You spot someone cute across the room and muster up the courage to talk to them. As you approach, cutie notices you closing in and starts to tense up. You think it’s just nerves — the anticipation is getting this attractive one all hot and bothered. But just as you make it over and open your mouth to drop that perfect icebreaker, BAM! You get a face full of sick.
If humans had the defense mechanisms of animals, dating would be so much more exciting (you know, maybe people could actually take a hint if you got sick in their face). While we can’t employ these defense mechanisms ourselves, we can certainly appreciate — take some notes even — from these feisty animals!
1. Hairy Frogs: This amphibian’s ribbit is way worse than its bite. When Mr. Frog senses danger, he will actually break his own ribs to use as spikey weapons. That is one rib-it no one wants!
2. Dormice: These little bundles of cute are holding onto their tails while they still can. Because if predator grabs a hold of this mouse’s tail, it will dislodge from its body, giving them one last shot at scurrying to safety.
3. Boxer Crabs: This boxer packs a punch that really stings. Due to its symbiotic relationship with sea anemones, this crab’s “boxing gloves” are actually just some very loyal zappy friends.
4. Duck-Billed Platypus: It makes sense that this natural mashup of a species would have to come up with something to ward off bullying around the pond. So of course, they grow a venom spike on their hind legs. Go ahead, call them ugly one more time.
5. Opossums: If you’re hanging with these marsupials, be careful not to make any sudden movements. When opossums experience extreme fear, they enter an involuntary comatose state giving the illusion they’re dead.
6. Mimic Octopi: True to its name, this octopus is the most dangerous method actor in the sea. To ward off predators, this eight-limbed mollusk will shape-shift into any number of venomous swimmers.
7. Skunks: If anyone doesn’t know what happens when you scare a skunk, listen up! They stink, they spray, and then you stank. Bottom line is the skunk funk is no fun for anyone.
8. Noble Hoopoes: This little birdie’s regal name totally belays its nature. When the hoopoe suspects danger, they squirt fecal matter onto the on-comer in question. Beware its royal hineyness.
9. Desert Rain Frogs: To scare off attackers, this frog doesn’t spray poison — he renders predators useless with a spray of pure, ear-splitting sound! Pump up the frog, pump up the volume.
10. Turkey Vultures: What’s more revolting than eating rotting carcasses? How about regurgitating half-digested rotting carcasses from your stomach to distract/horrify attackers? Yep, hard pass on seeing that show.
11. Slow Lorises: What is arguably the most adorable primate is also the most poisonous (when it wants to be). If danger is near, the loris will not-so-slowly secrete a poison from its armpit and cover themselves in the anaphylactic shock-inducing liquid.
12. Northern Fulmar Chicks: As Ludacris so eloquently stated in his 2010 hit, This chick bad, this chick ain’t good. This chick projectile vomits foul-smelling orange stuff your chick wish she could.
13. Mantis Shrimp: This bitty shrimpy’s fun colors may make him look approachable, but it would be wise to keep some distance. Old hardback here packs club-like appendages that snap shut at 50 mph to knock some fear into potential threats.
14. Hedgehogs: It’s hard to imagine doing anything but giving this little guy a belly rub, but when hedgehogs feel threatened, beware. These critters ball themselves into a spikey dome of doom.
15. Sea Cucumbers: When pushed to it, these sedentary cukes are natural born killers. It’s an inside job, but basically, these bottom dwellers blast poisonous organs out of their anus. Trust us, that’s not the way anyone wants to go.
16. Crested Porcupines: Sure, they’re cute, but porcupines’ quills sure aren’t! Don’t worry, they’ll warn you before they strike by shaking their quills while you shake in your boots.
17. Hagfish: This sinuous swimmer releases a cloud of slime that actually chokes predators by clogging their gills. If you give someone the name “hag” you should expect a response like this.
18. Blue-Ringed Octopi: This ‘pus normally blends in with its environment, but when the blue rings come out, back off. This is a sign that this octopus is about to bite.
19. Stick Insects: This crawler has a more passive approach to self-preservation. In order to stay safe, this insect simply plays the role it was born to play — stick.
20. Potatoe Beetle: No one can call a potato beetle baby helpless. As larvae, these beetles cover themselves in their own feces, which just so happens to be poisonous. Thank god no one has to change those diapers!