The animal kingdom is full of creatures that can be dangerous to humans. From large predators to tiny insects, there are many animals that can cause harm. In this article, we will explore the top 10 deadliest animals in the world.
Some of these animals are deadly due to being large and aggressive, such as the hippo and elephant. Other animals on this list are some of the top deadliest animals in the world because of the diseases they carry. Snakes are among the most feared on this list, but the most surprising animal would be freshwater snails.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 deadliest animals in the world.
The Top 10 Deadliest Animals In The World
Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head.
There are more than 1,000 species of sharks and rays, with new species discovered every year. Sharks are one of the oceans’ top predators and can differ in shapes and sizes, from the largest whale sharks to the smallest dwarf lantern sharks.
While sharks are commonly portrayed in movies and television shows as deadly killers, the reality is much different. Worldwide, sharks account for only several hundred attacks on humans, and they only average six to seven human deaths per year. In the United States, sharks cause about one death every two years.
According to some sources, lions are one of the top 10 deadliest animals in the world. Lions have a long history of ferocious attacks on humans, and on average, they are responsible for around 200 human deaths per year.
However, lions technically have no natural predators, but there are plenty of animals that will take advantage of superior numbers or target the young, old, or sick to bring down and feast upon a lion.
Here are some other animals that can kill a lion: crocodiles, black mambas, hyenas, rhinos, elephants, African buffalo, hippos, grizzly bears, and tigers. It is important to note that while lions are dangerous, they are not the most deadly animals in the world.
According to some sources, elephants are one of the top 10 deadliest animals in the world, responsible for around 500 human deaths per year. Elephants are known for their sheer size and weight, as they are the largest living land animals.
Due to habitat loss and encroaching farmlands into elephant home areas, they are coming into contact with humans more frequently, leading to conflict. Groups of elephants have been known to raid farms and villages, and will gore or trample any humans that get in the way. One blow from an elephant is enough to kill a human.
Crocodiles are large, semi-aquatic reptiles that belong to the order Crocodilia, which includes alligators, caimans, and gharials. They are found throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Australia.
Crocodiles are ambush predators, waiting for fish or land animals to come close, then rushing out to attack. They mostly eat fish, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, birds, reptiles, and mammals, and they occasionally cannibalize smaller crocodiles.
Crocodiles are considered apex predators and are one of the world’s top predators in their natural environments. Crocodiles are also vital to the overall health of their ecosystems, as they control the population of other animals and scavenge on dead carcasses found along the waterways, effectively cleansing the environment.
While crocodiles are dangerous to humans, they are not among the top 10 deadliest animals in the world, responsible for around 1,000 attacks on humans per year and an average of 100 deaths per year.
Assassin bugs are a family of insects in the true bug order, Heteroptera (Hemiptera), that are characterized by a thin neck-like structure connecting the narrow head to the body. There are about 7,000 species of assassin bugs, and they range in size from 5 to 40 mm (0.2 to 1.6 inches).
Assassin bugs are predatory insects that are of great benefit to gardeners, as they are proficient at capturing and feeding on a wide variety of prey, including other bugs, bees, flies, and caterpillars. They are generalist predators in gardens and fields and sit in wait of prey, attacking small flying insects, medium-sized caterpillars, and similar insects.
Assassin bugs use their short three-segmented beak to pierce their prey and then suck the body fluids from their victims. The strong beak found on assassin bugs is used to repeatedly and violently stab their prey to death, hence the name ‘assassin’.
While assassin bugs are not typically dangerous to humans, their bite can be painful and cause swelling and redness.
Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes. They are covered in overlapping scales and are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates. There are over 4,000 different species of snakes around the world.
Snakes evolved from lizards around 150 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period. They have evolved to have long, slender bodies and no limbs, allowing them to move efficiently through various habitats such as grasslands, deserts, and forests.
Snakes are predators and eat a wide variety of animals, including rodents, insects, birds’ eggs, and young birds. While most snakes are not venomous, about 600 species are venomous, and only about 200 are able to kill or significantly wound a human.
Venomous snakes that are found in the United States include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths/water moccasins, and coral snakes. It is important to familiarize yourself with the snakes in the area where you plan to spend time and to avoid handling, teasing, or harassing them.
Mosquitoes are small flies that belong to the family Culicidae, with over 3,000 species worldwide. The word “mosquito” means “little fly” in Spanish, and they are known for their bloodsucking habits, which are exclusive to the females.
Mosquitoes are important in public health because they are known to transmit serious diseases, including yellow fever, Zika fever, malaria, filariasis, and dengue. Different species of mosquitoes show preferences and, in many cases, narrow restrictions as to host animals.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, and different species prefer different types of standing water in which to lay their eggs. While mosquitoes are not among the top 10 deadliest animals in the world, they are responsible for millions of deaths worldwide every year, making them public enemy number one in the fight against global infectious disease.
The best way to protect against mosquito-borne disease is to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing, using mosquito repellent, and avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours.
Tsetse flies are large, biting flies that inhabit much of tropical Africa. They include all the species in the genus Glossina, which are placed in their own family, Glossinidae.
Tsetse flies are obligate parasites, which live by feeding on the blood of vertebrate animals. They are extensively studied because of their role in transmitting disease. Tsetse flies are vectors for the disease nagana, also known as African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT), in wild and domestic animals, and a similar disease among humans that is known as sleeping sickness, or human African trypanosomiasis (HAT).
The agents of the diseases are trypanosomes, protozoa that live within the tsetse fly. Tsetse flies are robust, sparsely bristled insects that usually range from 6 to 16 mm (0.2 to 0.6 inch) in length.
While tsetse flies are not among the top 10 deadliest animals in the world, they are a significant public health concern in sub-Saharan Africa, where they are responsible for transmitting diseases that affect both humans and animals.
Hippopotamuses, also known as hippos, are large, semi-aquatic mammals native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are the third-largest living land mammal, after elephants and white rhinos.
Hippos are known for their massive size, with males weighing between 3,500 to 9,920 pounds and females weighing around 3,000 pounds on average. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the hippopotamids are cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises, etc.), from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.
Hippos are semi-aquatic and spend most of their day in water to keep cool and avoid the sun. They are herbivores and feed on short, soft grasses and fallen fruit.
Hippos are highly aggressive and are well-equipped to deliver considerable damage to anything that wanders into their territory.
Box jellyfish are a type of venomous invertebrate that inhabit the world’s warm coastal waters, with the more venomous species typically living in the Indo-Pacific region and northern Australia, although certain species can be found elsewhere.
Box jellyfish are cnidarian invertebrates distinguished by their box-like body. They have up to 60 tentacles in four clumps along the base of the bell.
Box jellyfish can move more rapidly than other jellyfish due to the velarium, a shelf that restricts the bell’s aperture and creates a powerful jet when the bell pulsates.
Scientists attribute dozens of deaths every year to the stings of these often deadly animals.
The box jellyfish can grow up to 38cm across the bell with up to 15 tentacles at each corner. Box jellyfish are cube-shaped medusa notorious for having one of the most potent venoms known.
While the common misconception is that box jellyfish are more commonly associated with being indigenous to Australia, they are also found in popular holiday locations such as Bali, Thailand, the Philippines, and quite a number of other countries with warm coastal waters such as South-Eastern Asia, Africa, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Indo-Pacific.
Certain species can kill an adult human in as little as a few minutes.
It is important to be aware of the presence of box jellyfish in the waters you plan to swim in and to take precautions to avoid being stung, such as wearing protective clothing and avoiding swimming during peak jellyfish season.
1. What makes an animal deadly?
Animals can be deadly for a variety of reasons, including their size, aggression, venom, or the diseases they carry.
2. Are all of the deadliest animals on this list predators?
No, not all of the deadliest animals on this list are predators. Some, like mosquitoes and kissing bugs, are deadly because they carry diseases.
3. How can I protect myself from these deadly animals?
The best way to protect yourself from these deadly animals varies depending on the animal. For example, to protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should wear long-sleeved clothing, use mosquito repellent, and avoid outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours. To protect yourself from crocodiles, you should avoid swimming in areas where they are known to live. It is important to research the animals in the area where you plan to spend time and to take appropriate precautions.
4. Are these the only deadly animals in the world?
No, these are not the only deadly animals in the world. There are many other animals that can be dangerous to humans, including other predators, venomous insects, and marine animals.