10 deadliest animals in the world

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key point:

  • Some animals are deadly due to their size and aggressiveness, such as hippos and elephants.
  • The other animals on this list are among the deadliest in the world due to the diseases they carry.
  • Snakes are one of the most feared animals on this list, but the most surprising one is the freshwater snail.
The world's scariest animal Cape buffalo
Africa's Cape buffalo didn't make the top ten, but the honorable mention animal nicknamed "The Black Death" deserves a photo. Despite weighing a ton, it can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, leap vertically up to 6 feet, and spin rapidly to fight off predators.

©PACO COMO/Shutterstock.com

Animals are all around us.

Due to the close proximity, many people take it for granted that some animals in our community are indeed very dangerous. What is the most dangerous animal in the world?

In this article, we'll discuss the 10 most dangerous animals in the world, ranking them by the number of deaths they cause, with some adjustments for aggression, percentage of fatal attacks, and other similar factors.

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What is the most dangerous animal in the world? Here are the 10 deadliest animals in the world:

#10. shark

Deadliest Animals in the World: Sharks
A great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, jumps out of the water. The great white shark is the largest predatory fish in the world.

© Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com

While sharks are often portrayed as deadly killers in movies and TV shows, the reality is quite different.

Worldwide, there are only a few hundred shark attacks on humans, with an average of six to seven deaths per year.

Sharks kill one person every two years in the United States.

The species with the highest proportion of fatal attacks were the great white, bull and tiger sharks.

More than 375 species of sharks have been identified, but only about a dozen of them are considered dangerous.

An average shark bite can produce up to 40,000 pounds of pressure per square inch; however, your chances of being attacked and killed by a shark are nearly 1 in 3.5 million.

These animals are marked as dangerous; however, sharks are often the victims. Millions of people are killed every year due to the high demand for shark fins.

This demand for shark fins has led to illegal fishing and overfishing, which is depleting shark populations worldwide.

#9. elephant

Deadliest Animals in the World: Elephants
An elephant challenges photographers in the African wilderness. Elephants are the largest terrestrial animals in the world. Male African elephants can be up to 3 meters tall and weigh between 4000-7500 kilograms.

©Peter Betts/Shutterstock.com

We usually think of elephants as intelligent, friendly animals, and they've been a staple of circus performances for years.

What makes them so good is their intelligence, complex emotions, and social structure, but their status as the largest land animals means they have enormous weight and the associated strength that comes with it.

Elephants in captivity are capable of anger and revenge, while elephants in the wild are territorial and protective of their families.

Every year an average of 500 people are trampled, thrown, crushed and killed in other similarly unpleasant ways during elephant encounters.

#8. hippo

Deadliest Animals in the World: Hippos
An aggressive male hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) attacks a tourist's car. Huge male hippos intimidate their rivals with fake charges.


The third largest land mammal by size, behind elephants and rhinos, hippos are responsible for approximately 500 fatal human encounters each year, like the last one on our list.

However, due to their reputation for being violent, aggressive, and extremely territorial in nature, they earn a higher ranking.

Hippos will even attack boats that encroach on their habitat, and they can use their sharp, 20-inch-long teeth very effectively.

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They attack by biting and trampling, and pin their opponents underwater until they drown.

#7. tsetse fly

The deadliest animal in the world: the tsetse fly
Tsetse flies live in Africa, in wet areas along rivers and lakes. They are the size of a giant fly and only feed on blood.

©Jaco Visser/Shutterstock.com

The tsetse fly is the first insect to be included in the list of the world's 10 deadliest animals.

Like the coming bug, it wasn't the actual tsetse bite that killed humans, but the resulting infection that proved deadly.

Tsetse flies inhabit tropical regions of Africa, and their bites infect their hosts with parasites that cause African sleeping sickness.

African sleeping sickness is a very difficult disease to treat, especially given the lack of medical resources in the region, but it is invariably fatal if left untreated.

Due to the remoteness of the area and the lack of verified information, the death rate is estimated to be as high as 500,000, but more reliable sources indicate that about 10,000 people die each year after being bitten by the tsetse fly.

#6. kissing bug

Deadliest Animals in the World: Kissing Bugs
Assassin bugs, or "kissing bugs," get their name from their habit of biting people's faces close to their lips while they sleep.

©Vanessa Becker-Miller/Shutterstock.com

Assassin bug is a collective term used to refer to more than 150 insect species with a specific type of curved proboscis.

The proboscis is used as a tool for defense as well as for hunting, and these species tend to target the soft tissue area around the mouth of humans, which has earned them the better-known name, the kissing bug.

Most kissing bugs are found throughout the world and are not a threat to humans other than being unusually painful; however, some species that live in Central and South America can spread a dangerous disease called Chagas disease.

Even without treatment, the death rate from Chagas disease is low, but the widespread nature of the parasitic infection means that even a 5% mortality rate kills 12,000-15,000 people each year from organ failure caused by the parasitic infection. die.

#5. Crocodile

Deadliest Animals in the World: Crocodiles
A wildebeest was attacked and killed by a crocodile. Crocodiles have been around since the age of the dinosaurs.

©Phil Hyde/Shutterstock.com

The next top predator on our list of the deadliest animals in the world is the crocodile.

Crocodiles are responsible for between 1,000 and 5,000 deaths each year and are among the largest, most aggressive and dangerous animals in the world.

Alligators weigh over 2,000 pounds, have a massive bite force and can travel at speeds of up to 25 mph.

Crocodiles are the only species on this list that actively prey on humans.

The deadliest species are the Nile crocodiles that live in the area around the Nile, and were so feared by the ancient Egyptians that they carried the symbol of the crocodile god to protect them from reptiles.

#4. freshwater snail

Deadliest Animals in the World: Freshwater Snails
Aquatic snails have two tentacles, terrestrial snails have four, with eyes at the tip (terrestrial snails) or base (aquatic snails). Snails rely on their senses of smell and touch, as well as chemosensory organs, to navigate their world.

©Vitalii Hulai/Shutterstock.com

Surprisingly, the next deadliest animal in our ranking is the freshwater snail.

Like the other less threatening species we mentioned, it is not the snails that directly kill humans, but the diseases they spread.

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The World Health Organization estimates that millions of people are diagnosed with a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis each year, and about 20,000 to 200,000 of them die.

Schistosomiasis causes severe abdominal pain and blood in the urine in infected people, but is usually not fatal outside of developing countries.

The wide range of possible deaths is the result of spotty government reporting and a lack of medical care in these remote and underdeveloped countries.

#3. dog/wolf

Deadliest Animals in the World: Dog/Wolf
A wolf growls at its prey to protect it from rivals. Wolves are legendary because they communicate with spine-tingling howls.

©Peter Ivanyi/Shutterstock.com

Man's best friend is also one of our deadliest threats.

Dog attacks kill 30-50 people each year in the US alone. Many of these injuries are caused by a lone dog, usually the family dog or a neighbor's dog. Other kills came from wild dog packs.

Directly fatal dog and wolf encounters are extremely rare compared to the number of deaths from canine-transmitted rabies infection.

Hundreds of years have passed since wolves actively hunted humans in India in the 18th and 19th centuries, killing more than 200 people a year, but rabies virus alone kills 40,000-50,000 people a year.

Again, the vast majority of these deaths occur outside first world countries and are the result of a lack of advanced medical care.

The rate of rabies transmission in wolves is much lower than in dogs, but not zero.

#2. snake

Deadliest Animals in the World: Snakes
Cobra, Naja naja, Bangalore, Karnataka. The Indian cobra is one of the four most venomous snakes in India, and it is also the species that bites humans the most in India.


It turns out that fear of snakes, or snake phobia, might not be so irrational after all. Snakes are conservatively estimated to kill more than 100,000 people a year.

Worldwide shortages of antivenom, as well as remote areas where some of the most venomous snakes live, have contributed to the high death toll. While many people are terrified of large snakes such as pythons and anacondas, the snake responsible for the most deaths is actually the Indian saw-scaled viper, which measures just three feet in length!

Also known as carpet vipers, this snake is found in Africa, the Middle East and India, and females are more than twice as venomous as males. In addition to its high mortality rate, the carpet viper's venom is a neurotoxin, which can lead to a disproportionate number of amputations in those victims who are not completely killed.

Of all the venomous snakes in the world, the inland taipan is probably the most elusive and venomous. The Australian native inland taipan can bite consecutively in the same attack. Despite being one of the deadliest creatures on earth, they are very shy and reclusive. So much so that there have been a few sightings so far. Whenever they encounter a human, their first instinct is to run away, they have a gentle nature and will only attack when they feel threatened or cornered.

#1. mosquito

Deadliest Animals in the World: Mosquitoes
Close-up of mosquito (Aedes aegypti) sucking blood on human skin.

©Digital Images Studio/Shutterstock.com

Mosquitoes are the deadliest and most dangerous animals in the world, as well as one of the smallest. Mosquitoes are estimated to kill between 750,000 and 1 million people each year.

They are vectors of many diseases that are fatal to humans, including malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus and Zika virus. Malaria alone causes more than half a million fatal infections each year.

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Only the female mosquitoes feed on humans, while the males feed on nectar.

Some scientists estimate that mosquito-borne diseases may be responsible for half of all human deaths since the dawn of time.

Even without such crazy historical estimates, mosquitoes firmly hold the number one spot on our list of deadliest animals thanks to their aggressiveness and the fact that they kill nearly a million people a year.

Thankfully, only a few entries on this list are capable of direct, deliberate attacks on humans, and most deaths caused by others occur in rural areas or developing countries with limited access to healthcare.

This means that with the availability of quality medical care, we can expect the mortality rate of these animals to decrease significantly.

honor award

There are many more creatures around the globe that are known for killing people without breaking a sweat. Here are the honorable mentions that almost made our list.

box jellyfish

The deadliest jellyfish in the world - the box jellyfish
The box jellyfish is the most venomous marine creature in the world.

©Dewald Kirsten/Shutterstock.com

Native to the Indo-Pacific, the box jellyfish is the most venomous marine creature in the world, according to NOAA. They resemble a cube with 15 tentacles that can be up to 10 feet long. They have transparent bodies, and their tentacles are made of toxin-containing nematocysts.

Once stung, the venom attacks both the heart and the nervous system, incapacitating the victim and making it difficult to swim back to shore. They kill about 20 to 40 people a year.

cone snail

These brown and white marbled snails may look pretty, but they're actually pretty deadly. They live in warm tropical waters, close to shore, hiding near rock formations, coral reefs, and sandy shallows. They are not aggressive until you touch them, and grow sharp teeth that contain conotoxin. Once the toxin enters the body, it attacks the nervous system and paralyzes the victim within seconds. It affords the victim as much time to smoke a cigarette, hence the name "cigarette smell".

While only a handful of people have been stung by these killer snails so far, there is no anti-venom to counter its attacks.

Golden Poison Dart Frog

Yellow Animal - Golden Poison Dart Frog
The venom in the golden poison frog's skin is enough to kill 10 people.

© Thorsten Spoerlein/Shutterstock.com

Native to the Colombian rainforest, these brightly colored amphibians have enough venom in their skin to kill 10 people at once. The poison in their bodies causes nervous breakdown, which in turn triggers a heart attack in the victim. The indigenous Emberá people have used the venom of these frogs to make arrows for centuries.

Although deadly, their numbers have dwindled and they have been placed on the endangered species list.

buffalo pt.

These mild-mannered herbivores, commonly known as the Black Death, are known to kill more hunters than any other creature on the African continent. Although they are harmless when left alone, they can become aggressive when their calves, individuals, or entire herds are threatened.

Puffer fish

inflatable puffer fish
A pufferfish's stomach can expand to three times its normal size.

© iStock.com/FtLaudGirl

The skin, kidneys, muscle tissue, gonads and liver of puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin; it is 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. This neurotoxin can cause tongue numbness, vomiting, dizziness, cardiac arrhythmia, difficulty breathing and paralysis. Affected people can die if left untreated.

Not only do people encounter wild encounters, they become victims of this neurotoxin when they consume it. The fish is considered a delicacy in Japan, and chefs who prepare it require special training and a license.

brazilian wandering spider

Unlike other species of spiders, Brazilian wandering spiders don't spin webs and wait for their victims to emerge. This hunting behavior has earned them their unique name. If you are bitten by a Brazilian spider, it can cause excessive sweating, drooling, cardiac arrhythmia, pain and redness at the bite site, dulling of tissue, and even death.

stone fish

Native to the Indo-Pacific, these deadly sea-dwelling fish look like real rocks and can be deadly to anyone who accidentally steps on them. Their dorsal fins are equipped with powerful neurotoxins that can inflict severe pain on their victims.

blue ringed octopus

Blue-ringed octopuses carry tetrodotoxin, which is the same neurotoxin as puffer fish. However, the blue-ringed octopus contains enough toxins to kill humans.


Notable among all dangerous creatures are humans. We have collectively killed more humans than any other species to date. Counting all the wars we've had over the years, we've killed over a billion people and displaced many more. Worldwide, an average of nearly 500,000 people die from homicide.

That number alone is enough to place humans as the deadliest threat on our list, and that number is likely to continue to rise as our population grows.


Now that you've explored the world's most dangerous animals on this list, let's recap:

10 deadliest animals in the world
10. Shark
9. Elephant
8. Hippopotamus
7. Tsetse flies
6. Kissing bugs
5. Crocodile
4. Freshwater Snail
3. Dog/Wolf
2. Snake
1. Mosquitoes


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