Fear that we're going to end up eaten or brutalized by a creature of a lower order plays a part in a number of urban legends about animals. In the back of our minds lurks the realization that we could end up some brute's dinner or that the streak of wildness which runs through even domesticated creatures could suddenly surface, turning trusted companion or docile farm animal into rampaging beast. We live among them, we dominate them, but we don't trust them.
Adding to that sense of unease is our awareness that the wild kingdom carries on its everyday business only steps from where we live, work, and play. Untamed creatures often invisibly co-exist with humans in urban spaces, and even bustling centers of humanity prove no bar to beasts of all descriptions.
These legends remind us to stay alert and to exercise proper levels of caution when dealing with all manner of animals or when intruding upon the habitat of wild creatures.
Elephant kills zookeeper by defecating on him.
Seeing eye dog named Lucky causes the deaths of four of his owners.
Stunned animal dressed up for a photo gains revenge on his tormentors.
Palm Beach golfer devoured by large crocodile.*
Abused goat kills its owner.*
Photo opportunity involving a bear and a honey-smeared child goes horribly wrong.
Turtle who carries scorpion across river learns fatal lesson about innate nature.
Child mauled by shark his uncle had fighting on a line for two hours.
Man is killed by an elephant he mistakes for one he aided years earlier.
A megalodon capsized a South African fishing vessel in April 2013.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has issued a polar bear warning.