14 Animals We’re Often Afraid of That Aren’t Actually All That Dangerous

The animal kingdom is full of species that look extremely frightening but are actually quite harmless. Some of these creatures are scary because of their size, while others creep us out thanks to their sharp teeth or fangs. But the truth is these animals have more to fear of humans than humans have to fear of them.

Don’t get carried away by appearances. Bright Side wants to show you 14 dangerous-looking animals that are completely harmless.

1. Basking shark

Seeing the open mouth of this shark as it approaches may seem like something out of a nightmare, but there’s nothing to worry about. Unlike other carnivorous shark species, basking sharks eat plankton, small fish, and invertebrates. Their enormous size makes them the second-largest living fish on the planet, and they can measure more than 12 meters and weigh more than 5 tons!

2. Giant African millipede

Giant African millipedes can grow up to 30 centimeters long, live for 5 to 7 years, and have 300 to 400 legs. This strange creature lives in forests and feeds on organic matter from decaying trees, logs, or plants. Unlike centipedes, which have fangs and are poisonous, millipedes do not bite, and their secretions to defend themselves from predators are mostly harmless to humans.

3. Milksnake

The milksnake is considered dangerous because it resembles one of nature’s most venomous snakes, the coral snake. Both animals have a pattern of red, yellow, and black stripes, but one is completely harmless to humans, while the other is actually dangerous.

4. Sea pig

The sea pig (Scotoplanes) is an extremely strange-looking underwater animal. These small creatures use a form of locomotion with tube-like legs to move around. Many people find sea pigs frightening because of their unnatural appearance, but these creatures only feed by extracting organic particles.

5. Manta ray

This is the largest stingray (Mobula birostris) in the world and can measure up to 7 meters across. Despite their large size and bizarre appearance, divers have nothing to fear. These animals eat small prey, like plankton.

6. Vulture

Vultures may seem intimidating because of their featherless heads, large wings, and the habit of appearing only when there is a carcass around. But these birds of prey are harmless to humans. They usually feed on dead animals, as their claws are short and more adapted to walking than killing. But when food is scarce, they may hunt live prey.

7. Whale shark

The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, and the size varies by gender. Females can grow up to around 20 meters while men tend to be smaller. This marine giant does not attack humans.

8. Whip scorpion

This terrifying animal looks like a mixture of a spider and a scorpion. And many people are frightened and disgusted by it; however, this creature is shy and not very aggressive. In fact, it has no venom, so it does not represent any kind of danger to humans. It’s recommended not to kill them because their function is to control pests, such as cockroaches.

9. Hercules beetle

These amazing insects can reach a length of more than 17 centimeters, making them one of the largest beetles in existence! Despite their terrifying horns, they are harmless, as they are herbivores that feed mainly on fruit.

10. European yellow-tailed scorpion

The yellow-tailed scorpion averages 4 cm, but it does look intimidating!

11. Chinese giant salamander

The Chinese giant salamander can grow up to 1.8 m long and is the largest amphibian in the world. This huge animal eats only insects, small fish, and other amphibians. The species is threatened by pollution and poaching. They predate invertebrates (such as spiders, millipedes, insects, and crustaceans) and vertebrates (some mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish).

12. Opossum

Possums are possibly the most harmless and useful of all urban creatures. They are often seen as a pest and accused of knocking over garbage cans, but they are rarely a threat and easily go on their way. Many people mistake this animal for a large rat because of its white face, naked tail, and glowing eyes.

They can digest almost anything, including the bones of a dead animal, and in doing so, they help eliminate diseases from carcasses and food waste that might otherwise spread.

13. Tarantula

Tarantulas give some people the creeps because of their hairy bodies and large legs. However, these spiders are harmless to humans. They can bite, but their venom is weaker than that of a bee. Among arachnid lovers, these spiders have become popular pets.

14. Gharial

The gharial resembles a crocodile in every way except for its long, narrow snout. It is often thought that these beasts could attack humans, but in reality, their jaws are fragile.

What would you do if you came face to face with any of these creatures? What other animals do you know that are harmless despite their menacing appearance?

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