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17 Examples of Cruel Animals (A to Z List & Pictures)

growling dog

Examples of animals that are cruel include Baboons, Butterflies, Chimpanzees, Crocodiles, and Humans.

Animals are often misunderstood because of their actions or appearance. Some people may think that they are cruel when in reality, they’re just doing what comes natural to them.

Animals are a lot more complex than they seem. In the wild, one animal may be cruel to another for survival, or because it is their natural instinct.

Animals that have been domesticated and forced into captivity can also develop behaviors that would not normally exist outside of a human environment.

Examples of Animals that are Cruel

1. Baboons

Olive Baboon
Scientific NamePapio
Type of AnimalMammal

Baboons chase young fledgling deer or other smaller animals and eat them, just like the Chimps would.

Mothers watch as their young ones are torn apart and devoured. It is a practice that they have followed for hundreds of years.

Related Article: Does Baboons Eat Mushrooms?

2. Butterflies

viceroy butterfly
Scientific NameRhopalocera
Type of AnimalInsect

Just as the female butterfly is getting ready to hatch out of her chrysalis, the males have a fight amongst themselves.

The ‘winner’ then traps her just as she’s coming out, not giving her a chance to fly or even emerge completely, and forcefully mates with the female.

3. Chimpanzees

Scientific NamePan troglodytes
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCentral African Republic and DRC

Chimpanzees make raiding parties to chase the much-smaller Colobus monkeys through the trees, shrieking like warriors, and tearing the scared-to-death prey apart when caught.

The drama goes on for what looks like an eternity to the prey. Incidentally, chimps are very close to homo sapiens.

They have the same number of chromosomes, almost identical blood chemistry and body mass composition.

4. Crocodiles

Scientific NameCrocodylidae
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAfrica, Asia, Australia and the Americas

Crocodiles are the largest reptiles in the world and they can grow up to be 15 feet long. They’re also known for their sharp teeth which most people think is cruel but it’s actually something that helps them with hunting food.

Their mouths contain 80-90 small replaceable teeth on both sides of their jaws, this way when one tooth gets broken or worn down, another one can take its place.

Crocodiles also have what’s called a “gape” which is when their mouth opens really wide to show off their teeth.

This is used as both a warning and intimidation tactic towards other animals and people.

Crocodiles catch giant prey like adult zebras and rotate (death role) their own bodies in water to take pieces out of the prey’s body. A grisly sight.

5. Dolphins

River Dolphin
Scientific NameCetacea
Type of AnimalMammal

Dolphins are considered to be one of the most intelligent animals in the world. They are able to learn and understand commands, which is why they are so commonly used in shows.

However, dolphins can also be quite cruel.

In some cases, they have been known to kill other dolphins as a way of asserting dominance or gaining territory.

Dolphins have gangs, that can harass others. These gangster dolphins are capable of all misdemeanours the Italian mafia could’ve imagined – sexual escapades, abductions, turf protection, violent attacks on rival gangs, etc.

6. Elephants

Two Elephants standing in mud
Scientific NameLoxodonta
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica and Asia

Elephants will kill other elephants, and will even forcibly mate with rhinos. They will also put themselves in harm’s way for their family members. Elephants are extremely smart and it is believed that they can recognize themselves in a mirror like humans.

So, Elephants are like humans: they have the ability for great good and kindness, but also great cruelty.

7. Humans

Scientific NameHomo sapiens
Type of AnimalMammal

Despite our ability for goodness, humans are also the cruelest animals on earth. Many humans cage animals, mutilate them, and deprive them of everything that is natural and important to them.

We treat sentient beings as if they are objects – things to be used and abused for our own ends.

8. Hyenas

Scientific NameHyaenidae
Type of AnimalMammal

Hyenas are often mocked by people because of their odd-looking faces and loud noises. However, they are fiercely loyal to each other, which is why the dominant female in a clan eats first before anyone else does.

They also travel around together as one unit while hunting for food or protecting themselves from predators like lions and leopards.

Hyenas make a grisly hunting pack with their laughter-like screams while eating prey alive. Packs of hyenas are capable of driving a single lion or a small group away from their fallen prey.

9. Lions

Lion licking its lips
Scientific NamePanthera leo
Type of AnimalMammal

Lions are often thought of as being cruel because they eat their prey alive. While this may be a bit gruesome to watch, it’s actually very important for the lion population and will help them ensure that there is enough food in the area.

It means they only kill off one animal at a time instead of trying to kill multiple animals at once.

This way, no more than one animal will die at a time and no lion has to starve.

10. Monkeys

Capuchin Monkey
Scientific NameCercopithecidae
Type of AnimalMammal

Monkeys are one of the animals that are often misunderstood. Monkeys can be very cruel to each other and can sometimes even kill their own young. This is usually due to the fact that they live in a pack and there is only so much food available.

The monkey with the most power will usually be the one who gets to eat first, which can lead to violence and murder.

11. Orcas

Scientific NameOrcinus orca
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAll Oceans

Orcas or killer whales are one of the most misunderstood animals on earth. Their name is very misleading because they aren’t actually whales but dolphins and their actions can be seen as cruel, even though it’s just nature taking its course.

Orcas live in pods where female orcas hunt for food while males protect them from other predatory creatures such as sharks or polar bears.

When a female orca hunts for food, she will hunt anything from small fish to large sea mammals such as seals and sharks. The male in the pod is usually much larger than the females and when he has had enough to eat, he then joins in on hunting with them.

12. Polar Bears

Polar bear eating meat
Scientific NameUrsus maritimus
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangethe Arctic

Polar bears are one of the animals that people think of when they think of cruelty. They’re often thought to be aggressive and dangerous, but that’s not always the case.

In fact, polar bears are usually quite timid creatures. However, they will become territorial and even vicious if they feel threatened or their territory is invaded.

Polar bears kill seals with a bite to the head. The seal may not die immediately while it is dragged out of the breathing hole to be eaten

13. Praying Mantis

praying mantis
Scientific NameMantodea
Type of AnimalInsect

The praying mantis is a creature that is known for being very cruel. They often eat their mate after mating and they have no problem killing other creatures.

Some people believe that this is because the praying mantis views itself as superior to other creatures, making them feel like they can do whatever they want.

14. Sea Otters

Sea Otter
Scientific NameEnhydra lutris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeSouth Central and Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington

Sea otters are one of the animals that people might not think about when it comes to cruelty. They are often seen as playful and fun-loving creatures.

However, what you may not know is that they are one of the most vicious predators in the ocean.

They have been known to kill sharks, dolphins, seals, and other sea otters. They are also one of the few animals that will kill for sport.

15. Sea Turtles

sea turtle
Scientific NameChelonioidea
Type of AnimalReptile

Sea turtles often get a bad reputation for being aggressive and territorial. This is mainly because they are used to having their own turf in the ocean and will defend it fiercely.

They have also been known to attack humans, but this is usually out of fear or confusion. In general, sea turtles are gentle creatures that just want to live their lives in peace.

Sea turtles are amazing sadists. They would not let a single male copulate with a female peacefully. Many more pile on, virtually strangulating and suffocating the female.

16. Spiders

spider eating
Scientific NameAraneae
Type of AnimalInsect

In many species of spiders, the females eat the males just after mating is over. This ensures that the male’s genes are passed on to future generations and that he won’t be able to mate with any other females.

17. Wild Dogs

african wild dog
Scientific NameLycaon pictus
Type of AnimalMammal

Wild dogs are often misunderstood because of their actions or appearance. Some people may think that they are cruel when in reality, they’re just doing what comes naturally to them.

Packs of wild dogs start eating the prey even as it is trying to run away, not yet dead. The prey can see itself being eaten for upto 30 minutes before dying.

That includes all parts of the body, like the face, etc. And that is after they have terrorized the poor animal for hours while chasing it across the landscape.

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