Animals That Kill the Most Humans

Just because an animal appears scary or is deadly, it does not necessarily mean it is responsible for multiple human deaths. As a matter of fact, some of the most feared animals in the world have surprisingly low kill counts. Sharks only kill 6 people yearly on average, while lions only kill about 200. 

Some of the deadliest creatures on the planet have racked up their impressive numbers by spreading diseases or because the people who get regularly terrorized by them do not have easy access to medicines or protection. 

Animals That Kill the Most Humans

List of Animals That Have Killed Humans

1. Hippopotamuses – 500 deaths annually

Hippopotamus Deadly

While Africa is home to several deadly mammals like the African Elephant and multiple Big Cats like lions, leopards, and cheetahs, it is the hippo that causes multiple deaths on an annual basis. Despite being a megaherbivore that does not kill for food, its aggressive and unpredictable behavior makes it extremely dangerous. They are very territorial and do not tolerate anyone in their space. There are countless stories of hippos attacking boats and puncturing life rafts with their teeth.

2. Crocodiles – 1,000 deaths annually

Deadly Crocodile

Humans may not be their main prey, but crocodiles will still attack them if disturbed. As ambush predators, they are pretty good at hiding themselves, and it can often be too late until they are discovered. The most deadly of them is the Saltwater Crocodile, which, in addition to possessing a powerful bite, will perform a “death roll” to tear its victims into smaller pieces for easy consumption.

3. Tapeworms – 2,000 deaths annually

Tapeworm Deadly

Tapeworms enter the human body through raw or undercooked meat like beef, pork, or fish. They can make themselves at home for years and lay eggs with the host not displaying any symptoms until things get serious.

4. Ascaris Roundworms – 2,500 deaths annually

Ascaris Roundworms Deadly

Another parasite similar to the tapeworm are the roundworms in the Ascaris genus. These giant parasitic worms infect humans when their eggs are consumed as part of food and drink contaminated with human feces. The resulting disease – Ascariasis – kills over 2000 people each year. Ascaris roundworms are the most common parasitic roundworms that infect humans.

5. Scorpions – 3,250 deaths annually

Deadly Scorpions

Scorpions carry venom to incapacitate their prey for easy consumption they use their tail to inject with. But if humans disturb or accidentally step on them, they will use their stinger as a defense. Venom of certain species like the Deathstalker, the Brazilian Yellow Scorpion, and the Indian Red Scorpion are not only deadly to the young, the elderly, and those with underlying medical issues but may even kill a healthy adult human.

6. Tsetse Flies – 10,000 deaths annually

Tsetse Flies Deadly

These biting flies are not the danger by themselves but are a vector of a parasite that causes sleeping sickness. While a cure exists, most people affected by tsetse flies tend to be in rural areas, where these cures are far more challenging to obtain.

7. Freshwater Snails – 10,000 deaths annually

Freshwater Snails Deadly

Freshwater snails are a vector to a deadly parasite that causes the disease schistosomiasis. What makes matters worse is that, in this case, the animal doesn’t even need to come into contact with a human. A water body infested with these snails may lead to someone getting infected if they enter it.

8. Assassin Bugs – 10,000-12,000 deaths annually

Assassin Bugs Deadly

Assassin Bugs are not directly responsible for killing people. But they are vectors of the deadly Chagas disease, whose symptoms include swelling of the heart and brain. Symptoms of Chagas disease are almost undetectable in the beginning, which has led to the fatality rate increasing exponentially.

9. Dogs – 25,000-35,000 deaths annually

Deadly Dogs

They may be man’s best friends, but dogs kill over 25,000 people every year. These dogs are generally infected with rabies and then pass on the disease to humans, but maulings by uninfected dogs are not unheard of.

10. Snakes – 50,000-100,000 deaths annually

Deadly Snakes

As it turns out, snakes are feared worldwide for a good reason. Venomous snakes like the Black Mamba, the Fer-de-lance, and the Malayan Pit Viper can kill a fully grown, healthy adult. While antivenoms do exist, more often than not, the victims of snakebites do not have access to them or cannot reach them in time.

11. Humans – 475,000 deaths annually

Human with Gun

When it comes to human deaths, people themselves come second to one. Homicides, assaults, gun-related violence, terrorist attacks, vehicular accidents, and many, many more – humans are particularly adept at killing one another.

12. Mosquitos – 725,000-1,000,000 deaths annually

Deadly Mosquito

Proving that size is not an indicator of deadliness, mosquitoes top the list by being a vector of diseases that kill people who even have easy access to the cure. Most deaths are linked to malaria, but these insects are also vectors of West Nile virus, dengue, Zika, Japanese encephalitis, and many more.

Subscribe our newsletter

Enter your email here to stay updated with the animal kingdom