10 Animals with Zero Survival Instincts


There are a lot of good reasons for an animal to have tusks. They can be used for defense, spearing prey, digging up roots, mating displays, and more. If there is an absolute worst reason for having tusks, however, it goes to babirusas, whose tusks primarily serve to kill the animals, slowly and painfully.

Some Sad, Sick Rats

We could argue that mice and rats have some of the best survival instincts of the animal kingdom. Homeowners can attest to how hard it can be to clean the pests out. But when mice and rats become infected by one specific parasite, they are literally mind-controlled into forgetting how to survive.

Steller’s Sea Cow

The order of mammals known as Sirenia currently consists of just two nearly identical animals: manatees and dugongs. But as recently as 1768, the group contained another member, a giant 30-foot version of the dugong known as the Steller’s Sea Cow. As slow, stupid, and overly trusting as manatees may be, the Steller’s Sea Cow was ten times worse, which led to its rapid extinction.


Unfortunately, due to habitat loss and competition with humans, cheetahs are now limited to just a few thousand individuals in a small fraction of their former territory. This has turned the cheetah gene pool into a puddle, to put it mildly. Modern cheetahs are inbred, and it has worsened their health and reproduction. To make matters worse, modern cheetahs do their very best to prevent scientists from saving them.


If you’ve never heard of a kakapo, that makes sense. There are only about 200 kakapos, or owl parrots, alive today. You can only find them on two small islands off the coast of New Zealand. The reason for their lack of success, aside from the obvious human activity, is that kakapos are too sweet, too dumb, and too defenseless.


Of any order, Hymenoptera contains the most examples of eusociality: the type of advanced, caste-based colony structure bees and ants are known for. These societies split members into reproducing queens (and related roles) and non-reproducing workers. Workers have no hope of reproduction, existing only to support the other caste(s), perform menial tasks, and die—sooner rather than later.


Pandas are descended from more traditionally carnivorous bears, and as a result, their guts are not properly equipped for their current bamboo-only diets. That forces them to spend nearly all of their time eating and digesting, both are which are usually done sitting to save energy. On top of their sedentary lifestyle, pandas are the poster children for terrible breeders.


Unlike many of the dud entries on this list, octopuses (not octopi) have a lot going for them; they’re some of the smartest animals on the planet, can regenerate limbs, and are masters of disguise. The problem with octopuses is that they have evolved one of the worst reproductive cycles in history.


You knew it was coming eventually. Sloths are so bad at life that they were named after a sin. Imagine if you knew someone named Gluttony; you’d be right in assuming they’re not exactly crushing it at life. But sloths don’t make this list for being slow, nor for being dirty, not even for taking a half-hour to belly-crawl across the road. No, sloths make the list for the way that they poop.


Killdeer are a type of wading bird native to North and South America. They earn the top on this list in a surprisingly straightforward way: adult killdeer are constantly trying to kill themselves.