We’ve all seen the movies where some animal is “the ultimate killing machine”, relentlessly slaughtering unsuspecting people. Whether it was Jaws, Anaconda, or one of the many ridiculous, cheaply done, SyFy movies of the week, we have learned that animals kick our ass (although the last couple of people still alive, or single person, can take it out often times for the “Hollywood ending”).
Is it the shark? I know Jaws sure as hell scared the crap out of me… Well based on ISAF stats, there have been on average 65 attacks a year over the last decade, with roughly 4 death a year. So yeah, they are bad-asses of evolution, but they are not the most dangerous animal on earth.
We could always go the Wizard of Oz route. How many fatalities from lions and tigers and bears (oh my)? Well for every one person killed by a tiger one hundred die from snakebite, so that takes tigers out (we’ll need to keep snakes in mind though it seems). This same link shows that lion and bear attacks are equally rare, so those are obviously out of the running…
Well perhaps we’re doing this the wrong way, let’s take a look at a random state in the US and see all combined animal fatalities. From 1991 to 2001, 1943 persons died in the United States after venomous and nonvenomous animal encounters. An average of 177 fatalities per year were recorded. Well that just doesn’t seem to be enough, and that in a combination of ALL animal related fatalities combined…
Perhaps we should look towards Australia which has a reputation for many nasty critters. The stats on this seem to show an average of 3.5 deaths per year in Australia between crocodiles, snakes, and bee-stings combined, and no deaths since 1981 from spider bites despite having some of the deadliest spiders around.
Well the snake sure seems dangerous from our research into tiger attacks. Hell the bible has it as the primary antagonist for a while. And it’s “the best selling book of all time”, so it must be true. But what do the stats say? Based on at least one study, there are 20,000 fatalities a year from snakes.
So it MUST be snakes, right? What animal could possibly beat those numbers?
You might think it would need to be something bigger, something scarier, perhaps giant fangs, sharp claws, and a taste for meat? But that would just be too obvious, and why would I waste all these words for such an obvious reveal?
Malaria is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Each year, there are approximately 350–500 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people, the majority of whom are young children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ninety percent of malaria-related deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Read that again if you’re not already astonished… Malaria, which is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes kills between 1 and 3 million people PER YEAR.
The lowly mosquito is the world’s most dangerous animal. Who knew…
But there is something being done about it, foremost among those is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who are working tirelessly to reduce and eventually eliminate this horrible disease.
For another look at this topic, check out: