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Animals

Top 10 Most Dangerous Animals In The World

Published April 10, 2016
Humans do not own this planet by themselves. Rather, we share it with all the other animals. Just as we affect other animals, they affect us. To remind us that we are not the biggest and best we want to list the most dangerous animals in the world.
       You could make a list over the most dangerous animals in the world in many ways. You could for example rank animals according to how poisonous they are, or include pets (around 30 people die every year from dog attacks in the Unites States alone, and around 20 people in horse-related accidents). You can also put humans in the number one spot, since we alone are responsible for the extermination of several animal species. But we have chosen to write this article from a human's perspective and listed the wild animals that kill the most humans every year.
       To know exactly how many people die each year from wild animals is hard. There are often no official statistics, and many deaths occur in underdeveloped countries where reports of animal attacks often don't reach authorities. In our list over the most dangerous animals in the world, we have ranked the animals according to the estimated number of human deaths they cause each year. Examples of animals that perhaps surprisingly place outside the list are bears (5 to 10 deaths per year), sharks (12 deaths during 2011) and spiders (10 to 50 deaths per year). As a comparison, it might be interesting to know that around 24,000 people are killed each year from lightning strikes.
       Here you are, the top 10 most dangerous animals in the world!
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10. Jellyfish

Deaths each year: 50 - 100
There are stinging jellyfish in all of Earth's oceans and around 150 million people are estimated to get stung each year. When stinging jellies sting they shoot thousands of little poisonous darts (stinging cells) into its victim, who often experience a very uncomfortable pain. A few jellyfish species are so poisonous they can cause the victim anaphylaxis that in some cases can lead to death by cardiac arrest. The photo shows the most dangerous and deadliest of all jellyfish, the box jellyfish, which mostly lives in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Box jellyfish are hard to see in the water. They differentiate themselves from other jellyfish by actually hunting they prey instead of just drifting in the water. They do not hunt humans, but this doesn't stop snorkeling tourists from getting in the way of their tentacles by mistake. In the Phillipines alone, between 20 and 40 people are estimated to die each year after being stung by box jellyfish. In the whole world, 50 to 100 people are estimated to die by jellyfish each year, which makes jellyfish the most dangerous aquatic animal in the world.

9. Tiger

Deaths each year: 50 - 250
Tigers live in Asia and are the members of the cat family who have killed the most humans throughout history. Tiger attacks became especially frequent in areas where large tiger populations had to battle an increasing human population, and in India alone between 15,000 and 20,000 people are thought to have died from tigers during the 20th century. There are only between 3,000 and 5,000 tigers left in the world today, so confrontations with humans have decreased drastically. Tigers are however still dangerous for many villagers, especially in the large river delta and World Heritage Site Sundarbans in India and Bangladesh, where the majority of deaths occur. Here, the Bengal tiger (photo above) has become more and more pressed by humans, and the deaths are mostly due to territorial disputes and lack of prey. The uncertainty of the number of deaths from tiger attacks is large, and it is very possible that tigers kill more humans each year than lions do.
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8. Lion

Deaths each year: 100 - 300
Lions live in Africa and India and are predators with many large mammals on their menu. They sometimes go after humans, and there are many true stories of lions who have terrorized villagers and rail workers. However, most of the lions that attack humans are either starved, old or sick. The main reason for lions attacking humans is thought to be lack of prey in areas dominated by humans, but toothache can as well make a lion choose an easily chewable human over a tough antelope. The country most affected by lion attacks is Tanzania, where around 50 to 70 people are killed each year.

7. Hippopotamus

Deaths each year: 100 - 300
Hippos live in the southern half of Africa and are by nature very aggressive. They attack anyone who intrude on their territory (most of whom are crocodiles) and they are especially dangerous if they have calves. Hippos also attacks humans, both in boats and on land, and they can do it without being provoked. Exactly how many are killed each year is hard to know, since most people who come in contact with hippos live far from civilization. The hippopotamus competes with the lion as the most dangerous animal in Africa.

6. Bee / Wasp

Deaths each year: 400 - 600
Bees and wasps both belong to the same order (Hymenoptera) and many people who have been stung don't know by which one, thus they share the same spot on this list. Bees and wasps both play a vital role in the pollination of plants and they are really quite peaceful animals. They do however attack if they feel cornered or if you get to close to their homes, and they are especially dangerous to people who are allergic to their poison. For example, 1 % of the population in Sweden are allergic to wasps (photo), and on average one person each year dies after being stung. In the United States, bees and wasps are the animals that kill the most people each year (50 to 75 deaths), if you disregard the around 200 deaths from car collisions with deers.

5. Elephant

Deaths each year: 400 - 600
Elephants are known for their bad temper and for attacking without warning. They can sometimes act in, what would almost be described as, revenge. There are many examples of elephants suddenly killing animal keepers they've had for decades. Elephants are vegetarians and don't need to hunt for food, but attacks on humans have nevertheless increased in latter years, probably due to elephants being pushed into smaller and smaller habitats. In India, villages are regularly attacked by angry male elephants - 300 people were for example killed in the Indian state of Jharkhand between 2000 and 2004. Around the world, 400 to 600 people are estimated to be killed each year by elephants, which makes the elephant the world's deadliest mammal.

4. Crocodiles

Deaths each year: 800 - 2,000
The largest species of crocodile are very dangerous to humans and among the few animals that regard humans as prey. It is hard to know the exact number of humans killed by crocodiles because most of the areas where crocodiles and humans meet are hard to access, poor or situated in countries affected by conflict. The ares where most attacks occur are thought to be New Guinea, Borneo and the Salomon Islands, where several hundred deaths are reported each year, mostly from the saltwater crocodile (photo). The saltwater crocodile is the largest crocodile, and reptile, in the world. Together with the slightly smaller Nile crocodile, it is responsible for the majority of deaths worldwide.

3. Scorpion

Deaths each year: 1,000 - 5,000
The scorpion, with its sting, is one of the most terrifying creatures in the world. Of all the around 1,700 scorpion species, around 25 have posions strong enough to kill a human. Approximately 95 % of all scorpion stings result only in pain and suffering, but the remaining 5 % require medical care and can get way worse. Scorpions often live close to humans in tropical or arid, under-developed countries. They therefor risk being stepped on, or in other ways cornered, and it is estimated that upto 5,000 people die each year after being stung by scorpions. Mexico are worst affected by dangerous scorpions, with upto 1,000 deaths each year. The photo shows Leiurus quinquestriatus, or the "deathstalker". It lives in northern Africa and the Middle East and is considered the most poisonous scorpion in the world.

2. Snake

Deaths each year: 20,000 - 125,000
Around 5,5 million people are estimated to get bitten by snakes each year, and between 20,000 and 125,000 of them die. Snake bites also result in damaged body parts, and around 400,000 snake bite-related amputations are performed each year around the world. Some of the most dangerous and poisionous snakes live in the sparsely populated Australia, but they cause less than two deaths each year. By contrast, upto 50,000 deaths are caused each year by snake bites in overpopulated India. The photo shows the Indian cobra, also known as the spectacled cobra. It is one of the four snakes that cause the majority of deaths in India (the other three are the saw-scaled viper, Russell's viper and the common krait). Snakes are normally timid and only attack when threatened. The most common cause of snake bites is accidentally stepping on a snake. Snakes are thus the deadliest animals in the world - except for the six-legged disease-spreaders below.

1. Disease-Spreading Insects

Deaths each year: 700,000 - 3,000,000
There are over one million different species of insect worldwide, and many of them like to bite. Only a few insects can kill directly using poison (for example spiders, bees and scorpions), but there are more species that can kill indirectly by spreading fatal diseases.
       Mosquitos (photo) are by far the animals that kill the most humans every year, by carrying deadly viruses and parasites. The malaria parasite is for example spread by mosquitos, and around 250 million people contract malaria every year, of which 600,000 to 1,3 million die (the exact number is unknown, some sources say upto 3 million). Mosquitos are also carrier of the viruses that cause dengue fever and yellow fever. Every year, 50 to 100 million get dengue fever (of which 12,500 to 25,000 die) and 200,000 get yellow fever (of which 30,000 die). With that many causalities per year, most of whom are children in Africa, it's legitimate to say that the mosquito is the most dangerous animal in the world.
       Africa is also home to the tsetse flie, which spreads the parasitic disease African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness. Sleeping sickness has a tendency to return in epidemics and has in some areas during some periods of time killed more people than AIDS. Sleeping sickness is nowadays in decline, but at least 10,000 die from it each year.
       The bloodsucking Triatominae, or "kissing bug", spreads the parasitic disease Chagas disease, which each year kills between 10,000 and 20,000 people, mostly in South America.
       Ticks spread several diseases, of which the two most common are the bacterial disease lyme disease and the viral disease TBE (tick-borne encephalitis). Lyme disease only kills rarely, but is drawn-out, hard to treat and has many different symptoms. TBE exists in Europe and Asia and kills at least 1,000 people every year.
       Plague is a bacterial disease that can spread from rats via fleas. Although plague thankfully is much rarer today than during the Middle Ages, when it killed around 75 million people worldwide, a couple of hundred still die each year nowadays. Fleas also spread the bacterial disease typhus, which kills around 20,000 people each year.
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