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5 Cute Critters That Could Kill You

These creatures are so adorable you could just die. Literally.

Bunnies

Every spring these floppy-eared fluffballs leave us Easter baskets filled with colored eggs and candy, but in Australia they leave behind only death, destruction, and tons of tiny turds. In the mid-1800s, English settlers brought 24 wascally wabbits to Oz to hunt. But as bunnies are wont to do, they humped and humped till there were 10 billion of them by the 1920s. Now they’re considered an invasive pest responsible for the decimation of native species and land, costing the country $113 million a year. And, sadly, none of that goes toward the production of those adorable Cadbury Crème Egg commercials.
 
Farm Animals

 
Take the kids to a petting zoo and they’ll leave with many cherished memories—and possibly explosive diarrhea. That’s because in the animal kingdom, cows, pigs, and chickens cause the most human diseases, including E. coli, salmonella, swine flu, and mad cow disease. In 2012 the Centers for Disease Control reported at least 165 cases of people becoming infected with swine flu after rubbing up on pigs, and an E. coli out­-break at a Pennsyl­vania petting zoo in 2000 left 55 people sick, including one who required a kidney transplant. Keep that in mind the next time you have the urge to spoon with a chicken.
 
Elmo


 
His giggle isn’t the only infectious thing about him: Tickle Elmo and you could wind up in the hospital with lead poisoning. At least if you got up close and personal with one of the Elmos recalled by Fisher-Price in 2007. The company was forced to call back nearly a million of the giggly Sesame Street characters after dis­covering excessive amounts of lead in the material used to make them. Doctors say that exposure to the chemical element can lead to brain damage, kidney problems, seizures, and even death. So next Christmas give your children something safer to play with, like a case of nitrous and a set of machetes.
 
Chow Chows

 
The chow chow may look like a teddy bear, but it bites like a grizzly. In fact, this fuzzy-wuzzy ball of adorability is the second most dangerous dog breed, with 34 maimings and seven deaths caused by the nearly 1,600 registered chows in the U.S. They’re so Cujo-esque that many insurance companies refuse to cover them in their homeowners’ poli­cies. Read the fine print on your policy: Most leg humpings are considered an act of nature and are not covered.
 
Kittens

You already knew cats were evil, but now there’s proof. New research reveals that feral cats kill up to 20 billion birds and small mammals every year and are responsible for the extinction of 33 different species. Oh, you think that doesn’t include your Mr. Whiskerkins, because he’s an indoor kitty and wouldn’t hurt a fly? Well, your house cat may not be murderous, but his turds are. A parasite called Toxoplasma gondii is all up in his poop and can cause serious illness in humans. One study even found a possible link between T. gondii and mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Which may explain why there are so many crazy cat ladies.
 
Babies

Photos: Getty Images
 
Behind those sweet, chubby cheeks is a cold-blooded mon­ster, hell-bent on causing heartache and ruining lives. For starters, tots actually like it when you’re mean to those who don’t look like them, according to a study published in Psychological Science. And when they’re not busy being bigots, babies have zero regard for your love life. A survey of 218 couples found that 90 percent of parents are unhappy with their partner after the birth of their spawn; another survey revealed that a third of marriages end in divorce due largely to the sleep deprivation caused by babies. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the-thing-that-destroys-it in the baby carriage.


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