What’s your favorite animal? Are you a dog person because you’ve had them as pets since you were a child and you can’t imagine coming home without being able to cuddle a big fur baby? Or do you prefer turtles with their cute little faces reminiscent of old men and their beautiful shells? There’s an infinite number of animals out there to choose from (okay maybe not infinite, but there are millions!), but for some reason, we humans tend to be drawn to certain creatures more so than others. Why we usually prefer fluffy, soft and squishy creatures to anything that has venom, fangs or talons, I’m not quite sure. But everyone in the animal kingdom serves a unique purpose, and each creature deserves to be celebrated.
One curious reddit user recently asked others to share what animals have bad reputations that they don’t deserve, and hundreds of commenters came out in defense of these awesome creatures. We’ve gathered some of the best responses down below, featuring misunderstood animals who get their fair share of bad publicity, so be sure to upvote the answers that make you rethink your stance on these creatures. Keep reading to also find an interview with Ali of the Cool Facts About Animals podcast. Then let us know in the comments what your favorite infamous animal is, and if you’re looking for another Bored Panda article celebrating animals who deserve better, we recommend you check out this story next.
Pigs. Any farm animal, but pigs and cows don’t deserve being mocked and tortured. Pigs are highly intelligent animals, some outperforming 3 year old toddlers. “Pig” is used as an insult to men/ cops, but it’s a really gross comparison because they’re smart, sweet, and just wanna decorate their little area with flowers. Be nice to all animals please and at least learn about who you’re eating.
To gain some insight from an animal expert, we reached out to Ali of the Cool Facts About Animals podcast. First, we wanted to know what inspired her to start a podcast sharing knowledge about animals. “We were inspired to do this podcast because when we started it in 2017, there weren’t any in-depth podcasts about animals for kids,” Ali told Bored Panda. “We decided to fill that need with our podcast. What we love most about animals is that they’re all different. It’s really cool to see how different animals have adapted so well to so many different environments.”
We also asked Ali why she thinks some animals have been given bad reputations. “Some animals get a bad reputation through stories. Like Teddy Roosevelt spread the story that piranhas eat people alive (even though they don’t),” she explained. “Or there’s a story that vampire bats will attack humans for their blood (not true). There are some animals that are pretty annoying – like mosquitos. But even mosquitos have good qualities about them. Like, they are excellent pollinators. And really, they’re just trying to feed their babies!”
Honey bees. People are terrified but the last thing a honeybee wants to do is sting you. They just want to work. They are gentle creatures with personality and moods.
We also asked Ali what her favorite misunderstood animal is. “Our favorite misunderstood animal is the crow. People may just think of crows as pesky, loud birds that eat your food. But they’re actually incredibly smart. Some crows have learned to use traffic lights. They will put down a hard nut to crack nut in the road during a red light, fly out of the way on the green, and then come back to get their cracked nut on the red light again. Some species of crows can also use and make their own tools.”
“If you dig down deep enough, any animal has something to offer,” Ali shared. “They’re all part of our food chains and may help our ecosystem in ways we really don’t understand yet.”
If you or your little ones would like to learn more animal facts from Ali, be sure to check out the Cool Facts About Animals podcast right here.
Wolves! They help regulate buffalo, eagle, deer, and other animal’s populations. People see them as vicious, dangerous, and rabid animals. It really sucks, people are killing them too! There’s only roughly 94 red wolves left in the Yellowstone National Park (located in the USA), it really sucks. Wolves are now on the highly endangered animals list. Especially since people are luring wolves out of Yellowstone to trap and kill them. Wolves deserve more love. People are really sick.
There might only be a handful of animals that you personally love or see the value in. Dogs and cats because they’re great pets, chickens because you can’t go a morning without making scrambled eggs, bees because you love to put honey in your tea, horses because you enjoy riding them when you’re out in the country and birds because someone needs to eat those crumbs you drop while scarfing down a croissant on the way to work. But even though we don’t encounter most of the animals on earth on a daily basis, or ever for that matter, they still play vital roles in maintaining the ecosystem.
We tend to fear or hate creatures that we don’t understand or only know for their worst moments, like attacking humans and spreading diseases, but imagine what most creatures think about us. We slaughter animals for food, accidentally run them over with our cars frequently, cause noise and light pollution, cause deforestation, and pollute the air through our exploitation of resources. We must be terrifying, so maybe we should keep that in mind before assigning a bad reputation to rattlesnakes or bats.
Black cats. They are even more adorable than the other cats and I don’t understand why they have become the most known symbol of bad luck.
Ravens people think they’re evil just because sometimes they’re scavengers, and they were known to pick at bodies when public executions were still a thing, and because of that, they’re forever the symbol of death and many people think they’re evil.
People breed them and keep them in concrete cages and abuse them and the only interactions they get is being made to chase a fluffy thing to activate their prey drive to win their owners money.
And people wonder why they’re nervous dogs who chase anything resembling a bunny, including cats and small dogs.
Source: i fostered rescued racing dogs
And while the average person may not know very much about the unique job of every creature in the animal kingdom, we do know that we need biodiversity. According to Greenpeace, there are three facets of biodiversity: ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity. It is necessary that the planet maintains a high level of biodiversity to ensure that it is resilient to natural disasters and disturbances. Greenpeace likens the relationship between all plants and animals on earth to a “safety net” that guarantees our survival and welfare.
“When there’s balance, all these things work together to clean our water, purify our air, maintain our soil, regulate the climate, stop disease outbreaks, recycle nutrients and provide us with food,” Greenpeace explains. “But whenever a species disappears, it’s like a thread in the web is cut, leaving holes in the planet’s safety net and shifting the finely balanced systems.” Basically, when any species disappears, it creates a domino effect that can be detrimental to the whole ecosystem, so it’s crucial that we value all creatures, despite how frightening or poisonous they may be.
Possums. They are very disease resistant. They are unlikely to carry rabies, because their body temperature is too low for the rabies virus to thrive.
Foxes. Even in children’s fairy tales, we were shown that foxes are cunning and greedy. However, in life they are like dogs with the habits of a cat and make cute sounds. Although I may be wrong
Bats. They eat more insects in one night than a spider will in a month. And they’re rarely aggressive.
Edit: I’m seeing this theme in the comments, so I thought I should address it. Bats aren’t harmless. They are a carrier of rabies, which is deadly to humans and animals alike. You should definitely be *wary of them. They are wild animals, and though they aren’t usually confrontational, that doesn’t make them friendly, either. All I ask is if they are not bothering you, leave them alone. If they are, then please, do something about it. I don’t want anyone to feel like they are obligated to allow bats to nest in their chimney or attic. Bats belong in the wild, not in your house.
Although many of us only consider the need for animals in terms of providing us with leather, wool, food and companionship, there are plenty of other roles animals fill that affect humans without us even noticing. For example, we appreciate bees for their honey, but many people may not be aware that about 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of the planet’s wild plants rely on bees to pollinate them. Beavers are also unsung heroes of fighting climate change, as they work hard to regulate ecosystems through building dams. They reduce flooding and wildfire damage, preserve fish populations, and conserve freshwater reservoirs all to minimize the harmful effects we have caused on the environment.
Even rats, which are notorious for sneaking into our apartments and scaring city-dwellers as they scurry down the street, are extremely valuable for humans. They have an impressive sense of smell and are easily trained, so they have long been used to detect landmines and undergo testing in labs to ensure products are safe for human consumption. I’m not saying that you need to adopt the next rat you come across in a train station or leave a pizza on the street for rats to feast on, but just remember that they aren’t all bad. In fact, they might not even be too different from us; some can even drive cars!
Moths! There are some absolutely gorgeous species of moths that are even prettier than butterflies. They are also pollinators.
Snakes. They are trying to do their snakey thing and then some a*****e blamed them because some woman ate a piece of fruit.
Mosquitos have a vital role in the ecosystem. They are the food of some animals like frogs and dragonflies. They are vegetarian most of the time; they eat nectar. They only bite when they are pregnant; they need the protein in the blood for the eggs.
BUT, mosquitos also have the most number of persons killed. They are the carrier of many diseases like malaria and dengue.
To gain a fresh perspective on some of these infamous animals, we consulted Open Space Trust’s list of “Animals That Scare Us (And Why We Need Them)”. Just like broccoli and tomatoes scared me as a child, I eventually learned that they serve a purpose and are actually quite wonderful, once I kept an open mind. The first animal featured on this list that deserves better publicity is the rattlesnake. Being from Texas myself, I have always been taught to avoid these creatures at all costs. But the fact is, they are great for managing populations of small rodents that are notorious for carrying harmful diseases like Lyme and the plague. Their venom can also be quite useful, as it is being studied as a potential treatment for various types of cancer and even cystic fibrosis. I wouldn’t recommend you go searching for rattlesnakes in the wild, but if you do happen to encounter one, just let it be. For all you know, its lunch could be a mouse that was planning on invading your home later that afternoon.
spiders, they’re just doing their thing being good people and eating the true pests
Humans taste disgusting apparently and sharks prefer something with blubber like seals or whales. Sharks have very very poor eyesight so they often mistake surfers for seals (imagine someone laying down on a surf board, it looks like a seal from below) They aren’t entirely sure what humans are and sometimes they’ll do a test nibble to check. Then will go away once they realize that it’s not a seal. Unfortunately their test nibbles aren’t very gentle but also aren’t fatal as long as no major arteries were hit.
You’re more likely to be killed by a cow than a shark.
Wolves…they are vital to ecosystems and if you leave them alone they will do the same, if you save its life it’ll remember years later, and its tragic they have such a huge negative stigma against them
Bats are another animal featured on this list that Reddit users wanted to seek justice for. But despite how strange looking they are and the fact that they feed on the blood of other animals, bats are really friends to humans. They eat their own body weight in insects every single day, which really helps out farmers who are trying to protect their crops. Some bats even eat a diet of fruit and nectar and are necessary for pollinating and dispersing seeds. Even bat dung, or guano, is useful in creating excellent fertilizer. As bizarre as they may seem, bats do a lot for humans and the planet. Be careful not to get too close though, as you’ll need a rabies shot if you touch a bat!
Rats! Everyone says they’re nasty, but they’re extremely clean. They’re also very intelligent!
Also the black plague was caused by fleas that infected the rats, not the rats themselves.
At least in my area of the US, the buzzards clean up the trash and dead animals on the roads. Yes, they are not pretty to look at but they do the job barely anyone wants to do.
Bears. Sans the Polar Bears which are aggressive towards humans (but also because they don’t live near a lot of people anyway and aren’t really used to them), most other types of bears that live near humans are not normally aggressive unless provoked, and will try to flee if possible. The black bear in particular is actually a fairly tame bear, and even the brown bears (Grizzly, Kodiak, etc.) bears will also generally leave you alone if you don’t bother them.
Spiders are another creature that many people fear, but maybe we should be looking at them in a different light. There are over 45,000 species of spiders throughout the world, so they can’t all be bad! In fact, the vast majority of them are harmless, or even beneficial to humans. While you might be scared of getting a spider bite, it’s likely that they are not interested in you. Spiders’ diets mainly consist of pests like cockroaches, earwigs, flies, fleas, and mosquitoes. By eating these critters, spiders can greatly reduce the spread of many diseases, and similar to snake venom, spider venom might actually become an invaluable resource in the medical field as well. It is being studied as a potential treatment for heart attack patients, so if you’re concerned about your cardiovascular health, you might want to put a little respect on the notorious spider name.
Skunks. They feed on a variety of pests around our homes and typically spray when they feel their life is in danger. So just don’t sneak up on one lol.
They eat wasps and mice for example.
Rats. Everyone thinks they’re disease ridden rodents but they’re very affectionate pets! They feel emotions, too! They’re just silly little creatures!
Vultures are another animal that often are disregarded and underappreciated. As they are the scavengers of the bird world, it’s common for vultures to be portrayed as villains and unlikeable characters in animated films. But without vultures, we would be left with a lot more roadkill laying around. Vultures have an impressive sense of smell and can easily track down a fresh animal carcass. They do an excellent job cleaning up our roads, forests and deserts by eating up the decaying flesh that’s been left outside, which would otherwise become rife with bacteria and disease. Vultures are not likely to spread diseases to other creatures, but they do contribute great nutrients to soil through their droppings. So don’t judge these birds by their ugly exteriors; they’re the reason our highways are not overrun by rotting roadkill.
Since all the animals I wanted to mention already have been, I would instead like to nominate some select dog breeds, particularly breeds like Rottweiler, Doberman and Mastiff. These dogs get a really bad rep as being violent killing machines. That’s pretty unfair, though. Just about any dog will be violent if you raise it that way and abuse the f**k out of it. Just about any dog can be super friendly and loving if you raise it properly as well. Even Chihuahuas and Jack Russells, with reputations for trying to fight everything that exists, can be adorable and innocent if they’re raised and nurtured within a loving household.
So many dogs get a bad reputation just because of the media skewing things, and that’s not fair. Have you even seen the families that raise these “violent” dogs that end up on the news? Those people often look very clearly like troublemakers, with a few that are less noticeable in that regard. Instead of blaming dogs for their actions, blame the sh*tty owners who’ve turned dogs into that.
They are extremely interesting creatures who want nothing to do with you. Many species of terestrial/fossorial tarantulas that can die from falling literally 2ft to the ground or less. They are very, *very* fragile and rarely bite at all, and even then, **no-one** has ever died from a tarantula bite. Some females can live to **35+** years old with many hitting over ten years to twenty years easy.
If you see one in the wild, *please* leave it be. Some people find it funny to try and drown them in their underground homes or poke at them from afar, but its cruel, they aren’t hurting you.
(I am a tarantula keeper lol)
Gulls are actually really expressive and very social, so they’re fun to watch. Mature gulls in flight are quite beautiful over the ocean. The reason they go after people’s food is because people feed them.
Similar to bees, wasps are another creature that many humans tend to hate. Sure, it can be annoying to be stung by one or have to swat them away from your picnic goodies. But they are actually quite smart and are important pollinators. In fact, certain fruits, like figs, rely exclusively on wasps to be pollinated. These little creatures also work as great clean-up crews, as they happily feast on dead insects. So if you find yourself irritated by a wasp that managed to find its way into your home, please think before you go swatting it down. There might be some plants waiting for it, so if you can find a way to coax it back outside without killing it, the wasp (and the fig lovers of the world!) will thank you.
Alligators! So many get killed every year because they’re considered nuisance gators even if they’re not doing anything. Yes, of course they are dangerous, but they were here way before us, so we should respect them and their space. If an alligator bites or hurts someone, it’s usually because they decided to go up and try to pet it or ride or whatever. Or they ignored signs saying not to swim in waters where gators live.
Bats are my favorite animal and it breaks my heart that they’re always the scapegoat. Rabies? Bats. SARS? Bats. COVID? Bats. They’re very unlikely to pass on rabies, despite what that rabies copypasta might have you think because they die quickly from it.
Chihuahuas. They can be a handful when not raised right but if you do a good job training them then they are the absolute biggest sweethearts and loving dogs you could ever hope for. The ones that are trained poorly can be quite annoying and downright aggressive but that isn’t how the properly trained ones behave at all.
We hope this list is helping you open your eyes to the wonderful world of the animal kingdom, particularly animals that you might not have been too fond of before today. Regardless of how you personally feel about any of these creatures, our planet relies on them to carry out a specific purpose, so it’s our responsibility to make sure they do not go extinct. Keep upvoting the replies that made you reconsider your stance on any animal, and then let us know in the comments what your favorite underappreciated critter is!
Piranhas. Their bloodthirsty reputation was created as part of a PR stunt to make Amazon seem more interesting
Cockroaches. There are over 4,000 species of cockroaches, but only 30 of them are considered pests. This means that approximately 99.2% of cockroach species want nothing to do with human habitats.
Only the pest species spread diseases as well. Non-pest species don’t and have the important job of decomposing organic matter in the environment. Some of them look really cool too, like the Mardi gras cockroach
They’re fairly intelligent creatures for insects as well and are also highly sociable. Aside from the approximately 0.8% of cockroach species that are pests, cockroaches are important creatures to the health of the Earth and are also fairly interesting to study.
Note: this post originally had 31 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.