Scary animals: 20 creepy creatures from your worst nightmares

Scary animals: 20 creepy creatures from your worst nightmares

The world is full of animals of different species, many of which are sweet and cuddly, while others are scary and dangerous. Scary animals are truly the stuff of nightmares, but unlike the creatures from your bad dreams, these are 100% real.

Scary animals
Photo: @fishpicturesdaily, @Anabelle James, @INature, @Unusual Animals @Komodo Ejder, on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

People may have adverse reactions to scary creatures based on myths and misinformation. However, you'll be surprised that some of these terrifying animals are shockingly friendly to human beings or other members of their own species. That said, a lot of them live up to their horrifying exterior by being extremely dangerous.

20 extremely scary animals in the world

Here are the 20 scariest animals that separate themselves from other species and sneak their way into your nightmares.

1. Nile Crocodile

Scary animals
Nile crocodile in the Bioparc. Valencia (Spain). Photo: Massimo Insabato
Source: Getty Images

The Nile crocodile is a massive reptile and probably the most feared predator in Africa. They are known to have the most substantial bite in the animal kingdom. An adult can be as long as 20 ft (6 m). They live in rivers, freshwater marshes and mangrove swamps throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile Basin and Madagascar.

2. Arthropleura

Chilling animals
Photo: @Unthinkable Photos, @Renato Pantini on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Arthropleura is quite similar to a millipede in shape, but its size makes it a terrifying animal. The name of this giant creature means "jointed ribs" in Greek, as it contains many jointed segments and rigid plates covering the invertebrate's narrow body. It is believed to have lived on earth about 345 to 280 million years ago in North America and Europe around the equator.

3. Aye-aye

Creepy animals
London Zoo's latest arrival is Tany, a three-year-old Aye-Aye. Tany, a primitive primate from Madagascar. Photo: Matthew Fearn
Source: Getty Images

Aye-aye is a rare squirrel-like primate who lives in eastern Madagascar's rainforests. They are known for their unique hand structure, especially the middle finger, which is long and slender to help extract insect larvae from the trees and also dig the pulp out of fruit. They have short faces, large eyes, and ever-growing incisors like rodents. They mainly feed on insects and fruit.

4. Goblin Shark

Scary animals
Photo: @jellybean10782, @maliknightofficial on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Goblin sharks are among the scariest creatures found in the ocean at depths of more than 2000 ft (600 m). They are popularly known for their jaws which can be extended from their mouths to act as a hunting mechanism. These creatures are normally 10-13 ft (3-4 m) long and have shovel-like snouts, flabby bodies, and a tail with weakly developed lower lobes.

5. Blobfish

Creepiest animals
Photo: @Anabelle James, @Laira Maganuco on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Blobfish is classified as one of the ugliest animals in the world. It is a member of the Psychrolutidae family, and sometimes it is referred to as fathead or sculpin. It is found in the deep sea, between 2000-4000 ft (600-1200 m). Its body is squishy, with soft bones and very little muscle. It has a slightly bulbous head, black eyes and feathery pectoral fins.

When taken outside the water, blobfish decompresses, making it expand, and its skin relaxes, distorting its features and giving it that characteristic big nose. In water, it looks like regular fish. It is found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

6. Shoebill Stork

Creepiest animals
A male shoebill 'Sasa' is seen at the Noichi Zoological Park in Konan, Kochi, Japan. Photo: The Asahi Shimbun
Source: Getty Images

Shoebills are among the many creepy creatures in the world. They are large-bodied, sturdy birds with a combination of blue-grey, dark grey, and slate-coloured feathers that make up most of their body. They have long spindly legs that allow them to stand in the shallows of swamps and on aquatic vegetation while hunting for food.

They are found in East Africa's freshwater, swamps and marshes, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Botswana, Uganda, Sudan, Zambia and Tanzania. In its native Tanzania, shoebill is seen as a bad omen.

7. Sarcastic Fringehead

Creepiest animals
Photo: @fishpicturesdaily on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Sarcastic fringehead is known to be one of the ocean's strangest creatures. One outstanding personality trait they have is that they are aggressively territorial. They open and close their huge mouth wide a few times to intimidate their opponent before using their sharp, needle-like teeth to attack their targets.

They live in various kinds of shelters, such as empty clams or snail shells, holes and crevices in rocks, or even in empty cans and bottles that have made their way into the ocean. They are found in the Pacific waters, off the coast of North America from San Francisco, USA, to Baja California, in Mexico.

8. Giant Huntsman Spider

giant spider
Photo: @My1027FM, @dublinsq102 on Facebook
Source: UGC

Giant huntsman spider is known to be the world's largest spider by leg span. They are named for the way they catch their prey. Unlike many spider species that build webs to catch their meals, giant huntsman spider hunt down theirs. They are huge, fast arachnids that live in warm climates throughout the globe.

They prefer to live at cave entrances, as their vision seems more suited to slightly dark surroundings. They can be found in nearly every mild temperature to the tropical region on Earth, including much of Australia, Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Mediterranean.

9. Texas Horned Lizard

Scary looking animals
Photo: @Hector D. Astorga Photography, @Stories from Texas, @Suzanne Lugerner on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Texas horned lizard is a flat-bodied and ferocious-looking lizard. The head has several horns, all of which are protruding, with two central head spines being much longer than any of the others. A light line can be seen extending from its head down the middle of its back. They are found in the Southern Great Plains and the Chihuahuan Desert from Colorado and Kansas into Northern Mexico.

10. Bobbit Worm

Terrifying animal
Photo: @Ahmad Saleh Muhammad, @Cesar Dacol Jr. on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

A bobbit worm is a worm that will cause you nightmares if you happen to see it, but only if you happen to be a fish. It is found in warmer oceans around the world. It stays hidden under tropical sands with its five antennae poking up, waiting for prey. Their jaws are more expansive than their body. It is found in deep sea beds in warm tropical climates, including Frorida's Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico waters.

11. Coconut Crab

Chilling animals
Photo: @Mya K Power, @Andhy Blake on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Coconut crabs, also known as robber crabs, have powerful pincers, some of the most dangerous weapons in the animal kingdom. They reach up to 3 ft (1 m) across and 1.5 ft (45 cm) long in size. However, these creatures are not harmful to human beings. Their primary source of food is coconut, as the name suggests. They also feed on both plants and animals, just like omnivorous creatures. They live on islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

12. Ghost Shark

Scariest animals
Photo: @thesharktrust, @helenatavaresantunes on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Chimaeras, commonly known as ghost sharks, are among the oldest fish in the ocean. While not actually sharks, chimaeras resemble them in some ways, including internal fertilization of females and electroreception to find prey. However, they are distinguished by several differences, such as having one gill on either side of the body.

Despite their creepy visage, they are not a threat to humans, as they live at the depths of 8,500 ft (2,600 m). They are native to the southwestern Pacific, mainly around Australia and New Zealand.

13. Komodo Dragon

Creepist animals
Photo: @Naturetrek Wildlife Holidays, @Komodo Dragon Gallery, @Harendra Srivastava on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Komodo dragons are the biggest and weightiest lizards on earth. They are powerful-looking reptiles with broad, flat heads, rounded snouts, bowed legs and huge, muscular tails. They have an awkward, back-and-fourth walk, and their yellow tongues flick in and out constantly.

These creatures are dangerous as they have shark-like teeth and venom that can kill a person within hours of a bite, although the attacks are still rare. They are found on five Indonesian islands and in nowhere else. Komodo Island is the main island with the world's largest number of Komodo dragons.

14. Giant Desert Centipede

Horrifying animals
Photo: @Bill Love, @Cameron Hodges, @Bruce Rutkoski on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

These creatures, also known as Scolopendra heros, are the enormous centipedes in North America. They do not live only in deserts, as the name suggests; they can live in the tropics and at the seashore. They have been located in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico and Northern Mexico. Colour variations are common in these creatures.

15. Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko

creepiest animals
Photo: @Reptileswild - Ryan Wolleson, @INature, @Falconer Predator Yautja on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

This creature is among the most horrifying animals due to its appearance, and, in part, its name. It has eyelash-like projections above the eyes, and its tail is flattened and leaf-like. Additionally, it has long spines on the head, body and trunk. It occurs in various colours, including orange, purple, yellow and tan hues. It can only be found on the island of Madagascar.

16. Star-nosed Mole

Scariest looking animals
Photo: @Unusual Animals, @Nature on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

The star-nosed mole is one of the most scary looking animals in the world. It is one of two animals in the world known to smell underwater by blоwing air bubbles and suсkіng them back into its nose. They are found in eastern North America, from Quebec and Newfoundland, and west to North Dakota. They are also found throughout the Appalachian mountains.

17. Gila Monster

Scary animals
Photo: @Coyote Peterson on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Gila monsters are heavy-bodied lizards covered with bead-like scales, known as osteoderms, that are black and yellow or pink, covering all but their belly. They are dangerous to humans as they are known for spitting venom, leaping several feet in the air to attack, and also the ability to sting with their tongue. These creatures can be found in the Southwestern United States and the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora.

18. Mata Mata Turtle

Scariest animals
Photo: @Beebombs Ireland, @Turtoise.IDN on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Mata mata turtles are large freshwater turtles species found in South America, mainly in the Amazon and Orinoco basins. They have a triangular, flattened head with many tubercles, flaps of skin, and a horn on their long and tubular snout. These turtles live in slow-moving, blackwater streams, stagnant pools, rivers, marshes, and swamps. They are strictly aquatic creatures, but they prefer standing in shallow water where their snout can reach the surface to breathe.

19. Tailless Whip Scorpions

Creepiest animals
Photo: @Sonia Dreissig, @Greivin Cp, @Anipro pets and pet products on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Tailless whip scorpions are also known as whip or cave spiders, as large groups are often formed in close areas like caves. They derived their name because of their whip-like front legs. These whip legs are primarily 2.5 times longer than the other legs, and they use them as sensory organs to navigate in the dark.

While these creatures may look intimidating, they are not dangerous or poisonous. They can grab you if they feel threatened, but it will only result in a small puncture wound. They are found in the tropical parts of North and South America, Asia and Africa.

20. Hagfish

Scary looking animals
Photo: @Topaz Echols, @UnderWater World, @Ocean Defenders Alliance, @Nagaraj Yelmagandla on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Hagfish are popularly viewed among the most chilling animals in the ocean, if not on earth. The eel-shaped creatures use four pairs of thin sensory tentacles surrounding their mouths to find prey. Hagfish have an estimated 76 species and live in cold waters around the world, from shallow to as deep as 55 feet or 1700 meters.

They are jawless and boneless and have a skull made of cartilage skull but no vertebrae. Hagfish, like pacific hagfish, are found in the water off the coasts of the north Pacific.

What is the scariest animal in the world?

It is hard to determine the scariest animal in the world as there are various frightening animals. However, a Nile crocodile can be considered the scariest animal on earth.

A variety of factors can trigger nightmares, one of them being terrifying creatures. The above scary animals can make you wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night. Additionally, having a nightmare due to scary animals may make you fear falling asleep again.

READ ALSO: Bird symbolism: 10 common birds and their spiritual meaning recently published an article about bird symbolism. Birds represent freedom, grace, love, strength, longevity, happiness, and more. The bird's ability to fly is often connected with the limitless heights of imagination and possibility.

Bird symbolism exists globally as part of different cultures, religions and traditions. Birds have different spiritual meanings associated with them. In many cultures, birds are seen as messengers between humans and the gods, and many have spiritual significance.


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