Skip to Content

17 Cruel Animals Around the World

How much do you know about animal cruelty? Do you know that some animals are quite cruel toward others? Well, cruel animals are all over. Today we look at some of the cruelest animals in the world and what makes them so cruel.  

Cruelty is not a new term in the human world. And, it’s also not new in the jungle. Just like humans, who are generally part of the animal world, some other animals can also be quite cruel.

Does this sound like something you’ve seen? Or is it surprising to your ears? Well, animal cruelty is something that many animal species have to deal with every day.

I know most people love watching animal channels like discovery world or animal planet. And, we’ve seen how survival for the fittest is the theory of the jungle.

But, don’t think I will be telling you only about hunting wild animals for food or capturing them for experiments. No. Today we will go deeper.

In this piece, we will be talking more about animal cruelty by some animal species towards other species.

We will explore the animal world to unearth those cruel animals, some of which many people may not even know are cruel.

But first;

What are Cruel Animals?

When we talk of cruel animals, what measures do we use to gauge the animals? What actions qualify an animal to be considered cruel?

Well, there is a lot that we don’t know about animal cruelty, especially in the jungle. In the animal kingdom, some species are known to love terrorizing others.

For instance, while others hunt for food and survival, others do it for fun. Some don’t even feed on their victims.

  • So, what exactly constitutes a cruel animal?
  • Is it an animal that’s known to kill for no reason?
  • One that tortures its prey before killing them?

Or is it simply an animal whose actions lead to the suffering of others, even if death isn’t involved?

All the above statements are true. And there are so many such animals, both domestic and wild.

Some of the most common ones include:

1. Crocodiles

Crocodile Going to the Lake

Crocodiles may be the least surprising of all the animals on this list. These massive reptiles are well-known for their viciousness and for the fact that they’ll go after anything that crosses their path.

In fact, they are known to sometimes kill people and other animals or even eat them alive! They might not enjoy torturing their prey before killing it, but their killing is brutal. In essence, when you think about the cruelest animals, crocodiles will not miss the list.

See Related: Best Erosion Control Products

2. Bulls

bull rider

Bulls are not those farm animals you joke around with, especially if they don’t know you. They are infamous for their cruelty, and they won’t hide it. These animals are aggressive by nature and never hesitate to attack.

They have been known to kill people and even other animals. Generally, they often target smaller creatures and will trample them or gore them with their horns.

Their aggressive nature greatly manifests if they are reared in isolation, away from the rest of the herd.

3. Bears

Spectacled Bear in Winter

Bears are also quite aggressive and cruel. If you happen to get lost in areas where these animals live, your only prayer should be not to encounter one of them—especially one with young ones.

These massive animals are apex predators and won’t hesitate to attack. There have been numerous reports of bear attacks on humans, some of which have been fatal.

While most animals won’t attack unprovoked, a bear will start charging on you before you even see it.

4. Humans

cruel animals

I know some might not consider humans as being cruel. However, the truth is, we are among those cruel animals, if not the cruelest. Does the word “Holocaust” mean anything to you?

Whether dealing with fellow humans or other animals, human actions have proven selfish and cruel. For instance, people will kill even their friends to get what they want.

Imagine all the inhuman actions happening around the globe; genocides, terrorism, wars, etc. Now, that is more cruelty than most other animals show.

Also, when dealing with animals, humans are not any different. In fact, animal cruelty is defined based on human actions towards these animals.

From hunting for leisure to using animals in laboratories or confining them to zoos, humans have shown the quite unfair treatment to animals for a long time.

And for these reasons and more, it’s not a mistake when humans appear top on our cruel animals’ list. They are the cruelest among the primates.

See Related: Do Bulletproof Animals Exist?

5. Black Mamba

black mamba

We all know that a snake is a dangerous animal. No doubt about it! However, the black mamba outranks most other snakes.

It is not only venomous but also fast and aggressive when threatened. These snakes are also quite nervous, which makes them strike with the slightest sign of threat. Therefore, these are not the best reptiles to keep as pets or play with.

A black mamba has around three venom drops on each fang at birth. However, the adult ones will have even up to 20 drops per fang. Their venom is quite lethal, with only two drops being enough to kill a human.

The snake will kill its prey by injecting the poison into its victim’s bloodstream. And, it’s among the fiercest animals in the jungle.

6. Lion

African Lion and Cub

Lions are known as the kings of the jungle. This title befits them perfectly, considering their braveness, sheer strength, and aggressiveness.

Lions hunt in groups, with the females taking the most prominent role. And, these ferocious animals can take down almost any animal in the wilderness. They kill big animals like buffalos, giraffes, and even young elephants.

Generally, lions don’t have natural enemies, although their cabs are vulnerable to hyena attacks. Male lions will also kill other males’ cubs to establish their bloodline. They are pretty territorial and will kill any intruder who threatens their territory.

Lions will also kill other predators. For instance, there are many cases where they attack cheaters, leopards, and hyenas. And, humans are also not spared.

7. Great White Sharks

Great White Shark

If you think of aggression, great white sharks are a perfect definition. These animals are not only the largest predatory fish globally, but they are also pretty ferocious.

For the longest time, sharks have been known to attack humans even without being provoked. And, of all these attacks, great white shark attacks account for around a third.

Since not many animals attack humans unprovoked, this qualifies great white sharks to be among the world’s cruel animals. Sharks have exceptional prey detection capabilities, and with their over 300 sharp teeth, their bite is almost fatal every time.

8. Komodo Dragons

komodo dragons; cruel animals

If you’ve heard of these large reptiles, you certainly know they are not something to joke with. For starters, they are great hunters that can take down large prey, such as water buffalos. Secondly, they are massive, scary, ferocious, and venomous.

Komodo dragons are mostly found in south Indonesia and are known as the largest lizards in the world. These reptiles usually kill their prey by injecting venom through their bites. They will then follow the animal until it dies from the poison or is too weak to move.

Their venom lowers the animal’s blood pressure while increasing blood loss from the bite. When the animal falls, komodo mostly swallows the prey as a whole, with digestion taking several days.

9. Pitbulls

pitbull on a beach

While dogs are usually known as man’s best friends, some of them can be quite aggressive. Some are untamable and often display aggression towards people, especially those they don’t recognize.

Pit bulls fall under this category. These dogs are strong, fierce, and are always ready to attack humans, as well as other dogs and animals. For this reason, pit bulls perfectly fit in our cruel animals’ list.

There have been several cases of these dogs attacking humans, some being fatal. According to DogsBite.org, pit bulls lead in all dog bites incidents in the US between 2013 and 2021. Another report shows that between 2009 and 2018, in US and Canada, pit bulls maimed or killed around 3569 people.

In some instances, pit bulls have been reported to attack their owners. Now, this is cruel.

See related: Do Bulletproof Animals Exist? Here’s What You Need to Know

10. Hyenas

A Spotted Hyena

These scavengers wouldn’t miss our list of cruel animals for the world. With their hideous laugh, they just seem to enjoy inflicting pain on others. For instance, not only do they scavenge off of the kills of other predators, but they are also infamous for eating still-living animals.

Unlike other predators like lions, hyenas do not kill their prey before eating. They eat the animal while still alive. This is one of the cruelest acts in the animal world.

The pain that these animals inflict on their prey is highly unimaginable. Additionally, hyenas engage in ferocious fights among themselves, especially to establish ranks within the pack. And to top it up, they don’t spare even the young ones, especially lion and cheater cubs.

11. Otters

otter

Otters are also cruel animals. They can attack and kill other animals for no reason. In one incident, an otter killed a dog by biting its neck and breaking its spine.

Otters are also known to rape and kill baby seals and eat them. In addition, mating fights are pretty common with otters. These are enough reasons to classify otters as aggressive and cruel animals.

12. Dolphins

Two Dolphins

Dolphins are some of the most intelligent animals on Earth. They are also very social creatures, living in pods of up to 12 dolphins.

But despite their intelligence and social nature, dolphins also display some aggressive nature. Like several other animals, male dolphins are infamous for killing their young ones. While they do this to make female dolphins want to mate again, the act is quite cruel.

Since dolphins have echolocation capabilities, they use them to pinpoint the vital organs of infants and attack those specific spots. They will not stop attacking the infant until it dies.

In addition, some dolphins are territorial and may attack even humans when they feel threatened.

See Related: 21 Five-Letter Animals to Know

13. Hornets

yellow and black hornet

Studies show that hornets are extremely territorial and fearlessly protect their nests. If someone or something gets too close, they will sting the intruder relentlessly.

Hornets are usually irritated by vibrations in the air, so they’re often disturbed by people walking or biking nearby. This can result in dozens of stings, which can be incredibly painful and dangerous.

In some cases, hornet stings can be fatal. However, the attack will be fatal based on how many stings the victim receives, age, and health. Allergies to the venom will also contribute to the severity of the attack. 

It’s estimated that there are around 30-50 deaths from hornets attacks every year in Japan alone. Hornets aren’t just a threat to human victims – they also kill animals. In fact, they’re responsible for the decline of many bee populations around the world.

14. Elephants

Asian Elephant

These are some of the most beloved animals on the planet. However, they are also one of the cruelest. You heard that right!

Elephants are known to attack other animals for no reason. Sometimes they’ll even crush them to death with their own weight. Even in zoos, elephants have shown cruelty by attacking humans and other animals.

However, this aggressive behavior is often due to captivity. When elephants are kept in zoos or circuses, they’re often chained up and confined to small spaces. This can lead to a lot of stress and frustration, which can cause them to lash out.

We should do everything we can to protect elephants from this cruelty. Supporting sanctuaries that provide them with natural habitat and plenty of space to roam free is an excellent option.

15. Wild dogs

wild dog

When it comes to hunting, wild dogs are excellent hunters. They hunt in packs and are relentless in their pursuit of prey.

Unfortunately, they often target weaker animals, such as young calves or sick animals. This can leave entire herds of animals at risk.

Like hyenas, wild dogs don’t kill their prey before eating it. They eat it while still alive, meaning that the prey often suffers for a long time before finally dying. Now, all this amounts to animal cruelty.

Therefore, in determining what animals are cruel to other animals, wild dogs must appear on the list. Their hunting behavior is highly ruthless.

16. Hippos

Small Hippos

Hippos look cute and harmless, especially when undisturbed. However, these cute beasts are some of the most dangerous animals in Africa.

They’re responsible for more human deaths than any other mammal on the continent. Between 500 and 3,000 deaths occur yearly from hippo attacks.

These seemingly tender beasts are known to attack boats and even cars. Also, they are quite aggressive towards other animals, and their attacks are mostly fatal. Hippos and human conflict is nothing new and continue to increase.

But, what many people don’t know is that hippos are also victims of cruelty. In some parts of Africa, hippo meat is considered a delicacy. And for this reason, these animals are often hunted and killed for their meat.

See Related: Best Compost Bags for the Environment

17. Wolves

Gray Wolf

Generally, wolves don’t pose any danger to humans while in the wild. However, there have been several reports of wolf attacks, especially when the wolf feels like its cubs are in danger. In some rare cases, wolves have even killed humans.

When it comes to killing prey, wolves are one of the most brutal animals out there. They often go for the kill shot, which results in a slow and painful death for their prey. Wolves will also scavenge dead animals, sometimes eating them before they die – mostly big prey.

Therefore, although they look pretty charming and harmless, wolves are quite cruel animals. They are among the most dangerous animals in the wild.

Animal Cruelty

What exactly is animal cruelty? And, how does animal cruelty exist? Well, as I said earlier, animal cruelty is mostly based on how humans treat animals.

It is usually when someone intentionally causes harm or suffering to an animal. And the suffering can be physical, mental, or emotional. Sometimes people don’t even realize they’re being cruel to animals.

For example, leaving a dog chained up in the backyard all day with no food or water. That can be considered animal cruelty.

Typically, there are thousands of ways that people can be cruel to animals. Some common examples include:

  • Hitting, kicking, or otherwise abusing animals
  • Keeping them in tiny cages or cramped spaces
  • Not giving them enough food or water
  • Not giving them proper medical care
  • Leaving them alone for long periods
  • Abandoning them
  • Killing them for sport or pleasure
  • Using them as lab rats

While many people take some of these actions lightly, it’s good to note that animals also have feelings. Like humans, they will feel pain, hunger, stress, and even suffer emotionally. Therefore, it’s prudent to evaluate your actions towards animals to determine if you treat them right.

The good thing is that various animal protection laws have been enacted to protect animals against cruelty. For example, The Animal Welfare Act, enacted in 1966, and The Endangered Species Act of 1973 have played a significant role in curbing animal cruelty.

These laws have helped create more humane societies where animal mistreatment is considered illegal. Subsequently, this has reduced animal cruelty cases significantly, leading to a more humane society.

Related Resources