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Meet 10 of the Most Aggressive Animals Alive

By Vicki Nunn - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

You might be surprised to learn that the strongest creatures on the planet do not automatically make up the list of most aggressive animals. Temperament is what plays a vital role in defining aggression in animals.


Bison headbutting. Image by Richard Lee via Unsplash

This list introduces you to the top 10 animals with hot tempers, known for their quick and fiery anger.

The reasons behind their aggression are diverse. It’s their unique way of communicating, asserting authority over their territory, or demonstrating dominance over other animals.

#1 Black Mamba

black mamba: top 10 most aggressive animals
Black mamba. Image by Glen Carrie via Unsplash

The Black Mambas, found in the sub-Saharan desert in Africa, are widely regarded as the most dangerous snakes on the planet. While still incredibly lethal it is not the most venomous snake in the world, which is an entire different species.

These snakes, however, are known for their lethal venom, are light brown with a darker color near their mouths. Just two drops of their venom can be deadly. They are also considered the fastest ground snake on the planet.

  • Habitat: Sub-Saharan desert in Africa
  • Venom: Highly dangerous, just two drops can be lethal
  • Size: Up to 1 foot in length
  • Speed: Fastest ground snake, up to 20 km/h
  • Color variation: Light brown to dark brown, with light underparts
  • Species variation: Two kinds, dark and green mambas

Physical Characteristics and Behavior

Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis).
Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis). Image via Depositphotos

Black Mambas typically range in color from light brown to dark brown, with light-colored underparts. There are two kinds of mambas, one dark and one green, distinguishable by their color. The dark mamba is found in rocky and soft wetland areas filled with herbs.

When agitated or threatened, they raise their necks in an S-shaped posture, open their mouths, and are known for their slow, calculated strikes.

  • Species variation: Dark and green mambas
  • Diet: Primarily small birds and some vertebrates
  • Reproduction: Lay 6-20 eggs in one season
  • Aggressive behavior: Defensive display with raised neck and open mouth
  • Venom toxicity: Exceptionally toxic, just two drops can be lethal

#2 Cape Buffalo

Buffalo in grass
Portrait of an African or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Mokala National park, South Africa. Image via Depositphotos

The Cape Buffalo, standing at 6 feet tall, is famously known as the “dead buffalo” due to its vigorous and energetic behavior. This species is known for being one of the most ferocious creatures on Earth, displaying offensive and protective procedures. It is also the dominant individual of the buffalo commonly found in Africa.

  • Size: 6 feet tall
  • Behavior: Energetic and vigorous, capable of running at 57 km/h
  • Diet: Primarily herbivores, primarily eat grass, require ample water
  • Ferocity: Among the most ferocious creatures on Earth
  • Social structure: Often found in groups, with males, females, and offspring

Physical Characteristics

Buffalo in the grass
Buffalo in the grass during safari in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Image via Depositphotos

Cape Buffaloes have a distinctive appearance with their thick coat of hair, which can range from black to earth-colored. They have large heads, powerful horns, giant bodies, and strong legs.

  • Coat color: Thick hair, typically black or earth-colored
  • Head and horns: Large heads, powerful horns
  • Body structure: Giant bodies, strong legs
  • Group behavior: Typically found in groups with males, females, and offspring
  • Lifespan: About 20 years in the wild

#3 Wild Boar

wild boar
Wild boar. Image by Ed van Duijn via Unsplash

Wild boars, known for their destructive tusks, are among the largest warm-blooded animals on the planet. They live in the wild and are omnivores, with carbohydrates being a primary dietary need. While wild boars rarely attack humans, their aggression can be extremely dangerous.

  • Tusks: Destructive tusks, among the largest
  • Diet: Omnivores, with a primary need for carbohydrates
  • Aggressiveness: Can be extremely dangerous

Physical Characteristics and Behavior

wild boar
Wild boar on the forest in summer time. Wild Boar Image via Depositphotos.

Wild boars use their jaws and tusks in displays of aggression, often foaming at the mouth. They are covered with a double coat, which can vary in color from dark to red, brown, or dark. Their upper coat is coarse, while the undercoat is soft. Wild boars have long, rubbery noses that they use for digging up roots and tubers in the ground. They are medium-sized, well-evolved creatures and are omnivores that enjoy a varied diet, including berries, leaves, fruits, reptiles, worms, and snakes.

  • Coat color: Varies from dark to red, brown, or dark
  • Nose structure: Long, rubbery nose for rooting and digging
  • Diet: Omnivores, eat berries, leaves, reptiles, etc.
  • Social behavior: Male boars solitary, gather for mating
  • Lifespan: About ten years in the wild, up to 25 years in captivity

#4 Hippopotamus

Mother hippo and her calf in water. Image by Gonzalo Gonzales via Unsplash

Hippos, semi-oceanic creatures, primarily feed on grass but are known for their unfriendly and sometimes dangerous behavior. They are considered mighty creatures, capable of attacking small boats and even causing fatalities. This is something you can read more about with our dedicated article on these powerful beasts! Despite their massive size, hippos are full of energy, even in conditions of limited water and food supply.

  • Diet: Mainly herbivores, grass, fallen fruits, etc.
  • Behavior: Can be aggressive, known for attacks
  • Size: Third-largest warm-blooded animal
  • Lifespan: About 5 years in the wild
  • Group behavior: Found in groups of 10–30 individuals

Physical Characteristics and Senses

Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), Chobe National Park, Botswana. Image via Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Hippos are known for their massive size, which can be intimidating. Even baby hippos can weigh up to 100 pounds. They are considered one of the most dangerous creatures on the planet. Despite their large size, they have excellent sight, smell, and hearing.

  • Sensory abilities: Excellent sight, smell, and hearing
  • Speed: Excellent sight, smell, and hearing
  • Water dependency: Need water for cooling, lack sweat glands
  • Close relatives: Whales and dolphins are their relatives

#5 Sun Bear

sun bear
Sun bear. Image by Dave Sherrill via Unsplash

Sun bears, found in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, are the smallest of the bear family. These nocturnal creatures are mighty and known to attack for no apparent reason. They possess long, sharp teeth with enough power, and they live in trees. Sun bears are solitary animals but come together during mating. Their diet primarily consists of natural products, occasional small insects, and small rodents.

  • Size: Smallest among bear family
  • Behavior: Nocturnal, can be aggressive
  • Physical features: Sharp teeth, tree-dwelling, small ears
  • Diet: Omnivores; plants, insects, rodents

Physical Characteristics and Behavior

Sun bear in chinese zoo
Malayan Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus malayanus). Wich’yanan L, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sun bears are miniature carnivorous bears covered with thick fur, which can range from brown to dark or dark brown. They have a U-shaped, distinctive patch of white, yellow, or orange fur on their chests that appears to extend up to their faces. They have sturdy, muscular bodies, small ears, and large fangs. Sun bears are often seen in trees, where they can be solitary or occasionally in pairs. They are known to vocalize, particularly when attacked.

  • Dwellings: Mostly seen in trees
  • Lifespan: About 25 years in the wild, over 30 years in captivity
  • Weight: 27-65 kg (59-143 pounds)
  • Length: 1-1.2 m (3.3-4 feet)
  • Claw function: Long, curved claws for insect hunting

#6 Saltwater Crocodile

saltwater crocodile
Saltwater crocodile closeup underwater shot. Image via Depositphotos

The saltwater crocodile is the largest living crocodile in the world. Considered one of the dominant hunters on the planet and the strongest of all. They are not only powerful but also dangerous to humans, ranking among the top 10 most aggressive animals. There are even reports of saltwater crocodiles chasing boats and attacking people.

  • Size: Enormous, largest living crocodile
  • Strength: Dominant hunter, among the strongest
  • Danger to humans: Known to be dangerous to humans
  • Diet: Fish, mammals, birds, active hunters at night

Physical Characteristics and Habitat

saltwater crocodile
Saltwater crocodile. Image by David Clode via Unsplash

They are among the mightiest creatures on the planet and the largest living reptiles. They can reach lengths of up to 5 m, although there have been reports of specimens measuring up to 8 m. They are native to regions from northeastern Australia to India and Southeast Asia.

  • Size range: Can measure up to 5m, reports of up to 8m
  • Geographic range: Native to regions from Australia to Southeast Asia
  • Swimming Abilities: Excellent swimmers, cover up to 900 km
  • Lifespan: Average lifespan of about 65 years

#7 Cassowary

Cassowary. Image by Seiichiro via Unsplash

Cassowary is one of the giant living birds and holds the Guinness World Record for the most dangerous bird in the world. There are three surviving types of this bird, and can run at an acceleration speed of up to 50 km/h.

  • Species: Three surviving
  • Speed: Capable of running at 50 km/h
  • Size: Third largest and second heaviest bird

Physical Characteristics

Southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius). Image via Depositphotos

Cassowaries are large-bodied birds with dark plumage, bluish skin, and pink necks. They have a ruddy neck with part of the legs being blue. However, the underside is dark. The neck and head color change depending on the bird’s state of mind.

  • Plumage: Dark with bluish skin and pink neck
  • Color variations: Neck and head color change based on emotions
  • Hearing: Distinguishes low-intensity sounds at a distance

#8 Moose

Moose. Image by Tim Peterson via Unsplash

Known as one of the giant creatures found in the deer family. Moose are mainly found in the northern half of the globe and are prone to colder environments. They have migrated to summer near streams and creeks; fortunately, this species is not in danger. Males and females are about 6 feet tall at the withers but have different weights.

  • Habitat: Northern regions, cold environments
  • Migration: Summer migration near streams and creeks
  • Size: Summer migration near streams and creeks

Diet and Physical Characteristics

Moose Bull. Image by Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The critters are herbivores that eat plants and prefer aquatic plants, such as pond algae and water lilies. They are around 6 feet tall from the front to the back of the body, and they weigh around 450kg. Their hairs are brown, with variations in shade, which provide them protection. A fold is found under the throat of moose, a loose kind of skin generally found in various animals too.

  • Diet: Herbivores, preference for aquatic plants
  • Coat color: Brown, with variations
  • Antlers: Both males and females have antlers; males have longer ones

#9 Wasps

Paper wasp. Image by Sandy Millar via Unsplash

Most likely, the strongest creatures and insects are pretty quiet and charming. However, people despise them because they used to build houses near houses and can damage bushes and trees. The hunters are wild and hunt and eat insects that destroy crops. They also feed on aphids, grasshoppers, and various honey bees.

  • Behavior: Quiet and charming
  • Human interaction: Often disliked due to nesting near homes
  • Diet: Predatory, targeting crop-damaging insects
  • Habitat: Found globally, excluding Antarctica
  • Nest construction: Able to build nests out of paper and bark
  • Lifespan: Typically short, with some living for months

Varieties and Behavior

Wasp. Image by David Hablutzel via Pexels

Wasps are generally active during the daytime and return to their nests at sunset. They are commonly seen during late summer and early autumn. This is when they search for food to sustain their colonies through the winter. Some wasps, like hornets, construct their nests hanging from trees, shrubs, vegetation, or even buildings.

  • Quantity in the US: Approximately 4,000 species
  • Activity: Mostly diurnal
  • Aggressiveness: Protect territory aggressively

#10 Tasmanian Devil

tasmanian devil
Tasmanian devil. Image by Caz Hayek via Unsplash

The Tasmanian Devil, the largest evergreen marsupial, ranks among the most powerful creatures on the planet. These creatures, resembling small dogs, have remarkable biting abilities and complex behaviors. Particularly during mating, where they engage in fierce battles to ensure their offspring’s survival.

  • Size: Similar in size to a small dog
  • Biting ability: Possess one of the most basic gnawing abilities
  • Mating behavior: Engage in complex and lethal fights during mating
  • Appearance: Covered with dark fur, white patches on chest, back, and shoulders
  • Senses: Covered with dark fur, white patches on chest, back, and shoulders

Behavior and Reproduction

tasmanian devil
Tasmanian devil in grass. JJ Harrison derivative work: Purpy Pupple, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tasmanian Devils are carnivorous creatures, often hunted by other predatory and deadly species. They have an average lifespan of about 7 to 8 years in the wild. When alone, they can engage in battles with other creatures for dominance. Typically using a high-pitched whistle as a challenge before a fight.

  • Diet: Carnivores, hunted by other predatory creatures
  • Lifespan: Average lifespan of 7-8 years in the wild


Roaring lion. Image via Depositphotos

If you enjoyed reading about the top 10 most aggressive animals. Check out top 10 longest living animals and top 10 deadliest animals in the world next!

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