Often animals that are not well-known cause fear and imagination devil in people. While some just have a legitimate reason included in this list. These are the top 10 such animals are carefully selected.
10. Asian Carp
Measuring 3 ft. (1 m) long and weighing up to 100 lb. (45 kg), Asian carp are hardly your average fish. Originally from China, Asian carp are an invasive collection of fish that take over and destroy ecosystems by devouring plankton and disrupting their habitat's existing food chain. They're ravenous (often eating half of their body weight in one day), they reproduce often, and they are difficult to capture. One particular species, the silver carp, can pose an even more immediate threat. Easily startled, they're known to jump into the air and knock out fishermen, causing injuries such as black eyes, broken bones and concussions. In February 2010, the White House even convened an Asian carp summit after the dangerous fish were found closing in on the Great Lakes. "Holy Carp! Flying Fish in Illinois."
9. Emerald Ash Borers
The emerald ash borer first appeared in the U.S. in 2002. Now in 15 states, with tens of millions of dead ash trees in its wake, the tiny menace has developed into a full-blown infestation. Originally from China, the winged beetle loves the trees from which it derives its name, and with few natural predators in the U.S., it has had a field day. But America is fighting back. In the summer of 2011, the USDA will release 150,000 stingless wasps (their larvae eat ash borer eggs) to combat the beetle. Godspeed, stingless wasps.
This may sound heretical or even downright mean. But let's not mince words: pandas are evil. Oh, but they're so cute, you say, and chubby and fluffy and bumbling. They have those sweet, complacent smiles, and they eat bamboo! Well, listen here. The first step to getting over pandas is to imagine the coloration of their black-and-white fur as being the inverse of what it is — you see? Now it's less of a cuddly exotic woodland creature and more of a freakishly large raccoon. Slothful to the point of being circumspect, pandas loll around, knowing full well that most of the humans in their midst will fall for their deceptive, charming spell.
These parasitic flatworms are the stuff of legend — evoking grotesque images of starving humans who fail to satiate their hunger despite constant eating. But tapeworms are the real deal. While they do not generally cause symptoms like extreme, uncontrollable hunger, they can range from 0.04 in. (1 mm) to 50 ft. (15 m) in length and live inside the liver and digestive tracts of all types of vertebrates, including humans, domestic animals and fish. Tapeworm infections are caused by eating raw or undercooked meat from infected animals, and most people don't even notice that they are infected until they pass pieces of the worm in their bowel movements. Tapeworm infections can be treated with medication and are often curable.
Sometimes, it seems, the dingo does eat your baby. In 1980, 9-month-old Azaria Chamberlain went missing in the heart of Australia's Outback. Her mother Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton was initially charged with murder and jailed. Her defense? Well, the dingo ate her baby. But in 1988, her conviction (along with her husband's) was overturned after a piece of Azaria's clothing was found near a dingo lair. The trial was a global media sensation and became part of pop culture with the 1988 film A Cry in the Dark starring Meryl Streep as well as the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine gives her rendition of the dingo line. But doubt has always surrounded the Chamberlains, and in 2010 the case was reopened in an effort to clear their name. Since the trial, there have been other reports of dingo attacks on humans, including one in 2001 in which a 9-year-old boy was k*lled.
Locusts are grasshoppers that breed quickly and form giant swarms that often turn aggressive. They can travel for hundreds of miles across cropland, destroying vegetation. The most famous locust tale, of course, can be found in the Bible — they are one of the 10 "plagues" sent by God when Egypt's Pharaoh refuses to free Moses' Israelites from slavery. Unfortunately, locusts are still a problem in Egypt and many other spots. There is one particularly satisfying way to combat them, however: locusts are edible.
4. Tsetse Flies
Unless you're a vampire from the Twilight series, being known as a bloodsucker is never a good thing. Native to Africa and almost exclusively found in woodland areas, tsetse flies transmit what is commonly known as "human sleeping sickness." Although the flies are found in all parts of the continent, human sleeping sickness almost always occurs in sub-Saharan Africa. The illness first starts with fever, headaches, joint pains and itching and can develop into confusion, sensory disturbances, poor coordination and disturbance of the sleep cycle. If left untreated, it can be fatal. While there have been several epidemics of human sleeping sickness in Africa since the early 20th century, the number of cases reported in 2009 dropped below 10,000 for the first time in 50 years.
There is nothing appealing about rats. But what is usually just a gross, dirty, fairly harmless species became deadly in the 14th century, when it helped spread the Black Death throughout much of Europe and parts of Asia. The pandemic's most devastating moment was a four-year spell between 1347 and 1351 that, according to some estimates, wiped out as much as two-thirds of Europe's population. The plague would recur in subsequent decades and is believed to have killed roughly 100 million people worldwide in the space of some 200 years.
Concentration camps. War crimes. Genocide. The Crusades. Al-Qaeda. The specter of nuclear armageddon. Torture and rape as tools of systemic violence. Avarice. Jealousy. Sub-prime mortgages. What more evidence do you need of Homo sapiens' innate propensity to inflict ill upon the world and themselves?
Bedbugs won't kill you, but the trouble they cause may have you wishing they would. In 2010-11, as thousands of Americans woke up with itchy pink welts, they were reminded of the meaning behind the adage "Sleep tight; don't let the bedbugs bite." Infestations have been reported in all 50 states, and in the latter part of 2010, they were at nearly epidemic proportions in New York City and other metropolises. When the tiny bugs, which can produce 10,000 babies in three months, arrive, the cost to wipe out an infestation in a single-family home can run past $1,000. Perhaps the most evil thing about them is that, despite their small size, their anatomy is custom-built for bloodsucking. The apple seed–size insect can drink more than three times its body weight in blood in a single feeding.