Sharks, lions, elephants, and even wolves kill far fewer people than many other deadly animals out there. The world is full of ferocious beasts and parasite-carrying tiny insects that claim hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Heck, even plants can be deadly. Here we take a look at the top 10 deadliest animals in the world. The ranking below is not based on an animal’s killing potential or the effectiveness of their poison, but based on the number of people killed by these animals (or the diseases they carry) every year.
Ranked: Ten deadliest animals
10- Crocodiles: 1,000 deaths per year
Crocodiles are fast, ferocious, and powerful, posing a serious threat to their targets. They don’t usually hunt humans, but they don’t like to miss a good opportunity. According to the UN Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO), among large animals, crocodiles cause the most human deaths in Africa. Hundreds of crocodile attacks are reported on humans every year. According to an estimate, they kill about 1,000 people every year.
9- Tapeworm: 2,000 deaths per year
Tapeworm is a parasite that lives in your body with few symptoms. You could contract tapeworm from eating uncooked or raw meat. It causes an infection called cysticerosis, which claims about 2,000 lives every year.
8- Ascaris roundworm: 2,500 deaths per year
According to the World Health Organization, the Ascaris roundworm causes an infection called ascariasis. The disease is more likely to affect children than adults. The Ascaris roundworm infects the small intestine first, from where the disease could spread to other organs such as lungs, liver, and heart. WHO estimates that it kills 2,500 people every year.
7- Freshwater snails: 10,000 deaths per year
The freshwater snails carry parasitic worms that cause the disease schistosomiasis, which kills about 10,000 people every year. You could contrast schistosomiasis if your skin comes in contact with water where freshwater snails live. Schistosomiasis causes abdominal pain and blood in stool and urine, and eventually leads to death. The disease is most common in Asia, Africa, and South America.
6- Kissing bugs: 10,000 deaths per year
Kissing bugs are also known as Assassin bugs. The insect gets its name because it bites humans on their lips and faces in sleep and deposits a parasite called Trypanasoma cruzi that causes the Chagas disease. The disease kills 10,000 to 12,000 people every year by causing intestinal dysfunction and cardiac arrest. Chagas disease is also responsible for thousands of stillbirths in Brazil.
5- Tsetse flies: 12,000 deaths per year
The Tsetse flies are less than 17mm in size, but they carry dangerous protozoan parasites called Trypanosomes, which cause the African Sleeping Sickness. The flies transmit the parasites to humans and other vertebrate animals through their bite. The African sleeping sickness causes fever, headache, joint pain, vomiting, insomnia, and the swelling of the brain, eventually leading to death. According to an estimate, sleeping sickness affects 20,000 to 30,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa every year. About half of them die from the disease.
4- Dogs: 25,000 deaths per year
Dogs are associated with friendship, loyalty, affection, and companionship, but that’s not always the case. According to the WHO, rabid dogs are responsible for the deaths of about 25,000 people every year. The dog bite itself is rarely deadly, but rabid dogs transmit rabies virus in their victims. Countries with a high number of stray dogs are the worst affected. However, the virus can easily be prevented with vaccines.
3- Snakes: 50,000 deaths per year
Snake bites kill about 50,0000 people every year. The saw-scaled viper, Black Mamba, King Cobra, and other venomous snakes that live around inhabited areas pose a serious threat to human lives. Out of all the snakes, Asian cobras are responsible for most human deaths. They can shoot venom up to 6 feet with pin-point accuracy. Unfortunately, the world is struggling with a shortage of antivenom to save lives.
2- Humans: 475,000 deaths per year
Humans are the second deadliest animals on the planet. We have been killing each other for thousands of years for one reason or another. According to an estimate, more than 475,000 homicides occur every year. Mass shootings, car accidents, wars, terrorism, and other forms of violence are responsible for the death of nearly half a million people every year. And that’s when we are living in the most peaceful period of known history.
1- Mosquitoes: 725,000 deaths per year
Mosquitoes are ubiquitous. There are roughly 3,000 species of mosquitoes around the world. Mosquitoes are primary vectors of deadly diseases like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, Zica virus, and Chikungunya. Malaria alone affects 200 million people worldwide and kills 600,000 every year. Other mosquito-borne diseases claim more than 100,000 lives. According to WHO, more than half of the world’s population is at risk from mosquito-borne diseases.