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Five Cute Animals That Can’t Be Trusted


By Caitlan Burns

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Animals are frequently the subject of adoration, usually the most adored are the ones that resemble human babies. Soft features, expressive eyes, shorter limbs, etc. Fur seems to also be a draw. Cute animals are usually soft. They look harmless. Animals aren’t toys, though and usually, they have claws, teeth and a pressing need to do the same sorts of things we do like procreate, eat and cause trouble. They have fetishes, odd behavior and can even be surprisingly cruel, again, just like us. Bottom line: even if they’re harmless looking, treat animals with care and respect and maybe try to stop judging entirely by appearance.

 

Dolphins

 

Free Images, Linda van Dijk

 

There’s something enthralling about dolphins. They’re sleek and they laugh and play in the water, leaping and swimming gracefully. Dolphins are effervescent, and people are drawn to them. These cool-toned aquatic mammals are a staple mascot. Unfortunately, all that enthusiasm has to go somewhere and male dolphins can take things too far. Bulls will form into gangs and kidnap cows, pressuring them physically and verbally to do things they don’t want to do. Sometimes they do the same to males. Human swimmers aren’t exempt from their attention, either. The environmental activist, satirist and columnist, Carl Hiaasen, wrote a book where a dolphin kills a bad guy in such a manner.

 

These dolphin gangs will also beat other animals to death with their noses. This is completely normal since beating other animals to death is what bottlenoses are for. Aggressive sharks aren’t the only ones targeted, though. Baby dolphins and young porpoises are sometimes used for brutal and deadly fun. Think, A Clockwork Orange aquatic edition, except, humans don’t have the ability to pulverize internal organs with echolocation.

 

Koalas

 

Free Images, Paul Caputo

 

Koalas are adorable. They look a little like someone’s elderly accountant uncle– awkward, sweet and ultimately harmless. For the most part koalas are what they seem. They stay in the trees and spend their time doing koala things with other koalas. Unfortunately, koalas need to make new koalas and that’s where there’s a problem. A significant part of the koala population is infected with koala chlamydia and it’s killing them. There’s even evidence that koala chlamydia can spread to humans through urine. There is hope, though. There’s a vaccine in development which can prevent the spread of the disease and it can even reverse some damage. Hopefully, the koala population will be healthy again sometime soon.

 

Still, I wouldn’t trust the little marsupials. They used to be known as drop bears because colonials thought they would drop from the trees to knock people unconscious so they could eat them. If a zombie outbreak ever occurs in Australia do not head for the trees. Koalas dropping down to eat your brains is the last thing you want to deal with.

 

Japanese Macaques

 

Japanese Snow monkey Macaque in hot spring Onsen Jigokudan Park, Nakano, Japan

 

Japanese Macaques are native to the islands of Japan. They live in large groups, visit hot springs and can even recognize and harvest more than a hundred different herbs which they use to supplement their diet. They quickly adapt based on their environment. There have been significant differences noted between the behavior of macaques in different areas as well as macaques in monkey parks as opposed to the wild.

 

Because macaques are so intelligent, they can be problematic for human populations when they engage in midnight raids on farmlands and steal purses. There are even rumors of macaques that can use vending machines, though these are unconfirmed. If alcohol is left unattended the small monkeys will help themselves to it and engage in strangely familiar behavior for anyone who has been at a certain kind of frat party. Primates have similarities with each other, and monkeys in particular have been shown to imitate behaviors. It would not be totally off the wall to see a macaque dance on a table with a shirt on his head and try to sit on someone’s lap. He might bite if you don’t accept his proposition which, again, is also something to worry about from a drunk human male.

 

Cats

 

T. Duff, Free Images

 

Cats are known to be unpredictable. Very little research has been done on cat intelligence because they just do not want to cooperate. They don’t want to do things when you want to do things, and they certainly don’t want to do anything if they’re brought into a strange environment such as a lab. Dogs are built to be more amenable. They want to perform the task and they usually want to be praised. Cats just don’t have the same goals in life and are also extremely eccentric.

 

When I was young, I had two sister calico cats. One loved to bury her head in a shoe and breath in deeply while purring, she’d even fall asleep that way if we’d let her. The other loved to get behind a person, dig her claws lightly into their scalp and clean their ears while she purred. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. If she had been a dog she would have looked at me imploringly and then tried to groom me. Since she was a cat, Cee-Cee did not care what I wanted. She had a goal and she followed through. If a cat really wanted to do horrible things to you, they probably would. The eviscerated sparrow on many a front porch should be enough proof of that.

 

 

Dogs

 

Luiz Penheiro, Free Images

 

Dogs have been companions to humans for ages. We’ve modified them to the point where many are unrecognizable compared to their ancestors, and yet they’re still dogs and for the most part. Cats can come and go if left to their own devices, even trying out new households regardless of whether there last one was any good or not. In contrast, dogs prefer to stay with their family. They’ll even do tricks for us, lick us when we’re feeling down and warm us up when we’re cold. But there are only so many changes that can be made to a species. Even with all the differences we’ve built into canines, they’re still scavengers. They want our food. It’s why the ancestors of dogs first started hanging around humans and it’s a very strong drive.

 

There are so many instances of dogs letting their desires get in the way of what we tell them. My partner’s dog Jäger once stole a burrito from a person his master didn’t particularly like, and then carefully unwrapped it before consuming it. My dog Roddy liked to get a hold of peppermint candies and hide them. When he ate them he would lightly chew them and then suck on the candy through the wrapper. A black lab I knew, Pepper, would stick her nose and head in pockets or backpacks and sniff loudly for food. She nearly got my sandwich once. Dogs are sweet but they need to eat. Some are more interested in pleasing and helping humans, but some would trade a person for a plate of hot dogs, at least until they’d eaten the hot dogs. Then they’d try and help their human.

 

Animals are great. They can do so many interesting things and we’re fortunate that a lot of them like us but that’s no reason to let your guard down. They’re creatures with their own ideas and interests and just because you’re a human does not mean they’ll submit or do as they’re told.