The animal world is filled with all kinds of sacred, adored, and protected creatures, but there are just as many unloved animals we’d like to be rid of. In truth, the latter are simply misunderstood and just don’t fit in with human lifestyles. Here are 20 examples of unappreciated and, above all, little-known animals.
Perhaps they strike you as anti-social and unattractive, and, truth be told, you wouldn’t want to be alone with them. We understand, but know that hyenas play an important ecological role by feeding on carrion that could otherwise spread disease.
People often fear getting bitten by rats because of the many diseases they can carry. In fact, if you run into one downtown, we recommend you refrain from petting it. That said, rats aren’t just vectors for rabies. Indeed, domestic rats are very affectionate and soon form close relationships with their owners. Big fans of cuddles and scratches, they may even become your best friend.
You probably don’t find them particularly endearing and aren’t eager to be in a room where they fly freely. Yet bats are actually complex, fascinating creatures if you take the time to get to know them. They also perform a vital function within ecosystems by regularly consuming their own weight in insects.
If you normally think of sharks as mean, bloodthirsty beasts, keep in mind that they’re probably more scared of you than you are of them—and for good reason. Sharks are often killed for their fins. Being at the top of the food chain, these creatures are actually a very useful part of the marine ecosystem and certainly should be allowed to live. In fact, by eating weakened and sick fish, sharks promote the reproduction of stronger species.
No one looks forward to seeing these guys on their kitchen floor. They’re simply not welcome in our homes. We should be happy they’re around, however, because of their many beneficial habits! Indeed, ants clean their environments by feeding on organic waste and aerate the soil by digging numerous tunnels.
They’re beautiful and majestic, but evoke a degree of mistrust, and while this is not unreasonable, it doesn’t mean that we should hate them. After all, wolves promote biodiversity by regulating the populations of other animals. In fact, biodiversity prevents species from becoming invasive. Human beings are currently the only invasive species.
A love for mud puddles has given pigs a bad reputation. Indeed, being called a “pig” is not very pleasant. Spend some time getting to know them, however, and you’ll discover they are sensitive, emotional, intelligent, and endearing animals. There are even domestic pigs!
Vultures are seen as cruel, insidious creatures bent on stealing our most precious possessions, and their attraction to carcasses is nothing less than revolting. Nevertheless, vultures are fascinating animals that can live at high altitudes, travel long distances, and survive for several decades. Those who make an effort to dig deeper will discover a rather endearing bird.
Their call is unmistakable, and they don’t look particularly friendly, but crows provide a valuable service within ecosystems. They not only get rid of roadkill, but they also eat insects that ravage our gardens and devour parasites that would otherwise propagate.
While many people are afraid of anything that crawls, snake venom has many important, therapeutic uses. Plus, like many other species, snakes benefit ecosystems by regulating the populations of certain small animals.
Who hasn’t screamed in terror after crossing paths with this big-eyed, many-legged creature? While finding one in the kitchen is no fun, we should be grateful for the many benefits spiders provide. In addition to ridding our homes of other unwanted insects, they contribute to the ecosystem and serve as food for other animals.
You may not find the idea of coming face to face with these animals very inviting, but that doesn’t make them any less fascinating. While their casual, relaxed attitude draws us in, their predatory nature leaves quite an impression. Crocodiles also feed on many species, thus regulating their populations, and their young serve as prey.
We all agree that mice would not be particularly welcome in our favourite restaurants. However, there’s no need to climb on a chair upon catching sight of this completely harmless animal. Outdoors, mice are very useful in aerating gardens, dispersing seeds, and getting rid of snails. They also serve as prey for other predators.
While gelatinous and rather unattractive when encountered at the beach, jellyfish are majestic and quite pretty in their natural habitat. Despite being invasive in certain environments, they represent an important link in the food chain. Jellyfish feed on small species while serving as food for several larger marine animals.
Despite their frightful appearance and unsightly faces, toads can be a valuable asset in your vegetable garden as they get rid of insects, caterpillars, snails, and slugs that would otherwise feast on your fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens.
Seagulls don’t just invade snack bar parking lots and beg for your fries. Their love for all kinds of human-made waste helps manage some of the pollution we generate.
Stinging, venomous scorpions usually scare humans away. While we should steer clear of their stingers, we can’t let these creatures take all the blame. Scorpions help eliminate many undesirable insects, such as grasshoppers, flies, and cicadas.
Slimy octopuses hardly qualify as cute and can even blind us with their ink. That said, some people appreciate their delicate flavour. Given their three hearts, eight arms, blue blood, and impressive intelligence, we prefer them for their great qualities and fascinating appearance.
Snails are slimy, creepy, and fond of eating your lovingly cultivated garden greens. Some species, however, also appreciate garbage, both living and dead insects, and many types of plant debris. Plus scientists can use them to detect traces of pollution in the soil.
Detested for their odour and feared for the stinky liquid they can spray on you, skunks are nevertheless peaceful, friendly creatures. In fact, they feed on many varieties of insects and larvae, thus ridding us of these undesirable pests.