13 Creatures With The Most Horrifying Mandibles

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Vote up the most nightmare-inducing images.

There is something deeply unsettling about the terrifying mandibles that insects use to devour their prey. Maybe it’s the powerful bite force combined with the alien shape that make these weird insect mouths so horrifying. Whatever the reason, few thoughts are scarier than the notion of being caught in the armored jaws of a hungry bug.

The animal kingdom is full of creepy critters with powerful bites, and their scary mandibles have been the inspiration for countless horror movies. Humans seem to have a collective phobia when it comes to bug bites, and for good reason. Not only are they painful, but there are many horrifying and debilitating diseases that can be passed with a single bite.

Some insects have venomous bites, while others choose to swarm their victims and attack all at once. Maybe the smallest animals on Earth are compensating for their tiny stature. Based on some of these images, they're finding great success.

Photo: fir0002 / Wikimedia Commons / GFDL 1.2

  • Japanese Giant Hornet
    Photo: onezilla / Foter / CC BY 2.0

    Japanese giant hornets are not only scary, they're actually deadly. In 2013, as many as 42 people were killed in China by these venomous insects.

    The giant hornets of East Asia are the largest and most aggressive in the world. They are known to raid bee colonies, and just a few of these hornets can take down a colony of 30,000 bees. Giant hornets are five times as large as the average honey bee, and their wicked mandibles can easily bite a bee in half. They like to raid colonies and steal the babies to feed to their own larvae.

    95 votes
  • 2
    105 VOTES

    Australian Bull Ant

    Australian Bull Ant
    Photo: Matt Inman / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Australia, the continent where anything and everything has the potential to kill you. Not only do you have to contend with deadly snakes and drop bears, but you also have to deal with these horrifying ants.

    Australian bull ants go by several names, all of which are synonymous with terror. These tiny monsters are found in both rural and urban environments. They are very territorial and will use their impressive mandibles to attack anything that approaches their nests, and will even follow intruders. Not only do they have a painful bite, but they also have stingers that can inject venom into their victims.

    105 votes
  • 3
    90 VOTES
    Camel Spider
    Photo: RudiSteenkamp / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Some might find the camel spider repulsive, but its massive cheeks almost make it kind of cute. Camel spiders are a species of non-venomous arachnids that are native to the Middle East. There are a lot of nasty rumors about these creatures, like that they can grow to be a foot long and feast on the flesh of camels. This is not the case, as they grow to a maximum of six inches and feed on much smaller animals. Still, this spider is an impressive predator that can take down rodents, lizards, and even small birds. Their bite is said to be incredibly painful, so it's best to avoid these guys if you can.

    90 votes
  • 4
    73 VOTES

    Bullet Ant

    Bullet Ant
    Photo: Michael Branstetter / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0

    The bite of the bullet ant is believed to be one of the most painful experiences of all time, and researchers have purposefully been bitten to study them. One researcher described the bite as “pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a three inch nail embedded in your heel.” Yikes.

    These critters are native to South America, where they can freely roam with no fear of anybody messing with them. They secrete an intense venom that only amplifies the pain of their bites. This powerful bite allows them to go out in the open where it might be dangerous for other insects, and gives them a tremendous advantage when it comes to foraging for food.

    73 votes
  • 5
    67 VOTES

    Chinese Bird Spider

    Chinese Bird Spider
    Photo: birdspider2008 / via YouTube

    The Chinese bird spider is actually the name given to several species of tarantula. These arachnids are highly aggressive and will bite humans unprovoked. They produce an extremely venomous neurotoxin that is powerful enough to kill small animals like rodents and birds with a single bite. The venom can be fatal to humans, and can cause symptoms like paralysis and nerve damage. These massive tarantulas can grow to be eight inches long.

    67 votes
  • 6
    79 VOTES


    Photo: Jonathan Numer / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    This fuzzy little demon is an antlion larvae, which looks almost nothing like the adult. Antlions are known more for their larval stage than their fully grown form due to their incredible predatory instincts. Like the name suggests, juvenile antlions survive by preying on unsuspecting ants. They are known to make burrow-traps, waiting underground until a tasty morsel walks by. The shape of the hole causes insects to lose their footing, so they slip and tumble directly into the antlion's waiting mandibles.

    79 votes