Animals you did not know were poisonous

Quail are tasty and rodents are cute, but beware. They can also poison you.

Leslie Gornstein
Leslie Gornstein is a senior editor with CBS Interactive. For the past two decades, she's covered consumer and B-to-B tech; biotech; entertainment and various other subjects that seemed interesting at the time. She's the author of The A-List Playbook (Skyhorse) and she lives in Los Angeles.
Leslie Gornstein
1 of 21 Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Let's start with: This deceptively cute platypus

We all know and fear venomous snakes and spiders. But the animal kingdom slings poison through many other species, too.

Take the platypus. It's all kinds of cute, until you consider...

2 of 21 Disney XD/Getty Images

Don't piss off the platypus

...that males have ankle spurs that deliver a pretty nasty venom. The poison can kill a dog, or just deliver a whole lot of hurt to a human.

The moral: Don't piss off the platypus. Even the cartoon Disney kind.

3 of 21 Encyclographia via Wikipedia

Beware this shy, cute animal

So sweet. So vulnerable-looking. So, so not worth a trip to the hospital.

The loris' bite has been known to cause something close to a cat-dander-like allergic reaction in victims. However, with some of these mammals, the bites may do more damage than that.

4 of 21 Ed Wray/Getty Images

Slow loris: Watch the wild ones

In recently captured wild lorises, saliva and other secretions were found to contain batrachotoxins -- the same poisons found in dart frogs. The diet of a wild loris may include venomous creatures or poisonous plants whose toxins may be passed on in the mammal's bite.

5 of 21 De Agostini/Getty Images

This really cute fuzzy rat

Meet the bushy-tailed maned rat, native to East Africa. It sure is adorable, until you try to eat it.

6 of 21 Mousse via Wikipedia

Maned rats: Eat something else

The rat is known to deliberately smear its fur with poison from the bark of a tree called the Acokanthera schimperi. It also likes to chew on the tree, which is highly poisonous. As a result, anything that even tries to bite this critter can get sick or even die.

7 of 21 Said Khatib/AFP/GettyImages

This supposedly delicious bird

You've probably eaten one of these: It's a quail. You know. The kind they serve in fancy restaurants.

Beware wild-caught quail hunted during their migration season, though. If they've been munching on hemlock and you eat them, it's bye-bye liver, hello hospital.

8 of 21 Seb az86556 via Wikipedia

This seemingly harmless rodent

Meet the solenodon, a Pinocchio-nosed, shrew-like animal also known by the cutesy name of agouta. Don't let it bite you, because...

9 of 21 William B. Scott/Public Domain

Solenodons and their grooved teeth

There's venom in that cute little mouth. The poison is delivered through a grooved lower incisor, syringe-style. It won't kill a human, but if you run across one, handle it with gloves. That's what the pros do.

10 of 21 David Doubilet/National Geographic/Getty Images

This very OP shark

You'd think sharklike fish would be satisfied enough with sharp teeth and cold, terrifying eyes, but apparently not. Unlike almost all other sharks, the dogfish category, including this one, has a dorsal spine coated in venom.

It's considered to be mildly toxic to humans.

11 of 21 Steve Kagan/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

This wee bird

Despite the grin on this guy's face, holding this bird with your bare hands is a bad idea...

12 of 21 markaharper1 via Wikipedia

Pitohui: Spit it out!

The skin and feathers of some of these birds, called pitohui, are highly poisonous. That's because the birds dine on toxic beetles. In Papua New Guinea, where the birds live, the people won't eat the bird unless they're desperate, and then only after the bird has been properly plucked and skinned.

13 of 21 UIG/Getty Images

This disarmingly pretty octopus

How would an octopus even poison you? Glad you asked! It bites. And when it does, you'd better get help. Immediately.

14 of 21 UIG via Getty Images

Blue-ringed octopus? Swim away

This beautiful beast has enough toxic goo to kill 26 adult humans within minutes. The good news: The octopus can't nail you from a distance. Don't touch this animal and you'll be fine.

15 of 21 Boston Globe/Getty Images

This deceptively tiny shrew

The saliva of this rodent is toxic and kills prey via bite. The poison is strong enough to kill...

16 of 21 Accipiter via Wikipedia

Beware of shrews

...mice. Ditto with the water shrew, shown here. Humans generally don't die from these bites...but if a bite penetrates the skin, it will hurt. A lot.

17 of 21 Public Domain

This other harmless-looking bird

Yep: It's that poison-beetle diet in action again. Just don't eat one of these blue-capped ifrit birds and you'll be A-OK.

18 of 21 UIG/Getty Images

This charmingly petite fish

Chimaeras look like the star of any home fish tank. They might also be the only fish in your home fish tank if you get one.

19 of 21 National Geographic/Getty Images

Chimaeras: Watch out for the fin

Three words: Poisonous. Dorsal. Fin.

20 of 21 De Agostini/Getty Images

This really normal-looking goose

A goose? That's poisonous? If you're in sub-Saharan Africa, then yes. Don't bother cooking this native bird. Like the other birds on this list, it eats poisonous beetles. And in a high enough quantity, that poison is powerful enough to kill a person.

21 of 21 Barry Brown, UIG via Getty Images

This perfectly stationary 'coral'

It's quite admirable, the way that this sea ginger wrapped itself around a glass bottle and everything. But don't try to congratulate it. This animal, which looks like a coral but is actually closer to a jellyfish, has a venom that can cause a painful sting for a human.

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