A Victorian Book of Deadly Animals

I hope The Book of Deadly Animals doesn't look so hilarious in a century. Thanks to Dan and Croconut for pointing me to this article.

This gruesome 1889 biology book outlined the many ways animals will kill us

"In J.W. Buel's 1889 book Sea and Land, the author laid out delightfully quaint illustrations of the Earth's flora and fauna. Many of these pictures detailed the myriad hilarious ways the animal kingdom eats humans, with creatures like the Japanese spider crab receiving a homicidal bad rap. Here's a selection of doom and gloom from the Victorian era. "

The kick to the gut--an orangutan's most notorious tactic. 


  1. I still cringe at the plesiosaur one...

  2. Somebody was seriously confused about prehistory there . . .

  3. Some of them--actually, quite a few--have at least a kernel of truth to them, although badly executed and embellished (I'd say the rhino and shark ones are, in substance, pretty much on-target; the squid and orang ones have some foundation, if not quite so lurid as portrayed and I'm not totally sure how an orangutan is supposed to ninja-kick someone to death) however, apart from mixing plesiosaurs with Cro-Magnons, my favorite howler is the robber crab catching the goat.

    1. Now that I think about it I've never heard of an orangutan actually killing someone, so I don´t know how they would go about it... I mean, chimpanzees find it very easy, but they're a different beast altogether... orangs seem very awkward on land. I wonder how exactly would they proceed if they really wanted to kill a human...

    2. All the orang attacks I know of involve biting. I'm not sure they even know an effective way to kill large animals.

    3. Good point... actually in the novel I recommended to you, Life of Pi (I guess the movie is already in teatres in the US, but I don´t know how similar to the book it ended up being), there's actually a fight between an orang and a hyena, and the orang loses not because it was weaker but rather because unlike the hyena, it didn´t know HOW to kill its opponent.

    4. My wife is a big fan of director Ang Lee, so I imagine we'll be seeing that movie soon.

  4. Oddly enough, the book contains a pretty accurate illustration of robber crabs, in addition to that preposterous one:


Post a Comment


Show more