Nature can be very deadly. We experience this every day in some way. From tornadoes to natural disasters, there are many ways that a human life can be prematurely terminated. Mother nature also sends wildlife as a means of harming or killing humans.
Mosquitoes are the worst enemy of humans. Their bites cause the deaths of an estimated 3 million people per year.
Animal Attacks on Humans
That tiny insect carries malaria, which is why their attacks are so deadly. In truth, almost any animal has the ability to harm or kill a human. Animals are primarily defensive of their homes, which is the reason behind a vast majority of the attacks that occur.
- More than 50 people in the United States die every year because of bee stings.
- 5. That’s the number of people who die every year because of the bite of a rattlesnake. Men between the ages of 17-27 are the primary victims of this animal, but the CDC reports up to 7,000 attacks every year.
- By 2017, pit bulls are projected to maul 305 Americans to death since 1998, the year the CDC stopped tracking fatal dog attacks by breed.
- About 100 people every year are fatally attacked by a domestic dog every year.
- 81% of the fatal dog attacks that occur in the United States come from pit bulls.
- Bulls are responsible for 3 deaths every year in the US, but mostly from riding accidents than anything else.
- 50,000. That’s the number of people around the world who are killed by snake bites every year.
- If you consider humans to be animals, then humans are by far their own worst enemy, killing millions of each other throughout history.
The animal kingdom is a rough place to be. There’s no doubt about it. Although you’d think that the big animals, like the Grizzly bear, would be the most responsible for human injury and death, it’s the silent attackers that cause the most damage. Just take a look at the Tsetse fly, which spreads African Sleeping Sickness to nearly 500,000 people every year. 80% of the people who get sick will die from this illness. The next time you take a nice walk down a nature trail, don’t just be aware of the rustling in the woods. The buzzing in your ears could be harmful to your health.
You’ve Got to Watch Where You Step
- Although only 25 species of scorpions are actually venomous, they are responsible for up to 5,000 deaths every year.
- Because of allergic reactions to bites or massive swarms, about 30 people every year are killed by ants.
- Wading in ocean waters can also be harmful, considering jellyfish are responsible for up to 30x more deaths every year than sharks.
Sometimes the biggest threats don’t come from above, but from below. Stepping on an animal can be very harmful to a human, but feet also make the perfect place to attack. This is why it is always a good idea to where appropriate footwear for the environment. By making sure your feet are protected, you have a better chance of avoiding an animal that may have set its sights on you.
Big Animals Do Make For a Big Threat
- Africa’s most dangerous animal is considered to be the hippopotamus. It is responsible for nearly 3,000 human fatalities every year.
- 1,000. That’s the minimum number of attacks that crocodiles will make on humans in the next 12 months.
- The 15,000 pound elephant is expected to attack humans a minimum of 500 times in the next year.
- Water buffalo have sharper horns than people might expect, which is problematic for the 200 attacks that they average every year.
- Lions like to hunt and they’ll hunt humans an average of 1.5x every week.
- Tigers in the wild like to hunt humans at a rate of 1.5x every week as well. That number goes higher when humans willingly put themselves in harm’s way with a captive tiger.
- Deer can sometimes be big and they can sometimes get you with a strategically placed antler, but their biggest threat is on the road. US road fatalities because of vehicle/deer impacts averages 120 incidents every year.
The small animals can get you, but so can the large animals. The reality of life today is that humans continue to increase in population, we’ll continue to intrude on the natural habitats of animals. With over 10 billion people expected to be living on this planet by the year 2050, we’re going to find that the animal attacks on humans are likely to increase. Something is going to have to give when an animal gets hungry and defensive about its home.
Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?
- The placement of animals on endangered species lists has increased the number of animals that have deadly attack capabilities on humans.
- One tiger in India is believed to have attacked 10 people and traveled more than 80 miles in total in search of food.
- The number of leopards in India has increased by over 3,000 animals in total in the past decade alone.
- Our own philosophies have changed. Instead of running away from a potentially deadly animal, we’ll try to take a picture of it or engage with it in some way.
- Between 1999-2011, 75 deaths are attributed to humans who owned exotic pets. 14 of those attacks are attributed to the owning of an elephant.
- 90% of reptiles carry and shed salmonella, even when they are owned in a domestic capacity.
- Many exotic pets carry potential deadly diseases like monkeypox and Herpes B.
- There have bee a total of 1,610 reported attacks by exotic animals by owners since 1990.
- That’s the number of states that do not ban the ownership of dangerous captive wildlife, but requires owners to pay for a permit to own the animal.
- The number of states that do not restrict or regulate the ownership of dangerous captive wildlife at all: 7.
Sometimes we think we’re doing animals a favor, but we’re really not. The case of Terry Thompson in 2011 is proof of this. Thompson owned about 50 exotic animals in his home in Ohio. He decided to commit suicide, but before going through with the act, released all of his animals from their cages. This left authorities no choice but to euthanize these animals before they went on to attack the general population. Tigers, bears, monkey – they all lost their lives because of one exotic pet owner. Now replicate that by thousands of times, include the disease exposure, and then combine that with the increase in carnivorous species that live with us and it is clear to see that we’re setting our own stage for animal attacks.
Does Life Really Go On After An Attack?
- 25% of the survivors of venomous snake bites incur some form of permanent damage.
- Research indicates that rattlesnake venom is becoming stronger as an evolutionary response to the encroachment of humans.
- Nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year and about 50% of those attacks are on children.
- In 2012, more than 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.
- Adults with two or more dogs in the household are 5x more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home.
- Domestic cats bite an estimated 750,000 people every year.
- Every year, it is estimated that 40,000 people receive a rabies prevention treatment because of a potential exposure to the disease because of an animal attack.
- More than 90% of all rabid animals reported to CDC each year occur in wildlife.
- Cats are more likely than dogs to be reported as rabid, yet 36% of cat owners don’t take their animals to the vet over the course of a year.
Many animal attacks are something that we all just typically brush off. How many times has a cat owner been bitten or scratched by their animal over the years? It’s something that just happens. The only problem is that not everyone can walk away after an animal attacks them. The consequence of an attack can be life altering. Think about the damage that comes from the bite of an untreated brown recluse bite or the dramatic way that life can change for someone who becomes infected with Lyme disease by a tick. The fact is that if we’re not careful in how we manage our environment, we’re going to increase the chances of an animal attack. This is true for our homes, within our cities, and even in our nature preserves. Animals aren’t going to give up their homes without a fight. To expect otherwise would be naive.