When you think of the most dangerous animals on Earth, what do you think of? Sharks? Lions? Bears? The truth is, none of these animals are among the most dangerous on Earth. On average, for instance, sharks only kill about six people per year, and lions only kill about 20. When you consider that the world’s population is approximately 7.53 billion, those deaths don’t even make a dent. However, there are plenty of dangerous animals out there, some of them even killing thousands of people each year. They come from all corners of the Earth, and some of these killer critters might even be found in your own neighborhood or even in your own home!
Before we get to the list of the most dangerous animals out there, it’s worth noting that any animal can be dangerous in the right conditions or circumstances. Whether it’s a bite and scratch, or something even worse, even the smallest and most adorable animals can cause pain. Have you ever been bitten by a puppy or kitten? You know those sharp teeth can go right into the skin, and those nips really hurt!
Think about all of the animals out there. Do you have a guess of what animals might appear on this list? We can tell you that sharks, bears, and lions are not on the list, so what animals might be more dangerous than these beasts? Here are the top 10 most dangerous animals on Earth.
Crocodiles can be very dangerous to humans, especially the large Nile and Saltwater crocs. These animals kill hundreds of humans each year in Africa, Asia, and Australia. So, what makes these scary scaly creatures so deadly?
First, crocodiles are very quick when moving over short distances, even when they are out of water. They also have extremely powerful jaws, which can crush bone in an instant. The bite strength of a croc is about 3,000 psi (pounds per square inch.) If you compare that to a shark, which has a psi of 350, or a black lab, which has a psi of 100, you can see how devastating a bite could be. To add to this, crocodiles have sharp, powerful claws. You also might not even know when a crocodile is near, because they are masters at camouflage and ambush hunters. They will see you before you see them.
If there is any way to save yourself from a crocodile attack, it is to do your best to hold its jaws shut. Though the pressure is huge when this reptile bites down, it doesn’t have the capability to open its mouth if held closed. So, you might see crocs at zoos or at rescue facilities with large rubber bands around their mouths. There are also plenty of stories of people who have escaped certain death by holding down a crocodile’s mouth until help could arrive. Another trick, if you find yourself face to face with a crocodile is to climb something. They can’t move their necks very well, so you could definitely have the advantage.
At first glance, the hippopotamus doesn’t look too dangerous. Sure, they are large, but they are also big and “fat,” so they can’t be too bad, right? Wrong. Hippos are one of the deadliest animals in the whole of the African continent.
The hippo is very aggressive, and they live in large groups. Within those groups, there is a constant fight for popularity, as they all want to be at the top of the social scene. In fact, we often see hippos yawn, which we take as them being lazy or tired, but actually, that is a sign of aggression to other hippos and other animals. They do this to show off their huge, sharp teeth.
When a hippo is ticked off, it will not hesitate to use its large size and large teeth to intimidate, and they will charge at almost anything, including other animals, people, or boats. The other terrifying thing about a hippo is that you never know when they will charge, as they are very unpredictable and often won’t give any warning that they are getting angry.
It is estimated that hippos kill about 3,000 people each year, and it’s usually because a human has found their way in hippo territory. If you are within range of a hippo, you should absolutely be on your guard. These creatures can run as fast as 14 mph for short distances, so you probably can’t outrun them. Your best bet is to outsmart them by finding something to quickly climb upon. Just make sure to hold on, because a hippo will charge that, too.
We don’t often think of a fly as being dangerous or deadly. In most cases, they are annoying and gross, but some flies, like the tsetse fly, can be very dangerous.
There is a total of 23 species of tsetse flies, but only six of them are actually deadly, and the reason for this is because they carry a disease that is known as “sleeping sickness.” You aren’t at risk for this unless you get bit by one of these flies, which are native to Africa, but the really scary thing about this is that after a bite, you might not develop symptoms for several weeks, or even months, so it can be very difficult to point the finger at a random fly bite that you might not have even noticed.
So, what is sleeping sickness? It starts with a headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and fever. You might just feel like you are coming down with the flu, but don’t worry…it gets worse. You then will develop issues with sleeping, start having psychiatric issues, and eventually, seizures. Once the seizures subside, you would fall into a coma and die.
All is not terrible, though. Sleeping sickness can be cured with medication if you catch it early enough. On top of that, the number of cases of sleeping sickness is declining. This is due to learning to control the tsetse fly population and better treatments.
What? Dogs don’t kill humans, right? Well, they can, and they can be very dangerous, too, specifically thanks to a simple virus: rabies. Don’t believe us? Here are the stats: about 35,000 people die each year from rabies, and 99 percent of those people got rabies from a dog bite.
Though 99 percent of people get rabies from dogs, any mammal that is infected with the virus can pass it on through saliva. If a rabid dog, for instance, licked you, you probably wouldn’t get it unless you have a fresh wound. But if they bite you, it could be deadly. The big issue with rabies is that the symptoms don’t appear immediately. Instead, it can take a few weeks to show up. On top of that, the first symptoms are the same as flu symptoms, so most people just think they are sick with a bug, and they don’t associate the symptoms with a bite.
After a couple of days of illness, the next symptom is an itchy or prickly sensation where the bite occurred, and then confusion, anxiety, agitation, and brain fog set in. After a couple of days of this, the person might start hallucinating, become delirious, exhibit abnormal behavior, or develop a random fear of water. Once the signs appear, the disease is almost always fatal. In fact, only about 20 people have ever survived once the main symptoms of rabies had set in.
6Asian/Japanese Giant Hornet
Now for another insect, this time from Asia. Known as either the Asian giant hornet or the Japanese giant hornet, these bugs are no joke, and if you travel to some of the most popular tourist locations in Asia, you could easily run into them. These hornets are huge. They can grow to a size of about 2 inches long, and what’s worse, is that they can fly at speeds up to 25 mph. They are extremely aggressive with other insects, but luckily, they are not too aggressive when it comes to humans. However, that doesn’t mean that they are not dangerous.
Keep in mind that the venom of these insects is no more deadly than the sting of a honeybee or wasp. However, these hornets are so large that they inject a lot more venom than other stinging insects, and this means that they are much more dangerous. The stings are also very painful, and people who have been stung and survived claim that it feels as if you are being shot with a nail gun.
To add even more fear to these insects, they often attack in swarms. So, people generally aren’t just stung by one; instead, they get stung by many. Almost every giant hornet sting requires immediate hospitalization, and they kill more people in Japan than any other species, including snakes. Humans, however, have gotten their revenge. In some places in Japan, these hornets are cooked up and served as a delicacy, and they are perfectly safe in that case.
5Golden Poison Dart Frog
We have talked about dangerous animals in Australia, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere, but now we will look at South and Central America, which is home to the extremely deadly golden poison dart frog.
Though all poison dart frogs are dangerous, the golden poison dart frog is in a class by itself. Just one of these teeny frogs has enough poison in them to kill 10 men. How does the poison get into the system? Through the bloodstream. The frog, when it becomes agitated, produces a frothy substance, which is the poison. Tribesmen in the Amazon, for instance, dip their arrows into froth, and the poison is then coating the arrows. Once applied, the arrows can be used for about a year with deadly consequences. Only one animal is immune to the golden dart frog’s poison…a small snake.
The victim of the dart frog’s poison can expect numbing and tingling at first, and then paralysis, as the poison affects the nervous system. Eventually, usually, in about 10 minutes, the person will die due to cardiac arrest. What’s interesting about all poison dart frogs is that they can lose their poisonous abilities if they stop eating ants, which is their main food source in the wild. In captivity, eventually they are non-poisonous, and they can even be handled safely by zoos or owners. Keep in mind, however, that these are considered to be endangered animals, and it is not likely that you could find one to keep as a pet!
The cape buffalo is native to Africa, and there, it is also known as “the Black Death.” This creature is extremely dangerous, and when we look at some stats, we can see that it has killed more big game hunters than any other animal on the African continent. This buffalo is huge, and the males can reach a height of 6 feet and a weight of more than 1700 pounds.
Here’s what is interesting about the cape buffalo, however…when in a large herd, they typically are not very dangerous, unless one of the calves is being attacked. However, when on their own, which can happen with older males, they can become extremely aggressive, and it is not unheard of for them to charge. This is especially the case when hunting them. If you miss and don’t take them down with a single shot, you can be sure that they will turn and come right at you. Keep in mind, too, that these buffalo can run up to 35 miles per hour, so they can certainly outrun you.
When an angry Cape buffalo catches its opponent, it uses its large horns to rip the flesh apart. These animals are also known to travel in small groups, too, and this small mob makes them extra dangerous, as they will all make chase, together. Keep these words of wisdom near and dear to your heart if you plan on big game hunting in Africa.
One of the most deadly animals on this list is also one of the smallest. Though these tiny jellyfish don’t look very dangerous, they are one of the deadliest animals in the world.
The box-shaped jellyfish has a number of tentacles on its body, and on these tentacles are small bumps known as nematocysts. Each of these is filled with poison. If you get stung and this poison enters into the bloodstream, you can feel paralysis in a matter of moments, and cardiac arrest and death can follow within minutes. The good thing is this: out of the 50 different species of box jellyfish in existence, only a couple of them are lethal to humans. The ones that include the Australian box jellyfish, which is the most venomous sea animal in the world.
If you get stung by one of these jellyfish, you will be lucky to make it to shore. If you survive the initial rush of venom, you will experience intense pain that lasts for weeks, and your skin could be scarred where the tentacles hit. Until recently, there was no anecdote for the sting of a box jellyfish. However, in 2019, researchers in Australia announced that they could have discovered a potential one. So far, the anecdote has reacted well in a lab when tested on human tissue and on mice. But, keep in mind that there has not been a test on an actual human victim. So, make sure that you watch yourself when swimming in areas the box jellyfish can be found.
Snakebites kill more than 100,000 people a year across the globe, and there are deadly snakes on every continent except Antarctica. That is more than any other animal on our list…well, until we get to number one. There are several deadly and dangerous snake species out there, including cobras, black mambas, and boomslang.
Of all of these, the black mamba is the most dangerous. Once this African snake bites a victim, which doesn’t take much, you have about 20 minutes to get some anti-venom. If not, you would die within 20 minutes. The venom of the black mamba, which is actually brown in color, is 100 percent fatal, and most of the deaths come because the antivenom isn’t widely available in areas where black mamba’s live.
The most venomous snake out there is known as “Belcher’s Sea Snake.” This snake is shy and timid, so it doesn’t kill as many people as the black mamba, which is ornery and quick to anger. This snake is found throughout the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Thailand, Solomon Islands, Philippines, and Australia. It swims around reefs, and though it breathes air, it can stay underwater for almost eight hours. This snake is so poisonous that it can kill someone in less than 30 minutes. The venom of these snakes is 100 times more powerful than any other snake in the world.
Finally, we get to the most dangerous animal on our list, the lowly mosquito. Though you can kill one of these teeny insects with a swat of your hand, they can easily kill you, as well. There are estimates that there are more than 750,000 deaths each year thanks to the bite of a mosquito.
The mosquito, itself, is not enough to kill you, though we all know that the venom it inserts into our skin makes us itch. Mosquitos are actually able to kill our thanks to the viruses that they carry, including malaria. In fact, more than half of the deaths caused by mosquitos is because people get malaria, and most of these occur in sub-Saharan Africa. However, just because you don’t go to Africa doesn’t mean you are immune to death by a mosquito.
Other mosquito-associated illnesses include dengue fever, which is found in Latin America and in some Asian countries. Additionally, there are deadly diseases spread by mosquitos in the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia, and across the globe. These include Zika, West Nile, and Yellow Fever.
So, how do you protect yourself from mosquitos? The best way is to use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET. Make sure that the product has at least 20 percent DEET in it. Keep in mind that this chemical is safe for most people, even kids and pregnant women, and it works well to keep mosquitos from dining on your blood and leaving a virus in its place.
This concludes our list of the top 10 most dangerous animals out there. You were probably surprised by many of these, especially those that seem like they aren’t very dangerous as we interact with them all of the time. More than a million people each year are killed by animals, though most of them are killed by animals on this list. As we have seen, the most dangerous animals in the world are not always ones you expect, and there are plenty more animals that seem pretty docile that could kill you in a moment. Some of these are so tiny and small, that they could end life without the victim even realizing it. Others are large and intimidating, and you will always want to keep your distance.
We live in a world where the balance of diversity and safety is important, but at the same time, it is also filled with predators who are seeking out their prey. On the other hand, many of these animals will only attack when they are provoked, so if you run into any of them, you should observe from a safe distance. Did you expect some of these animals to be on here? We know that some of them were quite obvious, but also hope that you were able to learn something about animals who might not seem so scary but could be deadly. So, now that you know the top 10 most dangerous animals in the world, share the information with others. You never know whose life you might save.