalos will instinctively avoid predators, like other herbivores, but if confronted, and conditions are right, things can get really ugly in a short period for the attackers. Lions, the so-called kings of the savannah, are aware of the volatility of these animals, and they hunt them with caution, and with backup too. A single lion going up against a buffalo is looking for a death sentence. The last thing any predator wants is to be gored by a mad buffalo. The amount of damage that a mad buffalo can inflict with its curved sharp pointed horns is a big, big deal. The tide changes in the fraction of a second if the buffalo succeeds in delivering its blow- a ton’s momentum of pure power. The hunter becomes the hunted.

You know what’s worse? These guys keep scores too. There have been documentaries of herds of buffalos involved in bloody vendettas with lion prides, killing their cubs because the lion pride killed one of their own a few days or weeks before.

Black mamba:-

Fast. Has a bad temper. Highly venomous.

These traits make the black mamba a highly formidable enemy. Black mambas are the fastest snakes in the world. The “black” in their name is due to the black colour of the insides of their throat/mouth. Unlike other snakes who would most likely back away from a confrontation, the black mamba is more likely to stand its ground and even chase its victim down, delivering a venomous bite capable of killing an adult human in a matter of minutes- less than half an hour. For smaller prey, it might take just seconds.

Another unusual trait of the black mamba is that it’s capable of “standing” on its tail if it wants to climb up a high surface. Technically, if this guy is on a person’s case, it’s a “we die here” affair for it, unless he/she gets to safety on time.

African Honey Bees:-

Also known as killer bees. You are probably wondering why killer bees made this list. Here is why: Swarm Power.
A single bee sting may not account for much, apart from an embarrassing swelling and some pain, but the combined efforts of a swarm of bees can be… Devastating. These bees are also fond of invading other bee hives and taking over the place.


Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Elephants are generally peaceful animals, but two versions of elephants are known to be temperamental. A testosterone-driven bull elephant, and a nursing mother. Hence, why they are on this list.

The largest land animals are renowned for their brute strength, which comes in handy when they feed, and the strong social bonds they form in their families. As regards the former, they are known to decimate tree populations to satiate their large appetite. With their powerful trunks, they are capable of tearing down whole trees. Elephant herds are matriarchal societies, headed by the oldest female in the group.

Scenario 1, mad bull:-

There are a handful of dangerous things you do not want to cross paths with in your lifetime. A mad bull elephant with raging hormones is one of them. It’s no longer news what high testosterone levels can do to the psyche of a male animal. It lowers the threshold, and increases the amplitude of their rage. High testosterone levels have a way of messing with the “rage-meter” of a male elephant such that it is offended at the slightest provocation. This makes them exceptionally aggressive, especially during mating seasons.

Scenario 2, nursing mother:-

An elephant’s gestational period is about 2 years. That’s a lot of time to carry a baby. The energy and all, needed to sustain the young one during this period and even after birth, is tremendous. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that these guys would do anything to protect their kids. A mother doesn’t guard her young one alone. The whole herd cares for it. They have a characteristic way of putting the young ones in the middle of the herd formation during their voyages for food and water, such that they are well protected from predators. The chances of a predator stealing a calf from its mother/the herd are very low. Really low. Animals seldom actively go after them unless they’re out of options… A calf guarded by a colossus of a mother, and equally intimidating relatives, isn’t worth the risk.

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