While attacks by lions or sharks on humans are terrifying, they also are quite rare.
So what is the world’s deadliest animal?
Many of us view mosquitoes as more of an annoyance than a threat, but the tiny insects are far and away the deadliest animals on earth.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 725,000 people are killed each year by mosquito-born diseases. A staggering 200 million people are at least temporarily incapacitated by malaria alone, of which 600,000 die.
Dengue fever, yellow fever and encephalitis are also deadly diseases carried by mosquitoes.
At least one influential individual is spreading the word about the killer insects.
An examination of the above graphic (which is based on WHO data) reveals that we are often our own wost enemy. Beyond humans themselves, nature’s deadliest creatures also include:
While cobras and pythons attract a lot of attention, bites by smaller venomous snakes are highly dangerous, especially when they go untreated.
The saw-scaled viper kills more people than any other snake each year, though the venomous serpent is comparatively diminutive at just one to three feet long.
Among the most venomous snakes on earth is the inland taipan, native to Australia. Its poison is so intense that it can kill in less than a half hour.
Man’s best friend is also the mammal most likely to kill him. Of the roughly 25,000 people killed by dogs each year, the majority die from rabies.
Over 90 percent of rabies infections in humans worldwide are caused by dog bites, though that number is much lower in the west where rabies has been well contained in canine populations and skunks and bats are more likely than dogs to infect people.
While it is very rare for someone in North America or Western Europe to die of rabies, an estimated 20,000 people die in India each year from the disease due primarily to the prevalence of stray dogs.
The most dangerous large land animal in Africa is the hippopotamus. Despite their primarily vegetarian diet, the world’s third-largest land mammal is extremely aggressive and territorial.
The combination of sheer size (males average 3,300 lbs), sharp teeth, and mobility both in and out of water make for a fearsome beast indeed.
While sharks are among nature’s most feared predators they are not one of the most dangerous, at least for humans. Only approximately 10 people are killed by sharks annually. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be terrifying.