Nature’s Moodiest: Top 5 Grumpy Animals

We can all get a little grumpy now and then, but these five animals take crabby to a whole new level!

Oct 5, 2023By Amy Brannan
grumpy animals

Some animals just need space, and these five notoriously grumpy species come in right at the top of the list!

The ill-tempered honey badger, the odorous wolverine, the toothy Nile crocodile, the poop-flinging hippopotamus, and the cantankerous water buffalo - be sure to give these animals a wide berth!

The Honey Badger

honey badger
Image credit: Free Stock photos by Vecteezy

Native to Africa and Asia, this bad-tempered carnivore may look unassuming, but if something gets too close, the honey badger pulls no punches. This member of the weasel family may max out at thirty-five pounds, but it is known to take on lions and hyenas that step too closely to the entrance of its den.

Honey badgers have one-and-a-half-inch long claws they use to dig burrows, but they make a formidable weapon against trespassers. And with teeth capable of cracking open a tortoise shell, the honey badger gives any intruder a bite to remember!

Researchers believe that one of the reasons that the honey badger goes from zero to sixty so quickly is its poor eyesight. While digging with its nose to the ground, the honey badger often gets taken by surprise by anything that comes within range, and its poor eyesight leaves no time to determine whether someone is a friend or foe.

The Wolverine


Ask anyone to name one of the grumpiest animals on Earth, and someone will undoubtedly mention the wolverine. Another member of the weasel family, the wolverine, like the honey badger, punches above its weight when facing down competition for food or territory.

The wolverine weighs up to fifty-five pounds and has paws close to five inches across with semi-retractile claws. What makes the wolverine even more dangerous is its incredible stamina, uncharacteristic strength, and the ability to run up to thirty miles an hour. The skunk-like odor they release adds insult to injury.

One proposed theory for the wolverine’s aggression is that as a native of the frozen territories of Alaska and Canada, it can’t afford to lose a kill. Accounts of this small but mighty scavenger defending food against wolf packs, cougars, and bears prove how much of a driving factor hunger is for the wolverine.

The Nile Crocodile

nile crocodile

Reaching up to twenty feet long, the Nile crocodile is the most aggressive crocodile species, and is known to take down a fully grown hippopotamus! Sometimes weighing over a thousand pounds, Nile crocodiles use their strength, size and comfort in the water to their advantage when attacking large prey.

Some believe that competition from other crocodiles has forced the Nile crocodile to become more aggressive. Others think that aggression is a natural consequence of the Nile crocodile’s increase in size over the years. Either way, step one foot wrong on the bank of the Nile, and you stand a good chance of becoming a meal for an alligator.

The Nile crocodile has no predators except man, but more often than not, man becomes the prey rather than the predator. It is recorded as killing an average of three hundred people annually!

The Hippopotamus


The hippopotamus is a four thousand pound killing machine when angered, and unfortunately, this semi-aquatic creature is quick to anger. The hippo is very territorial, and anything coming between a hippo and the water, a male and a potential mate, or a mother and her calf, stands a good chance of being charged.

The hippo has a bite force of around eighteen-hundred PSI – enough to snap a crocodile's spine – and it will not hesitate to use that force to defend against any perceived threat. Combine that bite with foot-long incisors and the ability to run nineteen miles an hour, and the hippo is a force to reckon with.

How close is too close for a hippo? If you see a hippo yawn, you are too close! Yawning is the first sign of aggression and a clear sign to back off!

The Cape Buffalo

water buffalo

Known for being one of the most dangerous animals in the world, the Cape buffalo can be unpredictable and exceptionally aggressive. The largest savannah-dwelling buffalo species, the Cape buffalo can weigh up to two thousand pounds with thick horns that span forty inches.

The cape buffalo naturally has an irritable personality and is very unpredictable. All it takes is for a cape buffalo to perceive a threat, and it locks on to its target with determination. Cape buffalo also become aggressive when other herd members feel threatened or when something dares come between a cow and her calf.

To add to its formidability, this bovine species generally travel in packs of up to one hundred, and when one buffalo charges, they all charge. A hundred cape buffalo running at speeds of up to thirty-seven miles an hour is a terrifying sight, even to a lion on the hunt.

Amy Brannan
By Amy Brannan

Affectionately referred to as “Snow White” by family and friends, Amy has always connected with animals of all species. In addition to being a lifelong dog mom, Amy has nursed possums, chipmunks, rabbits, and squirrels back to health - much to the chagrin of her black Labrador, Jet. When she is not caring for her animals, Amy advocates pet adoption and educates others on the joys of senior dog ownership.