Ten Ways Nature Can Kill You… With Mammals!
I had this horrifically vivid dream last night that I was surrounded by several large, grizzly-type bears in my Grandparent’s old front yard. And none of them wore a tie. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the wonderful members of the ursine family -heck, I’ve only ever seen one or two up close and they were behind several inches of presumably bullet-proof plexi-glass. The point is nature’s beasties, sometimes even the cutest and cuddliest furry mammals, are wont to chew your face off and poop you out all over their prey trails. Oh sure, you can always get killed by the well-hidden Black Widow, or the ever sneaky and dangerous scorpion -damn, even skeeters will kick your ass what with all that nasty disease they harbor. But how often do you hear stories of squirrels gnawing a person to death, or a bunny nibbling on your feet as you try in vain to run away? Well, never. But that’s beside the point. Here are the real dangers of the Mammalian world that you might want to avoid. Especially if their in your Gramma’s yard.
That’s right, Bambi is out to get you. That’s right, the lowly, unassuming, walking pile of venison wants you and everyone you love to die horribly. How? Gouging by antlers? Trampling by hooves? Nope. Try: Car accident. That’s right, every year 130 people at least are killed thanks to Kamakazi Odocoileus virginianus that are spooked, trying to cross a busy street, or dared by their peers to launch themselves into oncoming traffic. And this, folks, is why everyone needs to bear arms. Or arm a bear, either way.
9. Polar Bear
Despite what ads featuring mediocre stars will lead you to believe (see: Noah Wyle), polar bears are vicious, powerful, angry, pissed off predators that want to assault you as soon as smell you. Okay, maybe that’s a broad generalization. They are, however, the largest predatory beast on four legs and, since we, as humans, have severely limited its territory… well, we’re just kind of asking for it. Apparently attacks are pretty rare, but when they do happen, well, let’s just say the fatality rate is a solid 99%. They need to work harder.
Let’s get Crispin Glover in on this, he’s dealt with them and even trained them a bit. What about that Pied Piper guy? Seriously, rats are a nasty, nasty menace and need to be stopped. I will stipulate a little, since only two types of rats have really done the most damage. First, the Black Rat. The Black Rat has been known to fall victim of a number of diseases, of which bubonic plague (via the rat flea), typhus, toxoplasmosis and trichinosis are the most well known, and then they spread them all over mankind. Second is RATT, that band was awful! No, wait, I mean the Brown Rat. This damn thing can carry any and all of the following: Weil’s disease, rat bite fever, cryptosporidiosis, Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), Q fever and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, Coxiella burnetii, and Toxoplasma gondii. I used to have a rat for pet! It had huge balls.
7. The Walrus
Wait, are you telling me that a giant fat-ass seal with saber teeth is dangerous? Pfft. Whatever. Fortunately for this wobbling armed Jabba the Hutt, indigenous peoples who live near it can usurp its many helpful body parts for survival: hides, blubber, meat, and the liver makes a great pudding. So what do these voracious killers eat (aside from, apparently, Eskimos)? Try shrimps, crabs, tube worms, soft corals, tunicates, sea cucumbers, and various mollusks. I see. So they use those enormous tusks of theirs just for gouging the guts out of man. Nice. Jerks. Look, you’d really have to toss your own dumb ass into a pod of these things or, say, attempt to hunt them for any real damage to occur. But it has, and will. Watch your backs.
Isn’t it stunning that two of the fattest, slowest-moving mammals on Earth are some of the most potentially deadly? Seriously, it’s the cuteness factor matched with the severe stupidity of humans. We see soft and cuddly stuffed animals that look like sweet baby Hippos and Walruses and, well, one asinine idea leads to another. Anyway, Hippopotamusus (hippopotami?) are extremely dangerous to the point of holding their own against crocodiles! Damn, Mick Dundee can barely do that! Since they hang out at the bottom of rivers, swimmers and boaters out partying on the water and throwing back a few brewskis are in horrific danger and will be immediately consumed upon attack. By the crocs. Hippos eat plants, stupid. They just kill for fun.
I hate cats. Therefor, not a big fan of gigantic cats, either. Though the leopard is the smallest of the four big cats in its native region, they also happen to be sadistic, opportunistic death beasts with a taste for blood and all things covered and or made out of blood. Silently and stealthily hunting, leopards (and it’s melanistic brethren, the black panther) quietly stalking its prey, including Aardvarks, Ants, Bears, Boars, Cats, Bats, Dogs, Hogs, Elephants, Antelopes, Pheasants, Ferrets, Giraffes, Gazelles… oh, and the occasional monkey. Basically, the leopard will eat anything it can kill, drag up into a tree, and consume. Humans fit nicely into that category. Tasty.
4. African Elephants
Ya know all those really interesting nature shows that portray elephants as docile, subservient creatures who are more than willing to tote your lazy ass around creation on its back while being revered and, conversely, viciously tamed? Yeah, those kind of elephants are the nice ones: Indian (Asian) Elephants. We’re talking African pachyderms here, the kind folks like Bear Grylls warn you about while he stays down-wind from them because even he knows that taunting an animal that weighs as much as six buses and comes equipped with precious and sharp ivory is a damn silly idea. If that thought wasn’t bad enough, it’s generally not the gouging you need to worry about, it’s the trampling and subsequent squashing that really sucks. They’re heavy.
It’s amazing how many of the most deadly mammals live right there in Africa! Right there where everyone basically lives outside, spitting distance from these massive things. I can’t seem to put my finger on it. So the lion, right? Man, watching a proud and long-standing group of lions go zero for sixteen in kill ratio… well that’s just inexcusable! But enough about Detroit’s ridiculous football team, we’re talking about the big ass cat. Oddly, it’s not so much the huge, fully-maned male lions you need to worry about (as they tend to be lazy and make their wives do all the damn work), it’s the female huntress that will tackle your meat-bag ass and rip it to fleshy ribbons. However, the Tsavo River pride of male lions did their share of thinning the population of rail workers back in the 1890’s and as recently as the 1990’s. Val Kilmer was good in that movie.
Trivia: What animal is roughly the size and shape of a locomotive, has two humongous horns sticking out front, is as armored as a military tank, and will skewer your whimpering ass without a second thought? No, not Rosie O’Donnell, she’s had her horns filed down recently. Nope, I’m talking about the rhino! Unfortunately, though I joke, rhinos are ridiculously easy to hunt or poach since, evidently, all you have to do is wait till it stops to drink and, WHAM! And I don’t mean Andrew Ridgely. You see, it’s their very weapons that are so prized: those horns. On top of that, two distinct species of the Rhino, Javan and Sumatran, are near extinction, no thanks to us. Maybe they need to get a straw.
1. Cape Buffalo
Here it is, arguably the most unpredictably wicked beast of all time: a friggin buffalo. Obviously angry at humanity itself for pretty much wiping out its North American brethren, the Cape Buffalo is bitter, angry, and ready for a throw-down at a moment’s notice. Known as one of the “big five” or “Black Death” in Africa, the African Buffalo is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal, as it gores and kills over 200 people every year. Now that’s deadly. Though hippos are often regarded as having a similar kill record, buffalo seem to be far more prominent and much larger assholes. They have never succumbed to domestication, which is likely a good thing considering their track record for vicious and unprovoked mass slaughter of humanity. Still, it doesn’t sound very manly to compare one’s murder record to a buffalo. Especially mine. It’s more akin to the woolly bear caterpillar.