Name three dangerous animals. If you're the average person in America, your list probably includes sharks, snakes, bears or maybe even mountain lions. While all of these animals are efficient killing machines in their own right, three of them (guess which!) should barely register as a threat. In fact, the deadliest animals are often the ones you'd never suspect. (Credit: Shutterstock).
But make no mistake--the world's most dangerous creatures aren't necessarily rare. In fact, you probably encounter a few on your morning jog through the park. Furthermore, many are far more deadly than you might imagine. While one is responsible for an estimated 660,000 deaths annually, another is the reason for 400,000 amputations each year. These animals are spread throughout land and ocean habitats across the globe and affect people from middle-class suburbs in Los Angeles to farming communities in remote India.
We've arranged the animals in our slideshow by shock-factor. While those at the top may be predictable, those near the bottom could surprise you.
As human development encroaches more and more on elephant habitat, the incidence of elephant attacks is rising. Approximately 500 people are already killed each year. In India, more than 100 people are killed annually, and 200 deaths have been reported in Kenya over the last seven years. The animals are often shot in retaliation for aggressive acts. Wildlife authorities in Kenya shoot between 50 to 120 problem elephants every year. Credit: Shutterstock
Although they may look cute, these massive animals kill almost 3,000 people each year in Africa. Hippos are territorial and aggressive, and will attack humans or other animals that come too close. Hippos can be up to 14 feet long and weigh up to 8,000 pounds. While many people know these animals are dangerous in the water, it's a lesser-known fact that hippos are also formidable foes on land where they can run up to 19 mph. Credit: Shutterstock
Of the 55,000 people worldwide that die from rabies each year, the vast majority contract the disease from rabid dogs. Dogs bite more than 4.7 million people annually. In America, about 800,000 victims seek medical attention for dog bites each year. It's wise to stay wary of stray dogs both at home and while on the road. Dog bites account for more than 50 percent of animal-related injuries in travelers. Credit: Shutterstock
Cape Buffalo, also called “The Black Death” and “widowmakers,” will ambush anyone who wounds or injures them. Therefore it’s no surprise that these animals kill more hunters than any other species in Africa. Credit: Shutterstock
The next time you see a deer crossing sign on the highway, lay off the gas pedal. Deer cause about 1 million car accidents in the United States each year that result in approximately 200 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While November is the most common month and West Virginia the most common place for a collision, accidents can happen anytime and anywhere with a deer population. Credit: Shutterstock
By spreading malaria, Mosquitoes cause an estimated 660,000 deaths every year, according to the World Health Organization. Humans contract malaria when they are bitten by an Anopheles mosquito carrying a malaria parasite. People in more than 100 countries across five continents—the equivalent of half the world’s population—are at risk for the disease. Ninety percent of deaths from malaria are in sub-Saharan Africa, and the vast majority of victims are children under the age of five. Credit: Shutterstock
- Megan Taylor Morrison, The Active Times
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