20 Animals That Will Kill You

“The yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti” by jwinfred is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Did you know there are about 8.7 million different kinds of animals on Earth? Most live on land, around 6.5 million, while about 2.2 million live in the ocean. Some animals can be very dangerous to humans—like lions and crocodiles, which you might have seen in movies.They can cause harm through diseases, venom, and other ways. Here are 20 animals that will kill you,


“Coral Snake Closeup” by MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Dangerous snakes are found everywhere, and they can kill people in some pretty scary ways. Take the black mamba, for instance. Just two drops of its venom can end a human’s life. Then there are pythons—which can gulp down a whole grown-up person! Pythons don’t use venom, though. They wrap their long bodies around their prey, squeezing them tight until they can’t breathe anymore and even breaking their bones.


“Aedes aegypti mosquito” by Sanofi Pasteur is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Did you know that mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on Earth? They cause around 725,000 deaths each year by spreading diseases like malaria. Only female mosquitoes bite, which makes them the most risky ones. Despite their small size, mosquitoes have greatly impacted human history. They played an important role in events like the fight for American independence and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. 


Close-up Photography of Adult Black and White American Pit Bull Terrier Prone Lying on Floor
Photo by Angela Cavina on Pexels

Our furry pals, dogs, can turn into quite the foes when it comes to rabies. Even your friendly neighborhood postman might have a story or two about dodging dog bites. Dogs tend to protect their owners and may bite if they feel threatened by intruders. While it’s rare for people to die from dog attacks, rabies transmitted through dog bites is a serious concern, especially in poorer areas like Africa and Asia. 

Assassin Bugs

“Assassin Bug, back, MD, Upper Marlboro_2013-09-15-13.54.34 ZS PMax” by Sam Droege is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

Assassin bugs are a major carrier of the dangerous Chagas disease. These bugs, which suck blood, pose a severe danger to Central and South America. Chagas disease can be deadly and spread through bites from assassin bugs or by consuming food or drinks that the bugs have contaminated with their feces—carrying the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. It can cause serious harm to the heart, digestive system, and nervous system.


“Scorpion in Question” by Furryscaly is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

These old and fierce little creatures sting their prey with their tails and inject venom. More than 2,600 types of these bugs exist—but only about 25 have venom strong enough to kill humans. One of the most menacing is the Deathstalker (the name says it all!). These yellow killers live in dry, sandy places like North Africa and the Middle East. You definitely don’t want to mess with them.


“Nile Crocodile” by wallygrom is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Crocodiles are well-known for being fierce creatures, causing around 1,000 deaths every year. Their teeth alone show why they’re so scary. Nile crocodiles have the strongest bite of any animal, with a force of up to 5,000 psi. In comparison, saltwater crocs have a bite force of 3,700 psi—making them the second strongest. Saltwater ones grab their prey and can even spin in a death roll to make things worse.


“Elephant family” by Colin the Scot is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Because of its size and strength, the powerful elephant is one of the scariest animals out there. Elephants can harm humans in different ways. They usually do it by trampling. Since African ones can weigh up to eight tonnes (and Asian ones up to five-and-a-half tonnes), just getting hit and stepped on by one is enough to be fatal. Elephants also use their trunks to grab and throw people or smash them onto the ground.


“Lion” by @Doug88888 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The king of the jungle would be higher up on the list of the world’s most dangerous animals. Still, the lion is a fierce predator. Just hearing its roar at 114 decibels should be enough of a warning! Lions usually hunt at night, using their sharp claws to make deep cuts and their powerful bite to break bones and even skulls. These big cats hunt in small teams, surrounding their prey before attacking.


“Hippo yawn hippopotamus” by @Doug88888 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Hippos might seem like peaceful creatures, but they’re responsible for about 500 deaths yearly. They’re very aggressive and don’t like anyone invading their territory. Sometimes, they charge at boats and flip them over, putting people in danger. If that happens—folks can drown or get attacked by the hippos. These giants weigh around 1,500 kilograms on average (for males) and have big, sharp teeth. 

Ascaris Roundworms

“Ascaris Lumbricoides (roundworm)” by Sustainable sanitation is licensed under CC BY 2.0

These roundworms, called Ascaris, spread when someone accidentally swallows their eggs, often because food or drinks are contaminated with human poop. Once inside the body, the worms make themselves at home in the small intestine—using the person’s body to survive, eat, and reproduce. This leads to a disease called Ascariasis, which causes symptoms like fever, belly pain and swelling, and trouble breathing. Unfortunately, it kills around 2,500 people each year.

Freshwater Snails

“Make:Biosphere – freshwater snail #2” by cephalopodcast is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Over 200,000 deaths occur each year because of freshwater snails. They carry deadly parasites, especially flukes. There are about 24,000 types of these flukes, and many of them infect both animals with backbones (like us) and mollusks (like snails). One of the worst ones, Schistosoma, is spread by freshwater snails. Folks can get infected when these flukes enter their skin through contaminated freshwater.


“DSC_3040 – Noseeum (sandfly, biting midge) bites” by eastpole is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Watch out for sandflies, even though they’re tiny—they can cause big trouble. These little bugs are found in different parts of the world and carry a group of diseases called Leishmaniasis. This can make your skin, inside parts like your mouth, and even your organs sick. It usually won’t kill you, but it can cause sores that really hurt and can stick around for a long time. 

Tsetse Fly

“Tsetse fly” by Oregon State University is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

These flies spread a disease called African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness. When they bite people, they pass on a parasite that can make its way into the central nervous system. This causes serious problems like trouble sleeping and feeling confused, and if it’s not treated, it can even lead to death. This sickness affects many people, causing about 10,000 deaths every year.


“Tapeworm proglottids” by Nathan Reading is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Even though they’re small, tapeworms can cause big trouble for humans. These flatworm parasites usually get into our bodies when we eat contaminated food or drink water. Once they’re inside, tapeworms can grow really long and cause lots of health problems—like belly pain, not getting enough food, and even seizures. Having tapeworms can lead to infections that cause about 2,000 deaths every year.


“Bee macro” by @Doug88888 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Bees are important for making flowers grow and honey, but they can be really risky if they feel threatened. People allergic to bee stings can have a very serious reaction called anaphylactic shock—even from just one sting, which can be deadly. If you get stung by many bees, it can be dangerous for anyone because the venom they inject can make your body react badly and cause big health problems.


“Tigers fight” by @Doug88888 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Tigers are stunning big cats, but they’re also very dangerous predators. They’re famous for being strong, quick, and having really sharp claws and teeth. Sometimes, when people and tigers come into contact, things can get deadly—especially if the tigers feel scared, hungry, or trapped. Every year, tigers are responsible for several human deaths, especially in places where they live close to people.


“Jellyfish at Dubai Aquarium” by GeniusDevil is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Even though jellyfish look delicate, they’re actually some of the ocean’s strongest stingers. Most types of jellyfish won’t hurt folks, but a few, like the box jellyfish, have tentacles with venom that can be dangerous, even deadly sometimes. While it’s not common for jellyfish stings to kill people, they can hurt a lot and cause very bad allergic reactions.


“Wolves in Action” by iam_photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Wolves often get a bad rap in stories, but they’re not as dangerous to people as you might think. Usually, they’re scared of humans, and that’s understandable. Humans almost wiped out wolves completely before we realized we needed to protect them. When wolves did attack folks in the past, it was mostly a long time ago—like during the Middle Ages. Nowadays, most wolf attacks happen because the wolves are sick with rabies.


“Lemon Shark swimming among divers… and other lemon sharks” by WIlly Volk is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Sharks might seem scary, but they’re actually not as dangerous as you might think. They’re responsible for about 70 human attacks each year. Even though they’re top predators and really good at finding food—they don’t usually see humans as snacks. Most of the time, when a shark attacks a person, it’s because they mistook them for something else or were just checking things out.

Cape Buffalo

“African Buffalo or Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)” by Arno Meintjes Wildlife is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Cape buffalo are massive and impressive animals. They live together in big groups and look out for each other by using their big horns and strong bodies. Even lions (who are usually brave) don’t mess with them because it’s too risky—they could get hurt or even killed. Cape buffalo stick together and fight back as a team, which is why they’re responsible for about 200 human deaths each year.