Animals That Are Brave

There are a few animals, both wild and domestic, that we humans view as inherently brave. For example, when asked to think of a brave animal, many of us would automatically say ‘a lion’ because of their fierce and powerful reputation. 

Animals That Are Brave

However, there are many members of the animal kingdom that are braver than we give them credit for. 

Read on for a list of the top 8 bravest animals in the world. Some of these may come as a surprise!

1. German Shepherd

Dogs are known for being man’s best friend, and that’s partly because so many canine breeds are fiercely protective and loyal. None more so, however, than the German Shepherd.

The German Shepherd is high on our list of brave animals because of its strong temperament.

Combined with the impressive intelligence of the breed, the German Shepherd’s loyalty and determination drives them to protect their owners (and, traditionally, flocks of sheep) from danger.

German Shepherds are not afraid to put themselves between a person they are loyal to and a perceived threat. They have even been known to rush in and save people during disasters such as floods and earthquakes.

If they see something suspicious, they’re likely to go and check it out, which is why German Shepherds make for great police dogs.

2. Honey Badger 

The name ‘honey badger’ might not sound particularly bold or fearless, but trust us when we say that the honey badger is one of the bravest and most formidable animals in the wild. 

The Guinness Book of Records named the honey badger the world’s most fearless animal for a reason.

Despite not being particularly large, the honey badger is armed with sharp teeth and claws as well as very thick skin, which means it can hold its own in a fight without being injured. 

Because their thick skin protects them, honey badgers aren’t afraid to take on animals much larger than them. These animals have even been known to confront much larger predators, including lions. 

3. Tiger

The tiger is an animal you might have expected to see on this list. Tigers live up to their fierce reputation because of their physical power but also their determination when it comes to the hunt. 

Not only are tigers extremely strong (their paws can deliver blows with a force of around 10,000 lbs) but they don’t tend to back down from confrontations. That’s why we have phrases like ‘eye of the tiger’. 

With that being said, if a tiger doesn’t want to participate in a fight for whatever reason, they can use their strategic intelligence as a substitute for bravery, camouflaging themselves to stay hidden. 

4. Elephant 

Elephants are known for their sheer size, but in addition to being one of the largest animals on Earth, elephants are also one of the bravest.

You might not automatically think of elephants as brave animals because of their herbivorous nature, but predatory instincts aren’t the same as bravery!

Elephants might eat a diet made of plants, but if they feel threatened, they will use their tusks and their enormous weight to charge toward the threat and trample it. 

There’s a good reason why humans have used elephants in times of war: they’re both strong and courageous. 

5. Cape Buffalo

The cape buffalo is another herbivorous animal that is known for its strength and bravery. In fact, in parts of Eastern and Southern Africa, these buffaloes are known as ‘the Black Death’ because they have the potential to be very deadly. 

Apex predators may target cape buffaloes when the time comes to hunt, but the buffaloes are brave enough and strong enough to protect their young at all costs.

They can run extremely fast (35 miles per hour at full speed) and have sharp horns as well as surprisingly sharp teeth that they can use as weapons. 

If you’re still in any doubt as to the bravery of the cape buffalo, you should know that these buffaloes have been known to take on lions and win!

6. Polecat

6. Polecat

Polecats might not look particularly brave or dangerous from an outside perspective. After all, they’re quite small and weigh just 4.4 lbs. But don’t underestimate the polecat’s ability to stand its ground when it needs to. 

Polecats do have protective mechanisms such as releasing a pungent smell from its anal glands when it feels threatened. However, this doesn’t always deter predators.

Therefore, there are times when polecats need to be brave and stand up to larger animals (see also: Animals That Sleep Standing Up). Wildlife experts have observed these wild cats facing down as many as 3 lions at once! 

Female polecats also demonstrate bravery when it comes to members of their own species.

If a female polecat is pregnant and another male attempts to mount her, she will protect herself and her unborn cub by fighting off that male.

7. Hippopotamus

You probably already know that the hippopotamus is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa because of its large size, strong jaws, huge weight, and bad temper. 

Hippos are extremely territorial and will defend their territory at all costs if their personal space is invaded.

This is actually when most human deaths caused by hippos occur, although hippos have no problem attacking lions, crocodiles, and other hippos as well. 

8. Ostrich

Ostriches are commonly thought of as more shy and reserved animals because they prefer to turn away from confrontation most of the time.

However, if a male ostrich feels that its nest is being threatened, it will chase the source of the threat and kick it violently with its sharp claws. 

An ostrich will even take on larger, carnivorous predators such as hyenas and even lions when they feel that their space is being threatened. 

Final Thoughts 

You definitely shouldn’t judge a book by its cover when it comes to animals, no matter how small they are or how avoidant they might seem at first.

While some of the bravest animals on the planet are indeed large and fearsome looking, others, such as the ostrich, polecat, and honey badger, are mightier than they look. 

Olivia Kepner