How frightening, unappealing, ugly and/or generally disagreeable does an animal need to be before it’s dubbed a “devil”? The answer is “plenty” as there aren’t that many devils among the world’s cornucopia of ornery critters. These 7 amazing animal devils aren’t actually evil, of course, they just look that way… and appearing, smelling and acting devilish are the keys to their success as species.
The Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is as devilish as they come: its bite is immensely powerful, it emanates a foul and pungent odor when irritated (which is most of the time) and its typical vocalizations are a range of ear-piercing shrieks. Roughly the size of a small dog, the Tasmanian Devil is the world’s largest marsupial carnivore and will eat every part of nearly any animal, dead or alive, that it catches or finds.
Tasmanian Devils are threatened by a virulent form of infectious cancer that threatens to drive the species to extinction by mid-century. Devil Facial Tumour Disease, or DFTD, has wiped out up to 90 percent of the wild population in some areas of Tasmania. The disease is spread by facial biting, which is something Tasmanian Devils do when greeting, fighting and courting.
Giant Devil Catfish
The Giant Devil Catfish (Bagarius yarrelli) or “Goonch” is a very large catfish found in the larger rivers of Southeast Asia. growing up to 2 meters (6.6 ft) in length, the fish has been implicated in a number of fatal attacks on humans and water buffalo. The so-called Kali River Goonch Attacks occurred between 1998 and 2007 on the banks of the Kali river in northern India and southern Nepal.
(image via: Maxim)
The Giant Devil Catfish was featured on a television episode of River Monsters after actor/angler Jeremy Wade was asked to try and capture the supposed man-eating Goonch. Although Wade and his assistants were able to land several man-sized fish, he suspects larger specimens may yet lurk in the depths of the Kali river.
Giant Devil’s Flower Mantis
The Giant Devil’s Flower Mantis (Idolomantis diabolica) is a macro-photographer’s favorite due to its colorful body and “martial arts” style threat display. Only the male of the species exhibits these colors as the female is merely beige.
(image via: Penny Arcade)
So, is the Giant Devil’s Flower Mantis actually an enormous mantis or is it merely an average-sized mantis that happens to belong to a giant devil? Hmm, this is one case where neither evil is the lesser. In any case, the Giant Devil’s Flower Mantis is a popular though challenging pet that shows off its beauty in any stage of its lifespan.
Giant Devil Ray
The Giant Devil Ray or Devil Fish (Mobula mobular) is a spiny-tailed ray that can grow to an astonishing size: up 5.2 meters (17 ft) in length! The creature is harmless to humans as it eats only small organisms that are directed into the creatures mouth via the two “horns” on its head. It’s estimated only about 400 of these majestic endangered sea creatures remain, mainly in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea though they’ve been sighted elsewhere.
(image via: Modern Mechanix Blog)
Nope, it’s not a photoshop: on August 26th, 1933, in the Atlantic Ocean off Brielle, New Jersey, a truly enormous Giant Devil Ray was dragged to shore after it became entangled in the anchor rope of a fishing vessel. It’s estimated the creature weighed around 5,000 pounds.