Unexpected encounters with killer animals

As much as we'd love to think of animals as our four-legged friends, the fact is that some animals just belong in the wild. Violent, feral instincts can easily overcome training, and as the following people learned, getting up close and personal with some of the world's most dangerous animals only proves that it's their world, and we're the intruders.

Shark breaks into a dive cage

This shocking shark attack was captured on October 4, 2016, near Guadalupe Island, about 150 miles off the coast of Mexico. It was filmed by the owner of a tour boat that takes guests out and lets them view great white sharks up close and personal from the safety of a dive cage. But safety, it seems, is relative.

When a massive great white appeared, it was business as usual for the crew. They lured it in closer with a hunk of tuna on a rope, so the shark would come close enough for the person in the cage to reach out and touch (although nobody actually does that, hopefully). Normally, the crew won't let the shark reach the bait—that way, the sharks don't get accustomed to an easy food source. But this time, the presumably very hungry shark lunged too quickly and smacked up into the side of the cage. Sharks can't swim backward, so the only way the shark knew to get away was to power straight forward—straight through the bars.

At this point in the video, the shark disappears under the water, and then it lunges to freedom out the top of the cage. At that point, one of the other guests asks, "Is anybody in there?" There are a few tense moments where nobody seems sure of the answer, and then a diver surfaces, shaken but unharmed. According to the video's description, the woman in the cage was an experienced instructor, and not a guest. The shark made a complete recovery.

Python pulls a Kenyan farmer into a tree

In 2009, a farm manager named Ben Nyaumbe was going about his duties in Kenya's coastal Malindi region when he "stepped on a spongy thing." To Nyaumbe's dismay, that spongy thing turned out to be a massive, 13-foot-long python that immediately latched onto Nyaumbe's leg and pulled him to the ground. Nyaumbe struggled, but the snake tightened its grip and began to drag the man across the ground and up into a tree.

Wrapped in the python's crushing coils, Nyaumbe managed to wrap his shirt around the snake's face so it couldn't bite him. But he was still suffocating, still struggling, still dangling from a tree in the grip of a monster twice his size. The battle lasted an exhausting three hours — at some point during the struggle, Nyaumbe bit the snake, which made the python loosen its grip enough for Nyaumbe to tug his phone from his pocket and call for help. Police arrived on the scene, but they couldn't shoot the snake because it was wrapped so tightly around Nyaumbe. Instead, they looped a rope around Nyaumbe and the python, and used it to drag them both out of the tree.

Ben Nyaumbe survived the snake attack, and we're pretty sure nobody will ever top his story at dinner parties.

Mauled by a grizzly bear

Timothy Treadwell was a documentary filmmaker who spent 13 years living with grizzly bears in Alaska. In his book Among Grizzlies: Living With Wild Bears In Alaska, Treadwell said that his love for the deadly—but misunderstood—beasts began with a heroin overdose. Desperate to escape his addiction, Treadwell moved to Alaska, pitched a tent, and began a new life surrounded by furry danger. He spent the next decade-plus studying the grizzlies and—in his own words—earning their trust and acceptance.

Unfortunately, a life too close to the fire inevitably results in third-degree burns. In October 2003, his 13th year with the grizzlies, Treadwell was camping in Alaska's Katmai National Park with his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, when they were attacked by one of the grizzlies. A camera captured audio of the entire attack, although there's no video because the lens cap was still on the camera. But apparently, the audio was enough. According to police, it was a gruesome six minutes of near-constant screaming, before the camera abruptly ran out of tape. And they were still screaming when the camera stopped.

From what investigators have been able to piece together from the audio, the attack went something like this: Treadwell and Huguenard were in their tent when they heard a bear approach outside. Treadwell stepped outside to "talk" to the bear—calm it down and convince it that they weren't a threat. Treadwell had done the same thing with other bears for over a decade. Something went wrong, though, and the bear attacked. Treadwell began screaming for Amie to run. For several minutes he screamed, and then his screams began to fade — the bear was dragging him away. With nothing short of pure horror, Amie Huguenard realized that she was alone in a tent at night in the middle of grizzly territory. Her screams reached a fever pitch, and that's when the bear came back to finish the job. The tape ends there.

Werner Herzog later immortalized Treadwell in his documentary Grizzly Man, giving the world an intimate look into the life—and death—of the man who dared to live side-by-side with the king of beasts.

Alligator drags down a swimming boy

The largest alligator ever recorded was over 15 feet long and weighed more than 1,000 pounds. That's big enough to kill a cow without so much as a surprised moo, so imagine you're swimming and one of these dinosaurs suddenly appears in the water. Unfortunately, that horrifying scenario does happen in real life, although rarely. In June 2003, a 12-year-old boy named Bryan Griffin was playing in the Dead River in Florida with his friends. The boys saw plenty of alligators in the water, but that's just how it goes in Gator Country—each time they saw one, they'd just get out of the river until it moved on.

As dusk approached, the boys spotted more alligators moving in and scrambled out of the river, yelling at Bryan to follow them. But the 12-year-old didn't move fast enough. According to the other boys, a 10-foot-long behemoth surged out of the depths and yanked Bryan under the water. The alligator breached the surface once with the boy in its jaws, then disappeared. Bryan's body was found floating in the river 25 minutes later, and he was pronounced dead later that night.

Gorilla goes on a rampage through a zoo

Few things could be more terrifying than an enraged gorilla bearing down on you, especially if you have nowhere to run. Seriously, watch these things charge. That was the horror story that unfolded in 2014, when a 300-pound western lowland gorilla named Jabari escaped his enclosure at the Dallas Zoo. While the zoo guests screamed and tried to get out of the way, Jabari took off for the Wilds of Africa exhibit, leaving a trail of carnage in his wake. He snatched up one three-year-old child and threw the boy's mother against a stone wall.

The next person Jabari attacked was Cheryl Reichart, who was cowering in the aviary with a group of kids. Reichart tried to put herself between the kids and the rampaging gorilla, and when they tried to leave the aviary, Jabari charged. He picked up Reichart and shook her, then bit her on the arm. It took zoo officials 40 minutes to finally track down the gorilla and shoot him. Only four guests were injured, but it must have been a terrifying experience for everyone involved.

Leopard attacks a village in India

Deep down, we all know that house cats are just miniature versions of their deadly cousins. Every time Bootsie pounces on a plastic lizard, we can picture a bigger cat doing the same thing in some dark, steamy jungle where the call of the wild is the only law and death can come from any and all directions.

But in the rural districts of the Indian state of Maharashtra, you don't have to imagine anything. According to Conservation India, leopards there killed more than 200 people between 1999 and 2005 alone. The place is infested with leopards and, like the video above shows, they can come out of anywhere … even the roof of a house. Captured in 2004, the video shows a leopard frantically running over the rooftops and through the streets of Ballarpur City in Maharashtra. Terrified residents cower in doorways and behind walls, no doubt praying that the enraged leopard doesn't come their way for if it does, there's literally nothing that can stop it.

During the course of the video, the leopard leaps from rooftop to rooftop, lunging after everyone it sees. A second later, it's already scaled a two-story wall to the alley below. One brave man shuts a gate on it, so the leopard whips around the other way and disappears into a house, where all you can hear are things crashing and clanging like a Marx Brothers skit from Hell.

Unfortunately, it's not an isolated event. In another incident, a leopard parkours its way into an Indian school, leading to some horror-film CCTV footage of the leopard stalking the empty school halls. Yet another video shows a leopard bringing people down with straight-up Assassin's Creed combos. So … maybe start giving Bootsie a little more respect from now on. Because you never know.

Zookeeper killed by wolves

In June 2012, a zookeeper in Sweden was attacked by a pack of wolves and killed. While zoo animals have a long history of attacking—and often killing—their handlers, this particular attack came as a surprise because, according to CNN, the unnamed zookeeper had raised the wolves since they were pups.

Apparently, the attack came out of nowhere. The woman regularly visited the wolves to "maintain contact," a way of keeping the wolves familiarized with her. It was all part of the day-to-day job. But for whatever reason, that day turned out violently different. There were eight wolves in the enclosure and, by the time the woman's coworkers realized that something was wrong, she was already dead. It took even longer for medical workers to get her body out, since (quite understandably) nobody wanted to go anywhere near the wolves.

Elephant destroys everything on an Indian street

Every year, families in Kodungallur, a small village in western India, gather at the Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple for an annual festival marked by celebration and a parade of brightly costumed elephants through the village center. This video is a glimpse of how the festival is supposed to happen: loud drums, clapping spectators, and a stately line of elephants forming the main attraction.

The video above, however, is a glimpse of how such a festival can go very, very wrong. In 2016, one of the elephants decided it didn't want to play ball anymore. For unknown reasons, the elephant went berserk, breaking out of line and rampaging down the street, barreling straight through everything in its way. It's a terrifying look at the real power lying under the surface of these normally gentle giants. Have you ever seen an elephant pick up a motorcycle and fling it into the air? How about picking up an entire truck and smashing another truck with it? Even worse are the two men clinging desperately to the elephant's back while shards of transportation fly all around them.

Nobody could bring the elephant under control for several hours, but luckily nobody was hurt, despite all the vehicles the elephant destroyed. Good for you, elephant, and extra badass points for keeping that frilly yellow headdress on the whole time.

Lion kills woman on a safari

In 2015, 29-year-old Katherine Chappell visited South Africa to volunteer with animal rescue workers. You might not recognize her name, but she was part of Scanline VFX's special effects team that won an Emmy in 2004 for the Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones. While on a safari through Lion Park in Johannesburg, a lioness spotted Chappell's open window and sauntered up to the car. That was the moment that the man in the car behind Chappell, Ben Govender, took a photo of the lioness rising up to rest its paws on the windowsill.

After that, all hell broke loose. The lioness bit Chappell on the neck before backing away, then lunged again and slashed Chappell with its claws. The driver of the car, who was in charge of the tour, dove over and punched the lion to get it off the car. By then, though, it was too late. Chappell was "bleeding profusely from the neck," and died before an ambulance was able to get her out of the safari park.

Cassowary attacks a man in Australia

Quick: name the most dangerous bird in the world. If you said "cassowary," you're a smart man/lady (or, you read the entry title). If you didn't say cassowary, we'll break it down in the simplest terms possible: The cassowary is a modern velociraptor that evolved prison shanks for feet. It uses these shanks to stab you in the back when it catches you. And it will catch you. With a top speed of 31 mph, a cassowary always catches you.

Cassowaries don't typically attack people unless they're provoked, but when they do attack, they're merciless. A man in Queensland, Australia, found that out the hard way in August 2016, when a cassowary attacked him and left him covered in cuts and bruises. Authorities guessed that the bird had become accustomed to people in the area feeding it, so when the man didn't have any food, the spoiled cassowary got mad and tried to take him down.

Just a week after that attack, another cassowary in Queensland showed up at an elderly man's hope and tried to bust its way inside. Basically, this is one bird you don't want to mess with.

Leopard climbs through a car window

Whenever a wild animal wanders into a town or village, the first course of action is to safely get the animal out of the way and relocate it back into the wild—preferably without hurting it. That was the plan with this leopard, which had been killing farm animals in central Kenya before wildlife rangers captured it and transported it to the Lake Nakuru National Park. Usually, the transported animal is just scared and tries to get away as fast as it can, but this time was different.

After getting a safe distance away from the truck, the rangers opened the cage to let the leopard go on its way. When the leopard refused to leave, Alexander Rono, a ranger with 28 years of experience with Kenyan wildlife, tried to coax the cat out of the cage. And by coax, we mean he leaned out the truck's driver's side window and poked it with a stick. The leopard, you'll be positively shocked to hear, didn't like that. After trying to attack the stick, the leopard surged out of the cage and tried to get at Rono, swiping through the half-open window at Rono's face and chest. Rono tried to roll up the window, but in his panic he accidentally rolled the window down instead. The leopard leaped halfway into the truck, fully intent on murdering the guy inside.

Luckily, Rono was able to shove the big cat away with his foot and the leopard finally took off into the brush, leaving Rono with nothing worse than horrible scars to remember the experience. It just goes to show that, as much as we think we run this planet, we've still got nothing on a pissed-off cat.