Follow TV Tropes


Badass Adorable / Real Life

Go To


  • Far, far too many individual examples to list, but chances are that a good percentage of mammalian, reptilian, and avian predators (in their infancy, at least) are strong candidates. Realize that, cuteness aside, any animal that hasn't lived a completely domesticated life has to survive in nature, fighting for food (not to mention having to kill it), protecting its young, and every once in a while, beating the hell out of something that wants to eat it. Cracked presents the six cutest animals that can (and will) destroy you.
  • Cats ARE Badass Adorable. Humans just notice the adorable part more often than the badass part.
    • Already acknowledged in ancient Egypt.
    • Some articles have described cats as not being truly domesticated. This makes sense. If your cat leaves home, he or she has a great chance of being able to survive in the wild hunting things like a furry little Rambo. Your chihuahua, not so much. note 
    • Advertisement:
    • From Cracked: There's their article about six cats more badass than you and most superheroes.
    • Sand cats, a particular variety of small cats found in the desert, and one that looks much like domestic cats. Just look at them! How could that not give off both a "badass" vibe and an "adorable" vibe at the same time?
    • There is a Eurasian species of "small" wildcat known as the fishing cat. This famous news article about a Russian family who owns one as a pet shouldn't leave any question as to why it qualifies as Badass Adorable: WARNING: Some images might upset you. Others you will want to hug.
    • There's a youtube video of a cat playing with a kid when suddenly an alligator shows up... and the cat scares him off. What does the gator do? He comes back with a buddy. What does the cat do? He swipes at both of them.
    • Advertisement:
    • This kitten. A video titled "Brave Kitten Stands Up to Dog". The kitten is tiny and cute, and the dog is really huge. More to the point, the kitten charges the dog at least once.
    • Domesticated cats kill more types of animals than any other cat species, even the biggest ones like lions and tigers. Domestic cats are very good at killing scorpions, to the point that, in places where scorpions are common, cats are kept around to kill them.
    • Mr. Murderbritches
    "I'm gonna pull this open, and..."
    "Run like Hell?"
    • Cats have been known to chase away BEARS.
    • This badass part is highlighted more in this bulletin where the housecat especially close to the child went Mama Bear on the dog to protect him.
    • You would probably not believe that the most successful wild cat of Africa (in terms of hunting), the Black-footed Cat, looks like a common house kitty with tiger stripes.
  • Dogs. They are adorable with their big eyes, ears, droopy/smiling faces and wagging tails aren't they? Well, some have been bred for herding livestock, hunting, rodent control, guarding, helping fishermen with nets, and pulling loads, in addition to their roles as companions. They can also serve as service dogs such as guide dogs, utility dogs, assistance dogs, hearing dogs, rescue dogs, and psychological therapy dogs provide assistance to individuals with physical or mental disabilities. Not to mention there are some pretty capable police dogs out there who sniff for bombs/drugs, chase after suspects, and can sniff out decomposing corpses. Easily the most badass of all are paratrooper dogs, as in a team of a human handler and a dog who are both military paratroopers and work in perfect unison.
    • Makes sense of course: dogs are the domesticated version of wolves, who are known to have incredibly powerful, bone-crushing jaws, ridiculous amounts of stamina, and hearing and sense of smell beyond human comprehension, and enough intelligence to work together and use surprisingly complex strategies to take down prey several times more powerful than themselves. Almost all dogs have at least some of these traits left over. Suffice it to say that most domestic dogs, including the smaller ones (barring such intense human manipulation as is seen in the chihuahua), are almost as tough as their wolf ancestors- and a few are even tougher. Even the most tame and lovable puppy dog has those instincts running around somewhere, waiting for the right trigger to bring it out. Which is why so many of them love to play fetch. They have been carefully bred for thousands of years to be as domestic as possible, but almost everyone has seen a loveable dog go absolutely Papa Wolf when he thought his family was being threatened. Recognition of this trait is an important part of responsible dog ownership.
      • If you ever want to be reminded of the power in the jaws of even a tiny dog, feed them a raw chicken wingnote  and remember that the bones in that wing are really no smaller than the bones in your fingers. How many times has a Big, Friendly Dog slurped your hand into its mouth and you got it back whole? It has nothing to do with the dog's inability to crush your bones.
    • See also these articles from Cracked. For a specific example, see the German Dackel/Dachshund. Yes, they look a bit like a sausage with short, stubby legs. Then you realize that the reason they look like that is because they were bred to fight badgers.
    • Shiba inus are small dogs who have recently gained popularity around the world for their cute appearance. While it isn't obvious at first glance, they were originally bred to hunt animals larger than themselves-including boars and bears. When put in homes with other dogs, their speed, aggression, and take-no-prisoners attitude have enabled them to dominate bigger dogs than themselves including pitbulls and rottweilers to become the alpha dog of the house.
    • Great Pyrenees are adorably fluffy Big Friendly Dogs who were bred to protect farm animals from wolves and other large predators.
  • Water Bears. Cute little kinda-arthropods-but-not-really that can survive anything from freezing solid to nuclear explosions to the vacuum of space.
  • Meerkats: When they band together, they can scare off the biggest and most dangerous predators.
  • Bumblebees. A lot of people erroneously believe them to be stingless, but the truth is they're just more easy going then their more dangerous cousins. But piss them off, and they are just as capable of fucking you up as any other species of bee. Honeybees have barbed stingers that cause the stinger and several organs to be torn out when the bee stings, killing the bee. However, bumblebees, like wasps, have smooth stingers and can sting you as many times as they like.
  • Jumping Spiders. They're tiny, fuzzy spiders with big eyes that are universally considered adorable, especially amongst spiders in general. They can also jump distances of 20 times their size, are amongst the most intelligent of arachnids, and can catch fast moving flies in midair, or even other spiders.
    • These harmless spiders have even been seen hunting black widows and brown recluses, two of the most feared spiders in North America. And most of the time, the jumping spiders win thanks to their speed and intelligence.
  • Hummingbirds. Tiny little balls of feathers and hyperactivity that live off sugar water and look like digital camera ads. They're also stupidly aggressive, and will chase birds ten times their size out of their territory. There's a reason why the Aztecs believed hummingbirds to be the reincarnations of their own warriors.
  • Eastern Kingbirds are songbirds that make up for their relatively small size with sheer aggression that can strike fear into the hearts of red-tailed hawks and even bald eagles. It's not uncommon for an Eastern Kingbird to be able to scare a large hawk or cat out of its territory, and some birds even ride on the animal they're chasing like a cowboy, hanging on with their feet. Also, their scientific name is Tyrannus tyrannus.
  • Chimpanzees and other apes can be pretty cute at times. They are also possess bone-crushing strength and incredible ferocity when threatened. Also, unlike most animals, they're smart enough to remember if someone's previously done something to make them angry. And to plan out how to get back at that person. A zoo chimpanzee once collected a bunch of rocks in his enclosure and then stocked them for later. Once visitors began to annoy him, he started flinging the rocks at them. Fortunately, his aim wasn't very good, so no one was hit.
  • Skunks are quite adorable if left alone. However, they tend to walk around rather boldly and have been known to stand up to bears and mountain lions, normally ending by sending the predator running with a face full of musk, and if they're smart they don't come back. If their spray fails, they can resort to tooth and claw fighting, and can seriously mess you up. And mother skunks are quite protective of their children, making them even more badass.
  • Painted wolves base their pack hierarchies around submission, resulting in puppy-like antics from just about the entire pack. What makes them noteworthy separate from other canines? 90% of their hunts end in kills - even lions only manage a measly 30%. And consider how they kill their victims. Does the term "live disembowlment" mean anything to you? Beware the Nice Ones.
  • Leopard geckos, more well-known for their easygoing nature as a pet, have a secret talent: they can kill scorpions larger than themselves.
  • Mongooses are known for regularly battling venomous snakes and scorpions. They also kill termites and live in their now-vacant mounds.
  • Velvet worms. Probably another Ugly Cute example, but they're soft and squishy things that crawl slowly over the forest floor on stubby legs. And are predators. That can kill prey the size of tarantulas. (They do it by spraying a sticky slime that quickly hardens into a net to trap their prey. And then they close in and eat the helpless prey alive.)
  • Tasmanian devils. They're pudgy, fuzzy little black critters with a perma-scowl who are infamous for their frenzied screeching and the sheer ferocity that they display when eating, not to mention having the strongest proportional bite of any living mammal.
  • Smaller birds of prey, like falcons and small hawks. The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest living thing on Earth, and dive-bombs aerial prey, killing them in mid-air. It will use this same technique to chase off other raptors several times its size. And while it's not all that common, they've been known to kill deer by divebombing and snapping their necks instantaneously.
  • Sea turtles, the Iron Woobies of the ocean, are among the few animals to be resistant to the poison of the Box Jellyfish, the most venomous creature in the world, which they regularly eat.
  • Badgers in general. They have cute little stripey-faces, stocky bodies, and also have razor-sharp claws and teeth which they can use to defend themselves (Though, normally, they will just try to burrow away. Those claws are mainly for digging, after all). Special mention goes to the Honey Badger, which has become a Memetic Badass due to its fearless nature.
  • Grasshopper mice. Grasshopper mice are Territorial, aggressive, and one of the few carnivorous mice. You read that right, these little guys hunt grasshoppers, worms, spiders, tarantulas, scorpions, and even other mice. They even howl at the moon to mark their territory and scare their rivals. Basically, they're wolves, in mouse form.
  • A lot of smaller predatory dinosaurs sometimes get this portrayal, particularly Velociraptor and its relatives, in light of the overwhelming evidence that they had feathers. They sure are adorable and fluffy looking...and they'll be flapping those big ole' wings of theirs to balance themselves as they disembowel and eat you alive...
  • Dolphins. Don't let their cute appearances and playful antics fool you, they are actually capable of killing sharks. Just to put you in the right mindset; You know how they're always smiling? They aren't smiling because they're that happy all the time, they're smiling because that's just how their faces look. Sound familiar? Not only are dolphins one of the few known mammals, aside from humans and bonobos, that will copulate for pleasure as well as breeding, but they're also the only other known thrill-killer in nature aside from the domestic housecat...
  • The orca is the largest species of dolphin, and it isn't called killer whale for no reason. Even great white sharks, already The Dreaded to humans, are afraid of them and for good reason (orcas kill them by holding them until they drown and then eat just their livers). Also remember that the name is backwards. They were originally known as "whale killers". WHALE KILLERS. Their scientific name is Orcinius orca. Orca means a kind of whale. Orcinius means "Realm of the dead". Their scientific name means "Whale of Hell". And HOW they kill whales? They torpedo themselves into their stomach.
  • Bearded Dragons. One of Australia's many lizard species, they're about 9 inches to a foot long, with a stubbly "beard" of soft bristles under their chin. Totally harmless, and indeed a popular pet with local lizard-fanciers. These things will eat Whistling Spiders — the Australian equivalent of Tarantulas. Fangs and all.
  • Yutyrannus huali. An early cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex that lived in Asia and was big as a rhinoceros, and its defining trait was that it was covered in feathers. Not badass flight feathers like an eagle (Velociraptor had those), but fluffy, downy feathers like a baby chicken. Of course, the cuteness/adorability potential of something that masses 1 tonne, stands 3 metres high, and has sharp teeth, however warm and fuzzy it might technically be, remains open to debate.
    • Now the Velociraptor hatchling in Jurassic Park, on the other hand, has much cuteness on board. But check back in six months or so.
  • Budgies, usually thought of as silly little cage-potatoes that whistle when you say "Who's a pretty boy, then?", are some of the most agile small birds on Earth. In the Australian outback, flocks of budgies regularly out-maneuver falcons at watering holes, so easily and confidently that they'll even stop to grab a quick drink ''in mid-chase''.
  • Flamingos. Oh sure, they look dainty and fragile but think about where they live; they don't live in big pretty blue lagoons like the media tells you, they much more commonly live in boiling crater lakes that are so hot and full of saline that very few other animals could ever survive in them. There's a reason the Ancient Egyptians thought these birds were phoenixes.
  • Squirrels, due to their sheer determination when attempting to raid bird feeders. Some species of squirrels are known for their tendency to attack and kill rattlesnakes!
  • Bears. Most of them just look like big, fluffy dogs (which is appropriate as aside from seals, canines are their closest relatives besides each other of course.) Seeing them in zoos can desensitize people to them especially polar bears and panda bears. The former are the most carnivorous bears by necessity and the latter are often underestimated but are all too willing to protect their young with fang and claw. People tend to think of herbivores as having weak jaws, but bamboo is actually incredible tough and takes massive jaw power to chew. One of the Chinese names for the giant panda is "iron-eating animal."
  • Koalas, which are not bears, are fuzzy little creatures that spend most of their lives napping, clinging to trees and eating leaves with easily the nutritional value of a small cardboard box (hence the napping - they don't get enough energy from their diet to be really active creatures for more than a short period every day). At the same time, however, when surprised or aggravated they briefly transform into a vicious flurry of claws while making a noise like demonic possession in action.
  • In New Zealand lives a parrot known as the Kea, or Nestor notabilis in Latin. And notable it is. At first glance, it just looks like a big green parrot. A very intelligent and curious bird colloquially known as "the clown of the mountains", keas are popular with tourists for their silly antics, though they can sometimes fly away with people's possessions. Keas are able to create and use tools and solve logical puzzles. But what they're mostly known for is the silly little quirk they have of attacking live sheep, just tearing chunks out of their flesh. They are also well-known for their ability to damage or even destroy cars and other vehicles with their beaks.
    • There have also been reports of Keas stealing money or documents from unsuspecting people.
  • Swans. While they don't look very tough, their wingbeats can physically injure a grown man. ESPECIALLY when they're angry.
  • Chickadees are tiny and very cute songbirds that look pretty frail at first glance. They don't migrate for the winter, and as it turns out, they don't need to. Chickadees actually have the ability to withstand and even thrive in the harshest, coldest blizzards that would make any person think twice about leaving their homes.
  • Weasels. Cute little faces, long skinny bodies, yet they can kill prey larger than themselves. There's a reason that Wicked Weasel is a thing.
  • Owls. Noctural birds of prey who are best known for having cute, appealing faces and the same hunting aptitude as eagles and hawks.
    • Particularly great horned owls. If you're in the woods at night and you hear one hooting, do NOT hoot back; this is challenging them for territory, and it may swoop silently down out of the night to deal with the interloper (i.e., you). If you're lucky, you'll catch a movement out of the corner of your eye and throw up your arm to protect your face, in which case the talons may easily go through your forearm. If you're less lucky, you'll catch a movement out of the corner of your eye and look up to see what it is, presenting your face …
  • Archerfish are small fish that are sometimes kept as pets. In the wild, they hunt flying or otherwise out of reach insects by squirting a jet of water at them. Not only do they have deadly accuracy while doing so, but they've been reported to hit targets from 5 feet away. And they can do this without surfacing from the water.
  • Pigeons. While their cuteness is often debated on, they've definitely accomplished plenty of badass feats. All pigeons are born with great speed, agility and the ability to find their way home from anywhere on earth. They were even war heroes at one point, braving harsh conditions and gunfire to deliver messages between armies in WWI and WWII.
  • The California and Rough-skinnned newts. Both are cute and docile, but are incredibly toxic. One newt may harbor enough tetrodotoxin to kill several adult humans. Here is a video of a California newt escaping after it has been eaten by a bullfrog.
  • The tufted titmouse is a funny little bird with a funny little name. It will also fearlessly steal the hair off passing animals (dogs, cats, humans...) and use it to line its nests.
  • Pythons. Constrictor snakes which are also known for their chubby noodle-bodies, round eyes, and tendency to coil up or curl around branches.
  • Therizinosaurs looked like something like chubby geese and were covered in fur-like feathers. They're also famous for having the longest hand-claws in history.


  • Alexis Goggins. A seven-year-old girl who saved her mother's life from a gunman by jumping in front of her—she took six bullets, and lived!
  • A lot of boot camp graduates can qualify as Badass Adorable. A lot of them are only 17, 18, or 19 years old at the time, so they can look just as adorable as any other young adult. And they fight wars.
  • Zoe Bell. Described in the script for Death Proof as "cute as a bug's ear Kiwi stuntwoman". Has doubled for such actresses as Uma Thurman in Kill Bill and Lucy Lawless on Xena: Warrior Princess. In Death Proof, she rides the hood of a speeding car, and roundhouses Stuntman Mike in the face, knocking him on his ass.
  • Kyra Gracie. Cute as a button, could take anyone in a grappling contest and walk away still looking perfect.
  • Ishikawa Rika once broke 12 concrete tiles with one blow from her bare hands, sure it turned out they were especially designed to break, but when Takahashi Ai tried to do the same thing on another show she failed miserably until she resorted to stamping on the stack instead.
  • Soldiers in The Vietnam War were warned about young girls selling items such as cold sodas in the street, who wore concealed explosives that they would detonate once enough U.S. soldiers got within range. Also the real purpose of most of the prostitutes.
  • This swordswoman. Calm, collected, precise... and she jumps for joy when she masters a sword stroke.
  • Cheerleaders. Studies have found that cheerleading can be more dangerous than even American football. Little to no padding, intense gymnastics, and intense competition cause there to be a higher risk for catastrophic damage than many sports. Plus they have to look good doing it.
  • Artistic gymnastics. No padding, doing amazing athletic feats that could (and has) lead to severe, career-ending injuries or permanent paralysis and even death. At the elite level, training comes first in life, up to eight hours a day, 5-6 days a week, even as a child and preteen. Many girls leave home to further their training (in the case of Chinese, Russian, and Romanian gymnasts, they live in a central training facility and rarely see their families). The effects of the pounding their bodies take day in day out leaves them with the skeleton of an osteoporotic sixty-year old. Their bodies have broken down by their early twenties, late twenties if they're lucky.note  They've likely have had multiple surgeries. The sport is synonymous with eating disorders and abusive coaches. Their only uniform is a skintight leotard. If they make it to the Olympics and are part of the four superpower teams (USA, China, Russia, and Romania), they'll be featured in front of an international TV audience of millions and have to keep cool under immense pressure, especially if they're the one who was built up to be the golden girl. They're generally between the ages of 15-18, with some exceptions.
  • Gina Carano. Cute, beautiful, seems to be on the verge of a giggle most of the time, and is a professional kick-boxer and mixed martial artist.
  • Audie Murphy: Just click through and look at the cute, apparently-teenaged boy wearing what appears to be his dad's, granddad's and uncle's medals, and then scroll down to learn that he earned them all himself, and the crazy things he did in the process.
  • This little girl who defends herself against an attacker in an elevator. She starts whooping him before the guy even touches her! And at the end, not only is he running away from her, this was his second attempt to flee, with her dragging him back inside the first time!
  • Nepali at least according to the national stereotype. No need to expound on that! Their knives sure ain't adorable.
  • Ronda Rousey: A gorgeous blonde who loves to talk about Pokémon... and wins MMA fights in under 20 seconds.
  • Most situations of Child Soldiers are rather heartbreaking, but the "Little Insurrectionist" statue commemorating young volunteers during the Warsaw Uprising against the German occupation is kinda cute, and definitely badass.


  • The Cessna A-37 Dragonfly, probably the smallest, cutest combat jet ever. It is still popular in the air forces of several Central and South American countries.
  • On a similar note, the AH-6 Little Bird is a teensy little attack helicopter that many US military special forces units like having for close air support. Some have nicknamed it the "Killer Egg" for it's bulbous, almost cartoony shape.
  • Mount Rainier looms over northwest Washington, including Seattle, Tacoma, and dozens of miles of Interstate 5. The picturesque peak is featured on most Washington license plates. Should it erupt, it will kill tens of thousands of people, destroy thousands of buildings, and cause billions—possibly trillions—of dollars of damage. There's a reason it's called the most dangerous volcano in the United States.


Example of: