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Christmas Gift Guide

Let's start with: This deceptively cute platypus

Don't piss off the platypus

Beware this shy, cute animal

Slow loris: Watch the wild ones

This really cute fuzzy rat

Maned rats: Eat something else

This supposedly delicious bird

This seemingly harmless rodent

Solenodons and their grooved teeth

This very OP shark

This wee bird

Pitohui: Spit it out!

This disarmingly pretty octopus

Blue-ringed octopus? Swim away

This deceptively tiny shrew

Beware of shrews

This other harmless-looking bird

This charmingly petite fish

Chimaeras: Watch out for the fin

This really normal-looking goose

This perfectly stationary 'coral'

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...

Caption by / Photo by Fairfax Media/Getty Images

...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.

Caption by / Photo by Disney XD/Getty Images

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.

Caption by / Photo by Encyclographia via Wikipedia

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.

Caption by / Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images

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

Caption by / Photo by De Agostini/Getty Images

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.

Caption by / Photo by Mousse via Wikipedia

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.

Caption by / Photo by Said Khatib/AFP/GettyImages

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

Caption by / Photo by Seb az86556 via Wikipedia

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.

Caption by / Photo by William B. Scott/Public Domain

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.

Caption by / Photo by David Doubilet/National Geographic/Getty Images

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

Caption by / Photo by Steve Kagan/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

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.

Caption by / Photo by markaharper1 via Wikipedia

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

Caption by / Photo by UIG/Getty Images

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.

Caption by / Photo by UIG via Getty Images

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

Caption by / Photo by Boston Globe/Getty Images

...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.

Caption by / Photo by Accipiter via Wikipedia

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.

Caption by / Photo by Public Domain

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.

Caption by / Photo by UIG/Getty Images

Three words: Poisonous. Dorsal. Fin.

Caption by / Photo by National Geographic/Getty Images

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.

Caption by / Photo by De Agostini/Getty Images

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.

Caption by / Photo by Barry Brown, UIG via Getty Images
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