Suckers for Cute Animals that cause Humans Great Harm
When you think of vicious animals that may be hazardous to our health, they usually come in oversized packages with tale-tale signs of their evil intentions. Unfortunately not all animals have the signs we normally look for when determining such factors as our immediate or soon to be demise.
Bats, isn’t’ he cute? Bats are natural carriers or vectors of several zoonotic pathogens including rabies, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Henipavirus and possibly even ebola virus. Rabies is mostly transmitted through direct physical contact with its victim, but it is also possible for the bat rabies virus to infect humans through airborne transmission. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) bat rabies has emerged as a public health problem in the Americas and Europe in the past few years. For the first time in 2003, more people in South America died from rabies caused by wildlife, particularly bats, than from dogs. Rabies is a viral neuroinvasive disease that causes inflammation in the brain; deadly if left untreated.
In most modern farms, pigs are fed the worst of foods. On the biggest farms, the largest pigs are fed rotten eggs and chickens that died from disease. Sometimes, pigs are kept in batteries where only a few pigs get the food. The rest of the pigs get only the droppings, which are extremely toxic. Any tissue from these animals makes them very unclean indeed. The pig is certainly responsible for much disease. Many people are allergic to pork because of the high histamine levels, and pork also encourages the formation of excessive amounts of mucous in our bodies.
Much of pork is cured, such as ham and bacon, which causes it to be extremely salty. This can be a heart health concern as it can lead to hardening of the arteries, as well as high blood pressure. Some forms of pork can also be extremely high in fat.
Kittens? They’re the worst of the surprisingly deadly but adorable class? Those little fuzz balls who send swathes of the internet into barely coherent speech, and shrieks of girlish glee. Yup, that’s right. Well, not just kittens, but something they carry: Toxiplasmosis. That’s a parasitic disease that lives in many cats, which can get passed from mother cat to kitten, and, that’s right, you guessed it, straight on to humans! You get it from contact with cats’ feces, which is more or less inevitable, as you’re the one cleaning out their crap. If you catch it, you’ll most likely just get flulike symptoms, and feel better after a week. Unless, of course, you’re immuno-compromised. Say, you’re pregnant, HIV+, on chemo, just had an organ transplant, something fun like that. Then you get inflammation of the brain, scarring of the eyes, and—occasionally—horrific skin lesions. If you get through this all okay, scientists are just beginning to realize that Toxiplasmosis plays a part in schizophrenia, so it’ll even drive you mad. And your cat almost certainly has it.
Not everyone’s particular cup of tea, but many people keep rats as pets, and they’re remarkably hygienic. They’re smart, fuzzy, and willing companions (plus cheap and easy to look after). So why do rats kill? Humble Rattus rattus, and its unfortunate cargo of fleas, was the bearer of the bubonic plague. That’s right, back in the 1300s; these wee bastards were the cause of a disease so deadly it killed an estimated 2/3 of Europe’s population. That’s a hell of a history for these cute little fuzzballs, and one that we haven’t yet forgiven them for.
Although bald eagles should not be considered a deadly animal, there are many reports from the early 20th and 19th centuries of bald eagles attacking children. Since the use of pesticides has drastically reduced the population of bald eagles, the chance of human-eagle contact in the lower 48 states has decreased considerably in the second half of the 20th century to the present. However, don’t take any chances with your small children; weigh them down with some heavy weights when they go outside, as eagles consider them a delicacy.
The obsession with cute animals confuses me…why must humans be suckers for big droopy eyes?
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