Hi, were you looking for some nightmare fuel? Happy to oblige!
The harpy eagle is the largest eagle on the planet, and it’s by far the scariest to look at.
These strange, enormous birds go viral on social media on a regular basis, and that’s because they do not look like something that should exist IRL on this planet. Instead, they look like something that Stephen King dreamed up for his latest book. Or maybe something that your most creative friend wears on Halloween night. Or a Pokémon.
“It looks like a person wearing a costume,” one person commented on a Reddit post about it.
But no, the harpy eagle is very much a real animal, one you will probably never encounter one in person unless you deliberately seek one out. They live in the rainforest throughout Mexico, Central America and South America. They’re most common in Brazil, and they make their nests about 150 feet above the ground.
Due to habitat destruction, the harpy eagle is becoming increasingly rare. There are now fewer than 50,000 left in the world.
Other than its impressive size, the harpy eagle is also made distinct by the double crest on its head, which makes some birds look like they’re wearing an evil crown. Kings of the underworld, perhaps?
The harpy eagle’s wingspan can reach up to 7 feet and 4 inches wide, and their claws and talons are large enough to surround a human’s fist, as you can see here.
They eat some truly impressive prey, including monkeys, sloths, tree porcupines, snakes, lizards and birds.
Luckily, they don’t eat people — but they’re still terrifying.