The 10 deadliest land animals.

“Fun Facts Saturday”

1. Mosquitos (375,000-1,000,000 annual deaths)

The deadliest animal on the planet by far is the mosquito. That is not surprising when you think about it.  The blood suckers transmit a host of deadly diseases, including:

  • Malaria
  • West Nile Virus
  • Dengue Fever
  • Yellow Fever
  • Zika Virus
  • Encephalitis

Mosquitos kill an estimated 375-000-1,000,000 people per year.

Mosquitos are attracted from the carbon dioxide in your breath, as well as body heat, perspiration, and skin odor.

I hate mosquitos!

 (See: “Mosquito,” Wikipedia; “Mosquito-Borne Diseases,”; “Mosquito a Deadly Menace,”; “Don’t be a mosquito magnet,”

2. Snakes (138,000 annual deaths)

The second deadliest animal is the snake.  Snakes kill about 138,000 people per year.

Thankfully, the deadliest snakes live outside the U.S. They include:

King Cobra
  • African Saw-scaled Viper (Most human deaths. 90% fatal. Aggressive (bites early and often)
  • Indian Russell’s Viper (20,000 deaths per year. Aggressive and high fatality rate)
  • King Cobra (50-60% fatal. 15,000 deaths per year)
  • African Black Mamba (fastest-acting venom, death in 20 minutes)
  • South American Yellow Chin
  • African Boomslang (hangs motionless in trees and mimics branches)
  • Australian Cobra/Eastern Tiger Snake

I hate snakes!

(See: John R. Rafferty, “World’s Deadliest Snakes,”; “How does snake venom kill so quickly,”; “10 of the deadliest snakes,”

3. Rabid Dogs (59,000 annual deaths)

Rabid dogs kill about 59,000 people per year. Surprisingly, almost all of those deaths are due to bites from domestic dogs. Rabies is 99% fatal. Once symptoms appear, there is no cure.  

I love dogs!

(See: “Rabies-World Health Organization,”; “List of fatal dog attacks in the U.S.,” Wikipedia; “Year’s first U.S. human rabies death,”

4. Assassin Bugs (10,000 annual deaths)

The “Kissing Bug” carries Chagas Disease which kills 10,000 people per year, mainly in Latin America.  Chagas Disease is the result of an infectious parasite that attacks the heart. Chagas kills more people in Latin America than any other parasitic disease, including malaria. The insect got the nickname “Kissing Bug” by biting people on the face.

I’ve never seen an Assassin Bug, thankfully!

5. Scorpions (3,300 annual deaths)

There are about 1,500 species of scorpions in the world, but only about 30 can be fatal. But these cause about 3,300 human deaths each year. The most deadly are:

  1. Indian Red Scorpion (India)
  2. Deathstalker Scorpion (Middle East and North Africa)
  3. Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion (Middle East and North Africa)
  4. Yellow Fat-Tailed Scorpion (Middle East and North Africa)
  5. Black Spitting Thick-Tailed Scorpion (Africa)

Gratefully, the deadliest scorpions do not live in the U.S. In the U.S. scorpion stings are painful but rarely life-threatening. Scorpion stings can be serious for young children and elderly, but healthy adults usually don’t need treatment.

I hate scorpions!

(See: “Scorpion Sting – Symptoms and Causes,” Mayo Clinic,; “Six of the Most Dangerous and Unique Scorpions in the World,” James Dean, Feb 8, 2020.;)

6. Hippos (500-3,000 annual deaths)

Although they are adorable herbivores, hippos are very aggressive.  They are ultra-protective of their offspring and territory. It is estimated they kill from 500-3,000 people each year. Weighing over 2 tons, hippos are amazingly agile in and out of the water. But they can’t swim. They walk or gallop on the bottom of shallow lakes and rivers.  Their 20-inch-long teeth are sharp.  They can run up to 30 mph on land, faster than the fastest human. Obviously, hippos do not eat humans.

I love hippos!

(See: “No, hippos are not the deadliest animal,”; “Are Hippos Dangerous,” Jaymi Heimbuch, Treehugger, Apr 6, 2022)

6. Crocodiles (1,000 annual deaths)

Crocodiles are indiscriminate and opportunistic hunters that will attack any animal within reach, including humans. About 40% of crocodile attacks on humans are fatal, and about 1,000 people are killed each year. These attacks usually take place on riverbanks and lake shores.  They drown their victims and stuff them under submerged branches to let “tenderize” them before eating them later.  The majority of attacks take place in Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia. So, we Americans are semi-safe.

I don’t like crocodiles!

(See: “Crocodile Attack,” Wikipedia)

7. Elephants (600 annual deaths)

Elephants are the world’s largest land animal.  Weighing 5 tons, elephants can be unpredictable.  They will aggressively protect their babies and each other.  The 600 annual deaths are the result of trampling or crushing. “Musth,” a periodic testosterone surge, makes even the most placid elephant highly aggressive toward humans and other elephants. (P.S. Baby elephants suck their trunks like human babies suck their thumbs.)

I love elephants!

(See: “Musth,” Wikipedia)

9. Lions (200 annual deaths)

The lion is an apex predator.  While humans are not a natural prey, lions will kill humans if the natural prey has been depleted or if the lion is sick. Humans are an “opportunistic” “easy” prey.  

I like lions!

10. Cape Buffaloes (200 annual deaths)

Nicknamed the “Widow Maker” and “The Black Death” these 1 ton African buffaloes are aggressive, fearless, and unpredictable. They will stalk and kill humans if alone.  They trample or gore them to death with their sharp horns.

I like water buffaloes!

(See: “Top 10: World’s most dangerous animals,” Nature,; “These Are the Top 15 Deadliest Animals on Earth,” Lydia Ramsey, Business Insider, Feb 23, 2018)


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