Top of the list is the wonderful tiger (Panthera tigris). Biggest of the big cats, the tiger is three-and-a-half metres and 300 kilos of stripy bad luck, if you bump into one in the jungle. Sadly chances of that happening are increasingly slim, what with the Chinese using their testicles as a cure for baldness. And you may think you’re pretty safe shuffling around Leamington Spa on a Tuesday afternoon, but with all the big cat sightings in the British press these days you might not be as far from the jaws of death as you think.
Something to think about while you’re walking the dog through the woods and feel a pair of eyes watching you, a tiger in India known as the ‘Champawat man-eater’ killed 436 people before finally being shot in 1907. That’s a record.
No, alligator isn’t next on the list, what we’re interested in is what’s in its mouth. A freshwater electric eel can discharge up to 650 volts, easily enough to kill a man, or a ‘gator. Most interesting is the fact that it isn’t even an eel at all, just a long skinny fish.
The scorpion, quite clearly much scarier and nastier than your spider. Surprisingly very few scorpions are considered deadly, and the rule of thumb is that the bigger the scorpion’s frightening pincers, the less powerful its venomous sting will be. If you spot a small yellow scorpion with modest pincers, you could well be looking at what is affectionately called the ‘deathstalker’. You see, scorpions also have really cool heavy-metal names. The deathstalker is thankfully only native to the Middle East but thanks again to an increase in exotic pet trade, they can be found in many family homes.
Stingray, stingray! na-na-nana-nana!
Not just a puppet show, the stingray is now widely known for being the only deadly creature on the planet deadly enough to kill Australian mentalist Steve Irwin. The intrepid Irwin wrestled with crocodiles and caught some of the world’s most venomous snakes with his bare hands, but it was the seemingly innocuous stingray that saw him off in the end.
Although stingray’s are said to be non-aggressive, accidents can and do happen. Apparently in Irwin’s case the stingray saw him swimming up behind him and accidentally skewered him in the chest.
Aha, the infamous piranha. This video snippet-clip gives a good example of the stereotypical piranha attack, with the foaming water as the feeding frenzy thrash about stripping the carcass to bone in minutes. At end of the footage you hear the narrator say “the feast is finished, and the piranhas go in search of their next meal…” Kelly Brook.
No self-respecting super villain’s lair is complete without the piranha pool.