People Divulge The Dark Facts That Make Some Animals Not So Cute Anymore
Scott Carroll/Unsplash

As a little kid I obsessed over animals. I poured over volumes and volumes of encyclopedias and zoological journals, I spent countless hours at the Museum of Natural History with my little notebook jotting down every sign, every factoid, every bit of animal-knowledge I could find.

None of that prepared me for what I just read.

This was way back when you could just let your kid free-range through a Manhattan museum for a few hours while you grabbed a slice and ran some errands—so you better believe I clocked some serious hours there learning about whales, elephants, etc...

And nowhere in any of that was it mentioned horses regularly chow down on adorable fluffy little peep-peep baby chickens. I had to find that out thanks to THIS god-awful thread.


Reddit user lgo21 asked:

"What are some dark facts about specific animals that make them not seem as cute anymore?"

So yeah. Brace yourself.

Trigger warning: EVERYTHING.

R*pe, murder, cannibalism, snacking... it's all here and it's all bad.

The Lion King

"The first thing a male lion does when he takes over another male's pride of female lions is go around and kill every single cub."

"That way the females don't have to nurse/care for their young and start ovulating sooner. The sooner they ovulate, the sooner he can get them pregnant with HIS cubs."

- fishnwirenreese

"Isn’t there evidence that lionesses can/will abort a pregnancy if this happens so that she won’t waste energy on growing a cub that will be killed anyway?"

- LordSoupSoup

"Lion king alternate ending"

- Mloxard_CZ

Giphy

Duck Tales

"A group of bachelor Male ducks will find a mating pair (male and female duck) beat up the male and gang r*pe the female."

"Sometimes the will gang r*pe her so severely that the female will die in the process."

- el-mojo-

"Jesus I’ve WITNESSED this firsthand and was horrified."

"My parents live next to a pond and I like to read books by it. Was just trying to enjoy a nice spring day and witnessed duck gang r*pe. I chased them off but every spring it happens."

- crazygourdlady

"Was at Disney and saw this happen right outside Crystal palace."

"A lady jumps the fence to 'save' the female and proceeded to yell at park employees for letting the males hurt the female."

"The manager explained to her that it’s a duck natural behavior, they are federally protected, that Disney cannot interfere, AND that the lady was now trespassing and would be arrested if she’d didn’t leave immediately."

"That was a fun day of people watching."

- mtndew01

Giphy

Casually Munching

"Sometimes deer will casually munch on live baby birds."

- NightSkies2019

"Which is why salt licks are important on a farm!"

"Generally, herbivores do that when their bodies give signals they lack certain nutrition. If they don’t have access to other animals to eat, they will also eat dirt and rocks (geophagy)."

- moxfactor

"Pretty much every herbivore is an opportunistic omnivore, they're just really bad at catching meat so usually go for stuff that's smaller then their mouths."

- stonedPict

Giphy

Hannibal Hamster

"Hamsters are cannibals. I don’t know if it’s only dwarf hamsters but they eat their own newborns and eventually each other."

- Catpix_

"This reminds me when my hamster gave birth to 7 babies and straight away ate 2 of them. Not something I wanted to see as 11 year old but oh well."

- Curious_Sandpaper

"I think this might be a rodent/small prey animal thing."

"Hedgehogs, squirrels, rabbits and gophers will all eat their new born. Mice and rats eat each other all the time and I've seen gophers eat their dead brothers/sisters while the body is still warm."

- Sufficient__Phrase

"A lot of the 'cannibalism' of newborn rodents and lagamorphs is because they aren't healthy at birth, and an unhealthy baby can bring a lot of attention and extra risk to their nest, along with extra work for the mother."

"Rats and mice will actually eat their dead to prevent attracting predators in a lot of cases."

"In captivity, this is often an indication that your husbandry is very wrong and the mother does not feel there will be enough resources, safety, etc. People don't realize how much space and effort these animals really take."

"I've owned rats and mice for well over a dozen years now, along with rabbits, hamsters, all those small animals, and I've never seen any rodent eating another unless they were already dead or sickly."

- The_Lab_Rat_

Giphy

Flower's Grandkids

"The dominant female meerkat in her clan will kill the babies that aren’t her own to make sure only her own survive and have the best chance of survival."

- KingFlame66

"As a kid I learned this from watching Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet."

"Watching the cute leader named Flower go and murder her daughter's babies (yes, her own grandkids!) kinda made me realize nature gets pretty metal pretty fast."

- Uceninde

"I was about to mention meerkats, but because they eat little chicks (baby chickens.)"

"At least they do at my local zoo. That's one way to permanently scar my little niece."

- nyanbran

"Meerkats aren't these sweet little things that only eat apples and pears."

"It was feeding time at the zoo, this one meerkat caught a full (dead) mouse and happened to run right up to the glass fence in front of a crowd of 40 people."

"He looked right at us then used his sharp teeth to rip the head off the mouse in one go, while maintaining eye contact. Metal as f*ck lol."

"The whole crowd went 'ewwwww!' Really loudly and now they are fed their meat later in the day when visitors aren't there lol"

- wizard7846

Giphy

Flutter

"You ain't never seen butterflies drinking the fluid from around the eyes of a dead deer.""

"I have. I have."

- rvralph803

"Males of lots of butterflies will flock to dead or rotting meat."

"It's one of the few sources of sodium available to them, which they bundle up in their sperm packets as a 'gift' for the female during copulation. It's a bit sweeter when you look at it that context."

- scipio323

"This is called puddling!"

"Mostly male butterflies do this to get the salt and other nutrients to give to females during mating. But females will do it too to get the nutrients themselves."

- ER1536

"Butterflies are not herbivores!"

"They will drink your sweet, sweet, decomposing body juices. The next time a butterfly lands on you, take a closer look, realize how creepy they look, and that it would happily stick it's little tube tongue into your veins."

- Apageo

Giphy

The End Of 'Horse Girls'?

"I once saw a horse eat a live chicken."

"I was one of those little girls who adored horses up until that point so it was kind of traumatic, but I guess the silver lining is that it saved my parents from having to pay for a very expensive hobby."

"I just couldn’t see them the same way after that."

- Elvis_Take_The_Wheel

"My mom had a horse that was straight up demented about his love for eating baby chicks."

"If he saw a chick had gotten out (it was very hard to contain them when you were going in and out of a coop to feed and clean) he'd stop whatever he was doing and run over to eat it."

- imcoolthankstho

"There was a vid on Reddit of horse munching little chicken. Just pop and its gone. I don't think hen even noticed."

- ExcellentHunter

"I used to feed my horse ham."

- BobertoM

Giphy

Snack Attack

"Bears will eat you alive instead of killing you first."

- Zestyclose_Seaweed74

"Predators subdue their prey as much as possible, but they don't always waste the time or energy to completely kill."

"They have to eat as quickly as possible to get their meal in before scavengers come running in. The point to which they subdue their prey would be 'til the point the prey can’t fight back effectively anymore (i.e. kicks can’t hurt)."

"They usually don’t kill them outright before they start eating."

- Stagamemnon

"I heard a story where the bear put it's weight on a part of the person so that it could chew them casually."

"I don't remember where, but this reminded me of that."

- Plus-Creme

"This is the case with most large predators."

"They don't kill you to kill you so much as disable you so you'll stop resisting being eaten. I've seen enough wildlife kills to know they don't wait until you're dead."

"They are in a hurry to eat as much as possible as fast as they can before some scavengers or other predators show up to start something."

- -_Empress_-

Giphy

Kittens...

"Everyone talking about natural predators and other wildlife. Time to bring home reality."

"Kittens contain multiple viruses and bacteria which are transferable to humans, usually through a scratch. If left untreated, these can really screw a person up, even leading to death."

"Cat Scratch Fever is a legitimate medical term, and requires proper care to diagnose and treat. Symptoms are very closely related to the common cold, but can persist due to the bacteria."

"A more terrifying dark fact is cats can hide symptoms of rabies far longer than most other domesticated animals due to most people believing they may have cat scratch fever instead of rabies."

"This unhinged fact is why so many cats were killed during the Black Plague days, as people feared they were spreading the disease. Turns out, it was fleas via rats, which was discovered once the cats were killed but the plague spread even faster."

"Now if you'll excuse me, I need to apply some antibiotic ointment on my recent scratch since I only learned of all this after adopting one."

"Enjoy!"

- WhiskersWithClaws

Giphy

Trying To Help A Baby

"Bush Babies calls sound like, well, babies."

"An unsuspecting person might head toward them thinking there’s a crying infant that needs help and end up with half their face ripped off, deep skin lacerations, and they’ll be tripping balls."

"Bush Babies (particularly the galago is what I’m referring to) are highly defensive and territorial little menaces."

"They have needle-sharp teeth and grippy little fingers that can peel you apart. Their saliva is so toxic it is considered by many to be a 'venom.' "

"There have been reports from those envenomated to experience symptoms like they’ve been poisoned. Fevers, dizziness, sweating, nausea, rapid heart rate, audio and visual hallucinations."

"And what’s worse? For some, some of the symptoms don’t go away ever."

"In some cases, they’re left in a state of anxiety, depression or a post traumatic stress disorder-like reaction with vivid nightmares when they sleep, random bouts of anxiety, sweating and shaking, etc."

"I have a former coworker who worked with the primates alongside me at a zoo who was attacked by the bush baby who now has crazy nightmares and is now medicated for depression when he claims his mental health was fine before he was attacked. It’s scary stuff."

"They’re adorable but people wear full protective gear when they go in the enclosure now."

"They also piss all over each other to communicate. So they be stinky. And you end up stinky too. Insult to injury."

- wilder-side-pod

Giphy

Penguin Presentation

"Necrophiliac penguins."

"Apparently, a face-down dead female penguin doesn't look sufficiently different than a presenting female penguin, and the males just go for it..."

- Zebirdsandzebats

"Adelie penguins will mate with ANYTHING."

"Dead females. frozen dead females, the decapitated head of a dead animal, their own offspring, fish, and even the ground. THE GROUND. To them, even baby seals are fit mating."

- NegativeAd99

penguin swimming GIFGiphy

Baby Bunnies

"Bunnies will kill their own babies due to any amount of stress..."

"... or if anything goes slightly wrong, or if they are in a bad mood."

- GenderNotFound

"Weirdly enough, in domestic rabbits you can feed a pregnant doe some raw hamburger shortly before the birth and she usually won't try to snack on the babies."

- Askater_620

Sweet Kisses Bunnies GIFGiphy

So Cute!

"Slow lorises are venomous. Their venom glands are in their armpits."

"So when people see this cute little primate put their arms up they think to themselves 'OMG SO CUUUUUUUTE!!' but it's not cute."

"They are, in reality, activating their defenses. At this point they are actively secreting venom which they then lick, the venom mixes with their saliva to make their bites toxic."

"This has only been observed as a defense against other slow lorises, which have been observed with rotting flesh around the site of venom delivery. One case researchers observed one with half their face 'melted.' "

- senatedestroyer

tummy loris GIFGiphy

Adorable Death

"Black footed cats are the most successful feline hunters. More than 65% of their hunts are successful."

"They hunt rodents, lizards and other smaller animals, but they are quite aggressive so when threatened they might even attack humans."

"But they are only a a little bit bigger than house cats and REALLY CUTE, so they aren't a threat to humans."

"To anything smaller, they're death incarnate. To adult humans they're just adorable sassypaws."

- folgore248

GIF by SkabGiphy

Anteaters Are Extreme

"Anteaters are some of the most homicidal and dangerous creatures in the animal kingdom and can scare off predators easily. They are near-totally blind and react to movement by attacking anything that comes near it."

"They happen to live in the same environments as jaguars who are considered some of the best hunters among the big cats and regularly hunt alligators, but jaguars won't go near them."

"This is because anteaters have huge claws that will utterly wreck anyone who tries it - either by cutting a major artery or just gutting someone. One unfortunate zookeeper was attacked by an anteater while cleaning its cage and her coworkers weren't sure whether she would die on the way to the hospital or before the ambulance even arrived."

"And the way they eat is also pretty messed up. Anteaters don't have stomach acids strong enough to digest their prey so they crush up ants and digest them in the ant's own digestive juices."

- res30stupid

hungry planet earth 2 GIF by BBC EarthGiphy

Those Beautiful Birds

"Storks sometimes (not always) will pick the weakest and youngest chick and fling him out of the nest to die if they consider that there’s the possibility of scarcity of food in the future."

"I know they are not evil, this is instinct and probably the best chance of survival for the other siblings and all. But when I found out I was disturbed and never looked at those beautiful birds the same again."

- cerenir

white stork bird GIF by Head Like an OrangeGiphy

If It's White, Say Goodnight

"Polar bears are one of the most deadly apex predators on the planet."

"There's a saying about bear attacks: 'If it's black fight back, if it's brown lie down, if it's white say goodnight.' "

"Black bears attack mainly for food and are easily frightened (basically they're big raccoons) so if you make yourself seem not worth it they'll give up."

"Brown bears mainly attack out of fear / defensiveness and will leave if they think you're not a threat or are dead."

"Polar bears, though? They see humans as prey, are several times stronger than any other bear on the planet, and if one sees you you're pretty much as good as dead."

"There are places in the arctic where it's illegal to leave settlements without a firearm to defend yourself from polar bears."

- minnieboss

"Polar bears are not cute, fluffy little creatures that drink Coca Cola. They are one of the few species that seem to kill humans for fun."

- FraudulentCake

scratching polar bear GIFGiphy

God Help You

"A Cassowary's existence is dark enough."

"It looks like a pretty Emu, but it's more like if you mixed an Emu with a coked-up T-Rex."

"They got a reputation as the world's most dangerous bird, and may god help you if you ever accidentally piss one off."

- IceFire909

Australia One Planet GIF by BBC AmericaGiphy

Bubbles

"Chimpanzees."

"Case of humans trying to successfully domesticate chimps do not always go so well. The older the chimp gets the more aggressive it can become."

"In one case, a chimpanzee known to be friendly throughout the neighbourhood by everyone suddenly turned a corner one day and savagely attacked the owner’s friend."

"Not to get too graphic, but some limbs were removed and surgery was required."

- W4T3RM3LONS

"It didn't work for Michael Jackson and Bubbles, it's not gonna work for anyone."

"Not that Michael was some sort of primate expert, but he had more than enough money to afford care and access to every specialist he wanted. Chimps are wild animals, they are not pets or babies - Bubbles got way too aggressive and had to go."

"They're scary-strong and can rip your limbs or face off quite easily. It's happened more than once."

- [Reddit]

baby animals chimp GIF by BBC EarthGiphy

Cute Little Clocks

"Do you know about the cuckoo?"

"These little jerks go around to other bird's nests and replace the eggs that were there with their own eggs. Then the 'foster' parents raise the cuckoo as its own."

"Evolutionary genius? Perhaps."

"But why the f*ck do we make cute little clocks about these insidious a-holes?"

- Loki_Dar

Giphy

This whole thread deserves a collective:

"Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang Nature, you scary!"

Now that you're thoroughly horrified, or at least concerned for your mental health after a Bush Baby attack (which is a new thing I have anxiety about now, thanks!) it's your turn to spread some trauma!

What's an awful animal fact you know?

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