Top 10 Plants and Creatures with the Most Painful Bite or Sting

This list focuses on plants and creatures with the most painful bites/stings.
The Top Ten
1 Gympie Gympie

Known as Dendrocnide moroides, the Gympie Gympie is a sacred plant found in Australia and has heart-shaped leaves. It even grows fruits. While it appears to be a normal plant, it is not something you want to encounter carelessly.

A sting from this plant delivers venom known as moroidin, which causes pain similar to being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted. Some have compared it to feeling like a giant is squashing them. Workers without protection have experienced severe irritation, along with nosebleeds, swelling, rashes, and even severe allergies. The spines that inject the venom are microscopic and sink into the skin but are extremely stable for years. The spines are made of silicon, causing years of pain that even recurs every time you take a shower.

There have been stories of victims killing themselves to escape the pain, which is why this plant is nicknamed the suicide plant. Despite all the nasty effects, caterpillars seem to be immune to its stingers and feed on the plant. This alone might deter you from ever wanting to set foot in Australia.

Additionally, the treatment for this sting involves pouring water with 10% hydrochloric acid on the affected area to break down the silicon spines and stripping it off with tape or hot wax. If you think that sounds bad, the pain of the actual sting is so overwhelming and engulfing that you probably won't notice increased pain. After all, it is ten times worse than anything else and is considered the king of stings, as far as we know.

2 Box Jellyfish Box jellyfish are cnidarian invertebrates distinguished by their cube-shaped medusae. Some species of box jellyfish produce extremely potent venom: Chironex fleckeri, Carukia barnesi and Malo kingi.

The box jellyfish is found in Australia and its sting is undeniably painful. It fires nematocysts from its tentacles onto the victim's skin, causing searing pain that lasts for days to weeks in survivors. It causes paralysis, stomach ache, headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, low blood pressure, tachycardia, severe cramps, and in the worst cases, death.

Yet it is the most venomous animal at sea. There is a subspecies called the Irukandji, which is much smaller than other types of box jellyfish. Its sting's full reaction is delayed by 20-30 minutes and slowly builds up, creating all those conditions in the form of Irukandji syndrome. No painkillers help and survivors must endure it.

Victims tell nurses to kill them because the pain is extreme. They moan in agony even when unconscious because the pain is unimaginable. It's something you don't want to mess with and something you'll never forget.

3 Southern Flannel Moth Caterpillar

The Megalopyge opercularis has many nicknames, such as the fire caterpillar in the Osa Peninsula, the furry puss caterpillar (as it resembles a cat), puss moth, asp in Texas and Italy, woolly slug, and is found in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Brazil, the U.S., and Europe. They're also seen in the U.S. and their cuddly looks hide a dark secret: their furry appearance is made up of urticating hairs that cause severe irritation to those in contact. Worse, beneath those hairs are venomous spines, and if you get a bunch of these, then for 12 to 120 hours, you'll be in excruciating pain that resembles broken bones or blunt force trauma combined with being burned.

The pain radiates throughout a large area and sometimes your whole body, and other effects include swelling, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, tachycardia, rashes, blisters, and sometimes chest pain, numbness, or difficulty breathing. Many victims end up in the ER after a sting from these. It's said the best treatment is to use tape or wax to strip the hairs and spines off (as the hairs and spines break off onto the victim after contact), and then use baking soda and antihistamines to relieve the itching and burning. However, time is the best method, so you'd have to ride it out for the full pain to subside.

There are stories that the pain from these stings surpasses that of the sting/bite of any wasp, ant, scorpion, snake, spider, and even jellyfish, which means it's rumored to be the record holder for stinging creatures. It's a reminder not to judge a book by its cover, because beneath the cuddly exterior hides perhaps the worst nightmare for those afraid of stinging creatures.

4 Crocodile Crocodiles (family Crocodylidae) or true crocodiles are large semiaquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. The term crocodile is sometimes used even more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia, which includes the alligators... read more

They're known to bite defensively with extreme force, measuring at 3,700 pounds per square inch (psi) or 16,640 newtons. They can bite through every tissue and even bone. Plus, they're more afraid of us than we are of them.

5 Executioner Wasp

The Polistes carnifex, or executioner wasp, is the largest neotropical paper wasp in the world and is noted as having one of the most painful stings among all known insects. It measures 1.5 inches long and is yellow with coppery stripes. It earned its name because it kills caterpillars and chops their heads off before taking them to their young.

A lucky encounter with one has shown to surprise victims quite extremely, as YouTube wildlife star Coyote Peterson found out the hard way. His experience revealed that its sting is far more painful than the long-time previous record-holder, the bullet ant, and even more extreme than the sting of the infamous Japanese giant hornet. The pain lasts for 36 hours with strong residual effects lasting almost a week. Although it does not cause extreme swelling, it is known that its venom burns a hole in the affected area due to necrotic proteins.

It has been said that its sting rivals the bite of any centipede if a victim receives a full dose of its venom. This is proven by the fact that just the tiniest nick from its stinger leads to unimaginable pain and agony that lasts 36 hours, with residue lasting for almost a week. Coyote Peterson described this as "flesh peeled back," which sounds akin to an ancient execution method known as skinning - a great coincidence given the wasp's name.

While there are no known human deaths following a sting, it has been shown that its venom is the most damaging of any known insect. Yet, it is an experience you will never forget.

6 Stonefish Synanceia is a genus of fish of the family Synanceiidae, the stonefishes, whose members are venomous, dangerous, and even fatal to humans. It is one of the most venomous fish known. They are found in the coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific.

The stonefish is found on Australia's coasts and is named for its stone-like appearance. It camouflages to hide from prey before ambushing them.

A sting from it injects venom that initially causes a pins and needles sensation, then tingling, and eventually cramping like never before. Just when you think the cramps are at their worst, a stabbing sensation that is extreme and radiates deep into the affected limb or body part occurs. You also feel as if you're being sledgehammered and kicked in the kidneys.

The pain is so extreme that victims often vomit and even pass out. Many wish to have their limbs amputated due to the severity.

Not only that, a sting can also cause nausea, dizziness, paralysis, tachycardia, low blood pressure, seizures, uncontrollable drooling, and, in severe cases, cardiac arrest and even death if not treated properly.

There's a ritual where a dancer acts like a victim and falls to their death, which illustrates the seriousness of these encounters.

Furthermore, these creatures even survive and camouflage in the sand. Once someone gets too close, they fire their stinger in an ambush style.

It's a creature that resembles a living nightmare.

7 Amazonian Giant Centipede

Known as scolopendra gigantea, they inhabit the Amazon rainforest and grow up to 30 cm, making them the largest centipedes in the world. Their bites are known to be extremely potent, likely the most painful in the Animal Kingdom.

Worse than any snake or spider bite, it would make the stings of bullet ants (which feel like gunshot wounds and are used in manhood initiation rituals by 12-year-old boys) feel like fire ant stings, which are trivial in comparison.

Coyote Peterson, who was bitten twice by the giant desert centipede (scolopendra heros), which grows to 20 cm, stated it made a bullet ant's sting feel like a honeybee sting. He said it was beyond his pain tolerance (which is much higher than the average person's) and that he almost vomited. If the bite of the desert centipede sounded extreme, the bite of the Amazonian giant centipede must feel like pouring lava into your arm, which is just ridiculously painful.

8 Giant Desert Centipede
9 Stingray

The creature that killed Steve Irwin with a sting in the heart is usually not very aggressive to humans. However, they won't hesitate to sting if threatened.

A sting from it involves a stab at the beginning along with bleeding. While the initial stab is painful, it's nothing compared to the true onset of pain that comes later. It injects neurotoxins, and the full reaction is delayed. Once it sets in, it's extremely painful, agonizing, and worsens over hours. It even causes severe cramping, muscle spasms, swelling, nausea, dizziness, and on occasions, death.

To remove the stinger requires surgery as it's barbed, breaking off the tail once it lands on you. Not only that, but like a cat scratch, it contains a lot of bacteria and can make you very sick, possibly to the point of death.

10 Platypus The platypus, also known as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania.

Found in Australia, the platypus has the beak of a duck and the tail of a beaver.

It looks cute and all, but don't be fooled. The males have a spur on the ankle that delivers venom to its prey.

While there are not known to be human deaths or even damage, its venom is known to cause extreme pain that can hardly be described and incapacitate a human for days to weeks, or even months.

While there are creatures with more painful bites or stings out there, this is surely a big deal.

The Contenders
11 Fire Coral

The fire coral is actually a hydrozoa, so it relates to the Portuguese man-o-war (which is often confused as a type of jellyfish).

It uses nematocysts to fire at prey, delivering venom that causes extreme pain, combined with rashes, along with swelling of the lymph glands and occasionally nausea and vomiting. Yet depending on how much contact, pain can become out of this world, which resembles fire (hence its name, also from the color).

Like the rest of coral reefs, it's in danger from dying as humans keep messing up our climate.

12 Bullet Ant

The bullet ant shouldn't be 14th on the list. It's painful, but not enough to be ranked so highly. It's nicknamed Paraponera clavata and is called the bullet ant because its sting is said by many to feel like a bullet wound. It's ranked as a 4+ on Schmidt's Pain Index and the pain lasts for 24 hours.

It is commonly used by 12-year-old boys of the Satare Mawe tribe, who are volunteered to wear gloves with 300 bullet ants stinging them repeatedly. This leads to unimaginable pain that builds up in waves and persists for 24 hours. They have to repeat it 19 more times after the first to become warriors, which makes the ritual seem almost impossible to succeed.

The effects the boys go through are severe: building waves of pain, blackness, extreme swelling, profuse sweating, flu-like temperatures, dehydration, tachycardia, paralysis, numbness, hallucinations, dry eye syndrome from excessive tears, sleep deprivation, and massive adrenaline rushes. Yet, Justin Schmidt described a single sting from the bullet ant as "pure, intense, brilliant pain, walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail embedded in your heel."

When YouTube wildlife star Coyote Peterson stung himself with the bullet ant, the stinger got stuck in his arm for five long seconds, delivering more venom than most victims get from a single bullet ant. He described it as being stabbed with a hot poker. As painful as this seems, it used to be the longtime record for the most painful known insect sting.

However, three known insects beat it: the Asian/Japanese giant hornet, executioner wasp, and flannel moth caterpillar, which are far more painful than either the sting of the bullet ant, giant hornet, or executioner wasp combined. Yet besides rattlesnakes, mambas, toe-biting water bugs, bark scorpions, Gila monsters, giant desert and Amazonian giant centipedes, executioner wasps, fire coral, platypus, large stingrays, stonefish, box jellyfish, flannel moth caterpillars, and the... more

13 Diamondback Rattlesnake A venomous snake species native to the southeastern United States, the Diamondback Rattlesnake is known for the diamond-shaped pattern on its back. It possesses a rattle at the tip of its tail, which is used to warn potential predators. It primarily feeds on small mammals and birds.

In the rattlesnake family, this snake's bite packs a serious punch. It delivers venom in such a high dosage that damages tissue, membranes, blood cells, and causes, you guessed it, pain.

It induces severe radiating pain that victims described as having a blowtorch burn inside their flesh or being branded with a hot poker that doesn't get released.

Its bite causes severe pain, extreme swelling, internal and external bleeding, profuse sweating, dehydration, dry mouth, and in some cases, necrosis, cardiac arrest, and if not treated properly, death.

It's something you do not want to mess with.

14 Gila Monster The Gila monster is a species of venomous lizard native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexican state of Sonora.

These are one of the most venomous lizards in the world. The name Gila is Indian for crazy.

It delivers venom passing around its teeth onto its prey, and human victims are typically latched on by it for 10 minutes. Yet one famous incident happened when YouTube wildlife star Coyote Peterson got too close for photographing it, leading to the bite. Despite lasting only a split second, it delivered unbearable pain he described as hot lava going through his bloodstream. Yet, he admitted the pain lasted for 8 hours before subsiding and that the treatment is to ride it out.

Deaths from it are rare though. It's important to know they are defensive and won't hesitate to bite or deliver its extremely unbearable pain.

15 Honeybee

Honeybees are the most common species of bees, including types known as Western honeybees (Apis mellifera) and Asiatic honeybees (Apis cerana), along with Africanized killer honeybees (Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier).

They are known for their striped fuzzy pattern and make honey by drinking nectar with their proboscis and regurgitating it many times until it is good to go. This means honey is essentially nectar in the form of vomit, which sounds gross. Despite that, it is useful for many people and helpful in nature.

There is a hive of bees, containing worker bees, drone bees, and the queen bee, the largest type of honeybee, measuring 1.5 inches long. Their sting is moderately painful, but many people try to stay away from these insects, except for beekeepers, who have the courage and skill to work with them and help them.

A sting from a honeybee contains venom with phospholipase and melittin, which is a cytotoxin, meaning it breaks down blood cells and the membranes around them, as well as causing clotting. It also contains enzymes, amino acids, apamin, and peptides, all of which burn tissue, leading to wounds. Additionally, it contains cardiotoxins, which destroy cells in the heart, meaning each bee sting raises your risk of cardiac arrest.

Yet that, and how common honeybees are, along with the risk of an allergic reaction, are reasons why honeybees are the second deadliest insects ever known to man, only behind mosquitoes. Along with the fact that their stingers are barbed, so they rip off the bees and stick onto the skin, continuing to pump more venom into the victim.

Entomologist Justin Schmidt used the honeybee as a reference for comparing other stings and ranked it as a 2, describing the Western honeybee as "Burning, corrosive, but you can handle it. A flaming match head lands on your arm and is quenched first with lye and then sulfuric acid." The Asiatic honeybee is also a 2 and is described as "Like a match head... more

16 Giant Hogweeds

This shouldn't be on here because hogweeds don't bite or sting. Instead, they are covered in chemicals that make you extra sensitive to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation, causing a reaction known as phytophotodermatitis, which is basically an extreme sunburn.

Now don't put poison ivy, oak, or sumac on here either because those don't bite or sting either. They are covered with an oily substance known as urushiol, which commonly causes an allergic reaction called allergic contact dermatitis to those in contact with them.

Stinging nettles do sting, though, as they have spines that inject venom onto victims, mainly consisting of formic acid.

17 Metricus Paper Wasp

The polistes metricus is known as the metricus paper wasp. It's dark brown with red spots, and eats wood to be put onto their saliva so they can make nests. A sting from one is a 3 and causes pain that lasts up to 15 minutes.

Update: Now this is 12. It should be lower because its sting is not more painful than that of a bullet ant, which is also incorrectly placed at 13, the giant desert and Amazonian giant centipede, fire coral, platypus, stingray, stonefish, box jellyfish, flannel moth caterpillar, and the gympie gympie. Those are WAY worse than this. This list is seriously messed up.

18 Shark Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha (or Selachii) and are the sister group to the rays. However,... read more

Shark bites are extremely forceful as they cut through muscles with their razor teeth, and can even slice through bones. However, bites are extremely rare.

My cousin got his leg bitten off by a shark while he was surfing. It was a very bloody scene. He's still alive but now uses a prosthetic leg.

19 Jack Jumper Ant

The myrmecia pilosula are famous in Australia for jumping and they have a bad reputation for causing allergic reactions in victims. Their sting was ranked by Justin Schmidt as a 2 and described as "the oven mitt had a hole in it when you pulled the cookies out of the oven."

20 Red Fire Ant

The solenopsis invicta are members of the species solenopsis, a member of the genus myrmicinae, and they are the most famous species of fire ants. They have spread worldwide through human commerce.

They typically invade open areas but can easily colonize human structures and agricultural systems, such as coffee and tea plantations.

They were described by entomologist Felix Santschi as a variant in 1916.

They are called fire ants because not only do they look red like fire, but they also have a mean sting. When swarmed together, they constantly sting victims, creating a painful sensation resembling fire. They release an alarm pheromone that signals others to sting the person, significantly increasing the pain and even the risk of infection.

When entomologist Justin Schmidt was stung by just one solenopsis invicta, he ranked it a mild but noticeable 1.2. He described it as "sharp, sudden, mildly alarming, like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch," referencing the shock of static electricity, which can surprise you when you get out of bed in the morning.

21 Hyena Hyenas or hyaenas are any feliform carnivoran mammals of the family Hyaenidae /haɪˈɛnᵻdiː/. With only four extant species, it is the fifth-smallest biological family in the Carnivora, and one of the smallest in the class Mammalia.

They roam through deserts, and even sneak up on campers, even at the least expected time, and bite them with extreme force repeatedly, causing extreme damage, and you guessed it, pain. Plus, they do it until the victims are dead until they eat them to prevent injuries to themselves.

They often bite people's faces and eat the soft tissue, then the mouth, breast, and the groins.

22 Slow Loris Found in Southeast Asia, this small primate is notable for its slow movements and distinctive facial markings. It possesses a gland near its elbows that secretes a toxin, which it can spread through its bite. Due to its cuteness, it is unfortunately often illegally traded as a pet.

To make matters worse, the slow loris also has a venomous bite.

23 Green Mamba

It's a mamba that's green and has a venomous bite, causing extreme burning pain that radiates through the body. This pain leads to respiratory problems, dropped blood pressure, and sweating. If not treated properly, death can occur.

24 Timber Rattlesnake

Like all vipers, this snake delivers a potent bite with powerful venom and causes severe pain, extreme swelling, internal and external bleeding, profuse sweating, dehydration, dry mouth, and in some cases, necrosis, cardiac arrest, and if not treated properly, death can occur after a bite.

If you see a venomous snake, be wise and keep a safe distance and don't provoke fear as that'll only trigger it.

25 Deathstalker Scorpion

The Deathstalker is the most venomous scorpion of all, and also the deadliest. Human fatalities have been reported with these stings. Not to mention, their stings are incredibly painful and scary. The Deathstalker truly lives up to its name.

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