Since the beginning of time, humans and animals have shared a mixed relationship. On one hand are the somewhat harmless, domesticated, and adorable animals we all can’t get enough of- dogs, hamsters, cats, etcetera. On the other hand are the creatures who reside in the wild, and who seem threatening to humans, perhaps because of their appearances, or ignorance about their real nature, or simply because they actually are dangerous. But more often than not, we see some of them being classified as dangerous when, in reality, they’re just minding their business! Let’s look at some such animals with a bad reputation-
Vultures are a pretty common animal, pretty commonly hated too. But did you know that they are nature’s very own purifiers and recyclers? Despite their menacing looks, they are completely harmless for humans, and carry out the function of clearing the dead remains of animals and redistributing them for new plant and animal life to grow. They are in fact an endangered species, which isn’t surprising, considering that their only defense mechanism is projectile vomiting, but they are definitely over-villainized.
Giant African millipedes
Your first thought when you look at millipedes must be “Eww! LEGS!”, and that’s justified. But while it does look like a weird insect, it is actually kept as a pet in many households! This is because it is a docile and slow-moving creature, and since it isn’t a predator, it poses no threat to other creatures. They get along well with their own kind, something even us humans haven’t been able to accomplish, and their tiny legs moving lethargically around can be endearing and mesmerizing to look at. They are not dangerous or aggressive, nor are they poisonous or venomous, and if that doesn’t describe the perfect exotic pet, we don’t know what does!
Despite being the biggest ray on the planet, the Manta Ray isn’t harmful to divers at all. It displays curiosity and closely interacts with humans, and I don’t know about you, but a huge flappy fish swimming willingly beside me would make my day. Owing to their size, they are confident and fast, and strut the sea like a boss, but they’re not predatory or aggressive in nature. They do not pose the threat of stinging you, and all in all it can be a thrilling experience to encounter a manta ray in your oceanic adventures.
Another seemingly bizarre choice for a pet is that of this beautiful reptile that is set apart by its striking blue tongue. Being from the same family as snakes and lizards, they’re commonly attacked by the stereotype of “reptiles are dangerous and disgusting”. But the blue-tongued skink is friendly and approachable, and grows into a submissive, settled, exotic pet for anyone who would care to keep them. They are even recommended as pets for beginners because they can be tamed easily, though they do give a nasty bite if threatened.
Of course, like the mythical creature they are associated with, vampire bats are seen as dangerous, especially because they need the blood of other animals to survive. First of all, the bite of a vampire bat will NOT turn you into a vampire, fortunately or unfortunately. Moreover, they are rarely known to harm humans, as they tend to feed on the blood of cattle, horses, or other birds. Recently, it is discovered that they are interestingly social and complex animals, and the very thought of a tiny bat starting family is adorable to me!
It’s easy to imagine being terrified of the shark family on a whole, what with their portrayal as ruthless predators in movies and shows. But it might surprise you to find out that there are non-aggressive species of sharks too, including the basking shark. It consumes planktons and doesn’t attack humans. It’s massive, gaping mouth may yield it a strange look, but it is filled with tiny teeth that are harmless on large prey. They may scare off people because they stay close to the surface of water, seeming basking in the sun, but poor babies don’t intend any harm!
Right off the bat, these things look alien. They aren’t actually pigs, they’re sea cucumbers, but the pink tinge on their translucent bodies gives them a distant resemblance to their land-based namesake. They reside very, VERY deep in the sea, and eat basically the mud they find on the sea-floor- really, it doesn’t get any less menacing. Something adorable you might like to know is that sea pigs, despite not exactly having Herculean abilities, valiantly protect baby king crabs by allowing them to cling to their skin. It’s a shame we’d probably never see one, because these squishy, lazy looking creatures are pretty endearing in their own way.
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