Modern day human has evolved over millions of years in spite of considerable obstacles. The fact that we exist today means they were able to escape the threat of death. Prior to reliable home construction, humans were exposed to the elements and dangerous animals of all kinds. Now-extinct creatures like wooly mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and giant bears posed a substantial threat to the ancient humans. Early seafaring explorers took on dangerous sharks and whales in the oceans. With the expansion of agriculture and civilization came infectious diseases spread by animals nearly wiping out the entire world population on several occasions. Today, animals still present a hazard to humans, and this article looks at which of them kill the biggest number of humans.
Animals that Kill the Greatest Number of Humans
Surprisingly, the most dangerous animal to humans is not a large, sharp-toothed predator but rather a tiny, buzzing insect. Mosquitoes are responsible for around 1,000,000 deaths per year. Most people consider them nothing more than a summer evening nuisance, but they are the deadliest animal on earth. Mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria, dengue, West Nile disease, yellow fever, and Zika disease cause widespread suffering and death.
Approximately 475,000 people die every year at the hand of fellow man. In a world filled with conflict, war, murders, and acts of terrorism, this is unfortunately not that surprising. Deaths among humans are intentional and pre-calculated making them beyond tragic.
Perhaps one of the least appreciated animals on earth is also the third most dangerous. Snakes kill at least 50,000 people annually. Fatal bites by venomous snakes often go unreported which could mean that the figure of 50,000 could be even higher. Public health officials often overlook this potential threat.
Man’s best friend? Not always. Dogs kill 25,000 people yearly. These deaths are not because of vicious maulings by household pets, however. Feral and stray dogs infected with rabies attack people and spread the disease.
Tsese Flies, Assassin Bugs, Freshwater Snails
After dogs, the next three animals are small and relatively unassuming perhaps making them more dangerous. Tsetse flies throughout Africa are carriers of the parasite that causes the sleeping sickness disease and responsible for 10,000 reported deaths each year. This disease affects sub-Saharan Africa particularly in very rural and undeveloped areas where people rely on livestock which can also become infected. The danger of this disease is that it can often go undetected until it is too late. Assassin bugs, also known as Kissing bugs, are attracted to lights in homes where they find their prey, humans. These bugs bite people spreading the parasite that causes Chagas disease. Chagas disease leads to major organ failure and kills 10,000 people every year. Another 10,000 lives are lost to freshwater snails which carry another type of parasite. Infected snails can pass along schistosomiasis to humans which cause flu-like symptoms, blood-vomits, and leg paralysis. All of these parasites have increasingly spread to wider areas due to the rise in global climate change and increasing populations that lead to unsanitary living conditions.
Roundworms And Tapeworms
Roundworms and tapeworms cause 2,500 deaths each and crocodiles kill 1,000 people annually. The biggest animals on the list kill the fewest number of people.
The Giants Of The Animal World and The Carnivores
The crocodile is responsible for 1,000 deaths, hippopotamus for 500 deaths, the elephant and the lion 100 each. Wolves and sharks, often villainized on TV and in movies, only cause ten deaths each every year.
Increases in Deaths Caused by Humans
As the world continues toward destruction, humans will become responsible for more and more deaths. Uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions promote unprecedented global climate change which, in turn, increase the breeding areas of parasite and virus-carrying insects. Neverending wars rage on throughout the world, fought by increasingly deadly weapons and our inability to find common ground results in growing numbers of deadly terrorist attacks. Human deaths caused by other humans, whether directly or indirectly, will only continue to escalate.