The Most Dangerous Animals

The Most Dangerous Animals

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In African, lions have killed about 1,000 people in the last 15 years. Occasionally, certain lions join a list of “man-eaters.” These lions hunt humans more often because they are wounded, old, have lost their natural prey sources, or simply like the taste of human meat. One lion, known as Osama, killed 50 people from eight villages in Tanzania between 2002 and 2004. Still, the question remains whether humans are a greater threat to lions. Due to habitat loss and other threats, less than 21,000 African lions remain in all of sub-Saharan Africa. They are classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

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Although not as large as saltwater crocodiles, Nile Crocodiles are more common and far more deadly. These reptiles attack more people every year than any other crocodilian species, most likely because they live in close proximity to human populations. From 2000-2004, Nile Crocodiles attacked more than 300 people annually, with 63 percent of all attacks fatal. 

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Venomous snakes cause 94,000-125,000 deaths and 400,000 amputations per year. The majority of bites happen in Africa and South-East Asia, where victims are most often people in rural, resource-poor areas who work on farms or in fields. With poor access to health care and a scarcity of antivenom, it can be hard or impossible for victims to get the help they need. Approximately 600 species of snake are venomous. Some of the most deadly include the saw-scaled viper, black mamba, Egyptian cobra and Russell's viper. 

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Allergic reactions to bee stings kill 53 people in the United States each year.  Approximately 2 million Americans are allergic to the venom of stinging insects and many are at risk for life-threatening reactions. If you’re worried you could be allergic, talk to your doctor. 

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Box jellyfish are responsible for annual beach closures from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Queensland, Australia...and for good reason. Box jellyfish venom is some of the deadliest in the world and victims can die just five minutes after being stung. The sting causes intense pain and often leads to cardiac or respiratory failure. Each year, box jellyfish—also known as sea wasps and marine stingers—kill 20 to 40 people in the Phillipines alone. These creatures live primarily in the coastal waters of Northern Australia and in the Indo-Pacific. They are pale blue and transparent, and named after the cube-like shape of their bell. 

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Although there are as many as 1,500 scorpion species, only 20-25 are considered dangerous. Still, an estimated 1.2 million scorpion stings cause 3,250 deaths annually. In the United States, only the bark scorpion has venom potent enough to cause severe symptoms. Lethal scorpion stings are most common in underdeveloped tropical countries including Mexico, where 1,000 people die from stings every year. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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 a mosquito carrying the 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.