When you think about animals killing humans, you probably picture people being bitten by sharks or mauled to death by lions. But, there are other animals out there more deadly than that. And those on this list just might surprise you. Here are ten animals you won’t believe could easily kill you.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an organization in the UK that’s similar to OSHA, cows are deadly to pedestrians. Figures from HSE showed that cows killed 74 people in Britain between April 2000 and March 2015. Eighteen of those people were pedestrians walking along public footpaths or commonly used rights of way. The other 56 were farm workers.
It’s important to note that all of the pedestrians killed–with the exception of a man who’d wandered away from a family group–were accompanied by a dog. It’s also important to note that most of the incidents involved cows with calves. Therefore, it’s highly possible that the cows felt their calves were in some sort of danger. “Wherever possible farmers should avoid keeping cows with calves in fields with public footpaths. If that is impossible, and they need to keep cattle and walkers apart, temporary fencing is easy and cheap to provide,” HSE inspector Dawn Lawrence said.
If you live in a rural area, then you already know how dangerous these cute creatures can be when you’re driving along the highway. Deer-vehicle collisions kill approximately 120 Americans every year. Most of these accidents occur in the fall, when deer are mating and are more active, and when there are less daylight hours, making it hard for drivers to see them.
According to State Farm, the following are the top states for deer-vehicle collisions: West Virginia, Montana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Michigan, and North Dakota.
To avoid hitting deer, Consumer Reports recommends the following tips:
-Drive slowly, especially around the times when deer are most active (around dawn and between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.).
-Be aware of areas where deer like to congregate.
-Be on the lookout for more than one since deer travel in groups.
-Wear a seat belt.
8. Fuzzy Caterpillars
Look, but don’t touch! That’s the advice experts give when it comes to these tiny creatures. Poisonous caterpillars, known as puss caterpillars, have toxic spines in their fur that stick to your skin if you touch them. The end result could be death if proper treatment is not received in time.
In 2017, a 5-year-old Florida boy was stung by a fuzzy caterpillar when he accidentally stepped on one while playing outside. “He started to hyperventilate from screaming, and I was trying to figure out if he got into stinging nettles, but this scream was blood curdling,” his mother wrote on Facebook. According to CBS News, entomologist Don Hall says a caterpillar sting is so painful that it “can even make your bones hurt.”
The 5-year-old was taken to the ER, where he was given Benadryl and a narcotic painkiller.
>>TIP from the Florida Poison Information Center – Tampa: If you or someone you know is ever stung by a puss caterpillar, place Scotch tape over the affected area then strip it off in order to remove the spines. Repeat until all the spines have been removed. Then apply ice packs to reduce any pain. Follow that up with a paste of baking soda and water. NOTE: If the victim develops an allergic reaction or has a history or allergies, asthma or hay fever, you should contact a doctor right away.
7. Freshwater Snails
These slow creatures kill over 200,000 humans annually. That’s because they carry a parasitic disease called schistosomiasis. The disease is contracted from just simply entering the water (e.g. wading, swimming, etc.). The parasites penetrate your skin and move throughout your body until they reach your blood vessels, where they can live for years, decades even. Schistosomiasis may cause flu-like symptoms, fatigue, anemia, and leg paralysis. Nearly 250 million people are infected by the disease each year. Most infections occur in Africa, Asia, and South America.
It just may be that man’s best friend is actually man’s worst enemy. According to World Atlas, dogs kill 25,000 people every year. Most of these deaths are from rabid dog attacks. Still, others attack because they were mistreated by previous owners.
-Approximately 28 Americans are killed by dogs each year.
-In the United States and Canada between 1982 and 2013, there were more than 4,100 dog attacks and over 2,400 cases of maiming. More than 460 people died from those attacks.
As small and innocent looking as they are, insects can be deadly. Mosquitoes, for example, carry diseases (e.g. malaria, dengue, West Nile Virus, yellow fever, and Zika) that claim about 725,000 lives annually. Bees, wasps and hornets killed approximately 58 people annually between 2001 and 2013. While bee stings aren’t deadly for most people, they are for the millions of Americans allergic to them.
Ticks carry Lyme disease and the rare, but deadly, Powassan virus. Fire ants kill about a dozen people every year, but it isn’t their sting you have to worry about. Most deaths result from secondary infections caused by the sting.
Although we’re taught to avoid black widow spiders like the plague, their bite rarely kills. According to Reader’s Digest, there were more than 1,800 reported black widow bites in 2013–none of which resulted in death. Still, a black widow spider bite can and does kill–seven Americans a year, to be exact.
Perhaps the most deadly of all insects are the Tsetse fly and the assassin bug. The Tsetse fly looks like your average housefly, but its bite kills around 10,000 people every year. That’s because this fly carries a parasitic disease known as African trypanosomiasis. The assassin bug bites its victims on the face and delivers a parasitic infection called Chagas disease. This infection kills about 12,000 people annually.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, horses kill about 100 people in the United States every year. Most of these deaths are caused by injuries sustained from riding accidents.
Horse-related deaths are common in Australia as well. In fact, horses kill more people there than all venomous animals combined, a 13-year study revealed. The study, which was published in the Internal Medicine Journal, found that 74 people died from equine-inflicted injuries from 2000 to 2013.
“Australia is known as the epicenter of all things venomous,” Dr. Ronelle Welton, of the University of Melbourne, told the BBC. These findings challenge that stereotype, Welton added.
3. Jellyfish and Pufferfish
Many people have been stung by jellyfish. Perhaps you’re one of those people. But, did you know that jellyfish stings kill around 20 to 40 people every year in the Philippines alone? The venom of the box jellyfish, in particular, is among the most deadly in the world. It contains toxins that attack the heart and nervous system. In fact, people who’ve been stung by box jellyfish have been known to go into shock and die from drowning or heart failure before ever reaching shore.
Pufferfish are also poisonous. In fact, they are among the most poisonous vertebrates on the planet. Most pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a toxin that is up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. One pufferfish contains enough toxin to kill 30 adult humans. FYI, tetrodotoxin has no known antidote.
2. Poison Dart Frog
Poison dart frogs are members of the Dendrobatidae family, which includes some of the most toxic animals on the planet. They contain enough toxin to kill 10 adult men.
-Indigenous Emberá people of Colombia use the poison in blowgun darts when hunting. That’s where the name “poison dart frog” comes from.
-Poison dart frogs that are raised in captivity and isolated from insects in their native habitat never develop the poison.
-Medical research is being conducted to see how poison dart frog poison can be used to help humans. A synthetic version of one compound has already been developed for use as a painkiller.
Tapeworms live in the intestines of some animals. These animals can become infected when grazing in pastures or drinking contaminated water. One of the ways humans get infected with tapeworms is by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. But, infection can also be passed from one person to another. Since tapeworm eggs are passed with bowel movements, it’s possible to contract pork tapeworms from a food preparer who doesn’t wash their hands well after wiping themselves.
Treating a tapeworm infection is fairly simple, but they can still sometimes cause life-threatening problems. In fact, tapeworms kill around 2,000 people annually. Taenia solium, the pork tapeworm, is one of the most deadly tapeworms. It causes seizures, convulsions, blindness, dementia, and death.
Beware when coming across any animals. Just because they look cute and cuddly doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. And if you’re unsure, don’t get too close. It’s better to be safe than sorry.