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The 15 Fiercest Animals on the Planet (Pictures)

Most people are interested in learning which are the fiercest animals in the world since it’s not uncommon to find animals that are more aggressive than others. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that not all fierce animals are carnivores or kill other animals regularly, but they do have the confidence and capability to harm others to protect their territories.

Let’s learn about some of them in this article.

15 Fiercest animals

1. Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus Herbert Bieser from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Hippopotamus amphibius

Hippopotamus are large semi-aquatic mammals found in Sub-Saharan Africa. They’re territorial and aggressive, and they can be dangerous to humans.

These creatures are herbivores who eat mostly grasses and aquatic plants, but they also consume fruits and leaves. Despite the fact that these mammals are herbivores, hippopotamuses shouldn’t be underestimated. These species can crush a crocodile with their powerful jaws in a single bite.

They’re not afraid to use this power against anyone who poses a threat to them, especially humans. Hippos defend their territory against other animals and can even run up to 30 mph.

2. Nile crocodile

Nile crocodile
Nile crocodile

Scientific Name: Crocodylus niloticus

Nile crocodiles are large reptiles that can reach 14 feet in length, with the largest reaching 21 feet 2 inches. These crocodiles can be found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and the Nile River basin, where they live in lakes, rivers, and swamps.

They’re opportunistic predators that hunt for fish, birds, amphibians, insects, and anything else they come across. These creatures are also extremely aggressive, attacking anything that moves near them, including humans.

3. Least Weasel

Least weasel
Least weasel | image by Joachim Dobler via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Mustela nivalis

The least weasel, also known as the little weasel or common weasel, is a small mammal that lives in North America. They have also been introduced in Malta and New Zealand. This carnivore primarily consumes rodents, insects, and birds.

These weasels typically hunt alone and are fierce predators who will fight off other animals in their territories by biting or making various vocalizations. Their long and slender bodies also enable them to hunt prey in inaccessible habitats such as underground burrows.

4. Fire ant

Red Imported Fire Ants
Red Imported Fire Ants | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Solenopsis invicta

Fire ants are an ant species that originated in South America but are now found all over the world. They live in small dirt mounds, and their diet consists of insects, earthworms, ticks, and spiders.

These ants are fierce in nature because they constantly compete for food with other animals. This can lead to them attacking anything close to their nest, using their stings as a defense against predators and humans.

5. Northern Goshawk

Northern goshawk
Northern goshawk

Scientific Name: Accipiter gentilis

The Northern Goshawk is a large, powerful bird of prey that you can find in many parts of North America. They’re most frequently seen in coniferous forests and other wooded areas, where they hunt small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Insects and carrion (dead animals) are also part of their diet.

This large bird can grow to be 2 feet tall and is one of the fiercest birds. In fact, these birds are apex predators in their natural environments. They can fly at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and aren’t afraid to kill any threat within their reach, particularly when protecting their young.

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6. Hyena

Spotted hyena
Spotted hyena

Scientific Name: Crocuta crocuta

Hyenas are carnivores that can be found in Africa and Asia. They have dog-like bodies, but they’re more closely related to felines. These animals are 4 to 5 feet long, weigh between 55 and 65 kg, and live in savanna grasslands, forests, and subdeserts.

Hyenas are also fierce animals that’ll eat anything they can get their hands on and are regarded as one of the most powerful mammals. They hunt in packs, similar to wolves, and primarily scavenge on dead animals (including humans), though they’ll also hunt wildebeests or antelopes. Their teeth are specifically designed for ripping flesh from bones, and they’re not afraid to attack anything, particularly when food is scarce.

7. Great White Shark

Great white shark underwater
Great white shark underwater

Scientific Name: Carcharodon carcharias

A great white shark is a large, predatory fish that you can find in all the world’s oceans. Although they typically prey on seals and other smaller mammals, it has been known to attack humans. They’re also regarded as top predators in their ecosystem.

These sharks can grow to be up to 16 feet long and weigh up to 1,100 kilograms. Their bodies are torpedo-like, with long snouts and large eyes above their mouth.

Because of their size and aggressive nature, great white sharks are considered one of the fiercest animals in the ocean. In fact, great whites have been more responsible for human attacks than any other shark species.

8. Sun bears

Sun bear in tree trunk
Sun bear in tree trunk

Scientific Name: Helarctos malayanus

Sun bears, also known as Malayan sun bears or honey bears, are among the smallest bear species. They’re only 5 feet long and can weigh up to 150 pounds. These bears are primarily nocturnal creatures found in Southeast Asia’s tropical forests. Their primary food sources are insects, fruits, small birds, and rodents.

Because of their territorial nature, sun bears are regarded as one of the most dangerous bear species. Even though sun bears are small, they’ll attack predators in order to protect their young.

9. Lions

Lion sits on the ground
Lion sits on the ground

Scientific Name: Panthera leo

Af lion is a large cat native to Arica, India, and Asia. They’re extremely aggressive, especially when defending their territory, food, or young. These mammals hunt at night and have sharp claws on their paws and large teeth that help in catching prey.

Lions can hunt small prey such as gazelles alone; however, larger animals such as elephants require teamwork between lions to bring them down due to their large size and strength. To mate with a female lion, a male lion must demonstrate dominance over other males in his group by fighting other males.

10. Common Shrew

Eurasian shrew
Eurasian shrew | image by WWalas via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Sorex araneus

A Common Shrew is a mammal found in various habitats, including hedgerows, scrubland, grassland, and deciduous woodland. They’re found in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe.

Despite their small size, these small mammals are known for their fierce and territorial nature, attacking anything that comes near them, including humans, if they feel threatened or cornered.  Similar to bats, whales, and dolphins, these tiny animals are also well known for using echolocation.

11. Black Mamba

Black mamba hissing
Black mamba hissing | Image by Michael Kleinsasser from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Dendroaspis polylepis

Black Mambas are extremely dangerous snakes found in South Africa. They’re particularly fierce and will attack anything that comes near them. These venomous snakes eat small mammals, birds, and reptiles, but they’re also known to eat insects.

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This snake is one of the fastest in the world, capable of reaching speeds of up to 23km/h on land. The venom that these snakes inject into their victims causes paralysis and death due to cardiac arrest within six hours of being bitten by one of these animals.

12. Bull sharks

Bull shark
Bull shark | image by Albert Kok~enwiki via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Carcharhinus leucas

Bull sharks are a type of shark that can be found all over the world, from tropical to subtropical coastal waters. They’re territorial, fierce predators that prey on other fish, birds, turtles, and small mammals.

One of the reasons they’re so dangerous to people is that they can frequently come into contact with them because they can swim up rivers and into freshwater lakes. However, the most common reason for an attack is when a person gets too close to a bull shark’s young or home territory.

13. Cape buffalos

Cape buffalo
Cape buffalo

Scientific Name: Syncerus caffer caffer

The Cape buffalo is a large and fearsome African bovine that has been known to attack humans and kill over 200 people each year. These buffalo are regarded as one of Africa’s most aggressive species.

They can be found in open grasslands, woodlands, and forests throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Cape buffalo are herbivores that eat grasses and are highly territorial animals that are known for charging at anything that comes close enough to hurt them.

14. Barracuda

Barracuda underwater
Barracuda underwater

Scientific Name: Sphyraena barracuda

Barracudas are a type of saltwater fish that can be found in tropical waters, usually from Massachusetts to Brazil. They’re known for their fierce behavior and have large, sharp teeth.

These marine species are frequently found near coral reefs because they prefer to spend the day hiding crevasses and hunting at night. As opportunistic predators, being fearsome is part of their nature. They eat a wide range of small to large fish and can easily kill them with their razor-sharp teeth.

15. Tigers

A tiger roaring | Image by Pfüderi from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Panthera tigris

Tigers are the largest of all cats, standing up to 4 feet tall and weighing up to 310 kilograms. They’re found in Asia and have stripes that help them blend in with their surroundings.

These animals are carnivorous, and their diet consists primarily of large-bodied animals such as moose, wild pigs, domestic cattle, goats, and horses. This is a large portion of their diet because they can’t digest plants very well.

As a result, tigers are extremely aggressive and will attack any moving being in their vicinity. Humans are only attacked when they have no other food source and feel threatened or cornered on their territory by humans.

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About Louise Robles

Louise writes about a wide variety of topics including wildlife, animals, and nature. She's developed a growing interest in animal biology and categorization due to her fascination with how they interact with one another and with their surroundings.