Or should we say, some of the most dangerous animals? There are many more and it is difficult to pick a few and say “these are the “most” dangerous of all.”
We call them dangerous because they foster fear. But at the same time, these great creatures of the earth have an important place in our lives, and deserve respect for the amazing strength, stealth and hunting ability they possess.
Most Dangerous Animals
Some of these animals may be tolerant of people around them, but they are wild animals! They can be extremely dangerous, especially when hungry or threatened. Don’t get the wrong idea here, as some of them attack without provocation too. There is no such thing as a “safe” wild animal.
Although, there may be more damage done by dogs and cats; there is a reason why one doesn’t see certain species getting tamed. These animals are too independent (meaning dangerous) to be this close to humans. Some of the cuddliest creatures out there are downright deadly.
Read on to find out more about the animals we are so fearful, but in awe of. The list is presented to you in no particular order.
(All over the world in different areas)
Bull sharks are widely distributed and can live anywhere. Unlike any other shark, they can live in seawater and freshwater, as well as far inland via rivers and tributaries. These aggressive sharks prefer shallow waters where people usually swim, like tropical shorelines.
Although, the Bull Shark, the Great White Shark and the Tiger Shark, are grouped together as the three most dangerous species that are most likely to attack humans; experts now believe that bull sharks are the most dangerous. They say that the Great White Shark is more dangerous in our imaginations than in reality and they are not the mindless killing machines that people once thought they were. According to National Geographic, “humans are not actually on the great white’s menu.”
The name “Bull Shark” comes from their combative nature, short and blunt snout, and their habit of striking with the head before attacking prey. With thick and stout bodies, strong jaws with triangular teeth, these fast moving predators eat everything they see. They may not eat humans but experts say they are implicated in the highest number of unprovoked attacks – and this they are said to do out of curiosity.
At first glance, Polar Bears seem very cute and cuddly, but they are the most powerful predators that can be very dangerous to humans in close proximity. In short, these animals that live in the Northern Hemisphere and spread throughout Canada, Alaska, Norway, Greenland and Russia; do not fear Homo sapiens.
They stand anywhere between 8 – 11 feet tall, and are one of the largest members of the bear family. Some of the males weigh up to 1,500 pounds.
Polar Bears are the largest meat eaters on land, and being extremely protective of their cubs, will leave no chance to attack when they see something as a danger to their cubs. Did you know that a polar bear has enough strength and will not hesitate to cut off a human head with its paw?
The gorgeous looking ‘Chironex fleckeri’, known as the major Box Jellyfish is capable of causing an agonizing death within 3-5 minutes, with the briefest of touches. It has the most rapidly acting venom known to science. Although, it is just one of the many species of Australian box jellyfish, this particular species is the largest and considered to be the most dangerous.
The name Box Jellyfish is given as it is cube shaped with four sides.
Scientists say their population is exploding and they have noted an interesting fact. This killer machine that is packed with venom responds to danger (when it feels under attack) by going into a breeding frenzy, with the female creating millions of eggs and the male carrying billions of sperm.
Apart from its venom, what makes it even more dangerous is the genetic equipment it is bestowed with. It has four brains that work on searching for food, ability to distinguish color, 24 eyes with moving pupils giving it a 360-degree view of prey, 6-8 ft long tentacles, with each tentacle having enough toxin to kill 60 people. It releases deadly venom from thousands of fibers that continue to release venom even after it is dead.
Are humans any match? Scientists are still working on trying to uncover the mystery of the box jellyfish.
When you’re confronted with 3m of pure high voltage power; when it coils and raises its head, hisses and flicks its tongue in and out, ready to strike – then all theories, reassurances and science desert you.
While some say the puff adder is the most dangerous, others say it is the inland taipan, but many experts believe that Black Mamba may be considered as the most dangerous of all. It is territorial, meaning it protects its turf aggressively, and is known to come after people if they invade the privacy.
Studies have also shown that an adult human bitten by the black mamba stands virtually no chance of surviving in the absence of anti-venom. The amount of venom injected by Black Mamba is also much more than the Inland Taipan.
The name Black Mamba comes from the black color inside its mouth (as you can see in the embedded picture above). This snake can grow above 4m and is the fastest in the world, with speeds ranging between 10-12 mph. It is usually shy but when an attack happens, it strikes repeatedly possibly in the chest area, injecting huge amounts of venom, leaving very little chance of survival for the victim. To add to that, it moves extremely swiftly and has fast strike speed, posing a greater threat than other land snakes. Even Steve Irwin reportedly admitted to Black Mamba being the most dangerous snake he ever faced, and said it gave him cold sweats.
Named by the Greeks as the “river horse,” Hippopotamus amphibius love water and spend almost 16 hours a day submerged in lakes and rivers to keep their body cool in the African sun, as they have thin skin and don’t have any sweat glands. At first glance, hippos are very deceptive in appearance and look slow and dull. Many tourists tend to think hippos cannot move fast because of their huge body mass. They may be huge and heavy creatures, with the male hippopotamus weighing up to 3000 kg, and females getting as big as 1400 kg, but they run faster than humans.
They are good swimmers and can hold their breath underwater for about five minutes. They can even walk to the lake floor and stand there. Perhaps to accommodate being in water, they have eyes, ears, and nostrils on the top of the head.
Hippos are some of the most aggressive animals on earth and extremely dangerous. The number of people killed by hippos is very high. One of the reasons for these hippo attacks is said to be due to people getting in the way of a hippo and its home in water. Hippos hold their head-back, and open their mouth wide as if in yawning, which is a display of threat.
(Eastern India, South east Asia, Northern Australia)
Crocodile, the next best thing to a dinosaur, and the largest living reptile, comes in different shapes and sizes. There are several species of crocodiles, but the most dangerous that are a threat to humans are the Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus Porosus) or salties as the Australians call them.
Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to 7m and weigh up to 1,543 lbs, and like most other animals, the males are larger than females. Just like the hippo, their eyes and nostrils are located at the top of their head, and this enables them to see their prey even when inside water. These crocodiles are powerful swimmers and can outwit humans and prey on them.
They are highly aggressive in nature and feed on anything, including sharks. Experts believe them to be man-eaters that not only kill people but eat them too. With their enormous range, and the ability to live in both saltwater and freshwater, they are held responsible for the maximum human fatalities each year than any other predator on earth. Would definitely not want to be in the “death roll” of a crocodile!
Usually seen in large herds, the African Buffalo or Cape Buffalo is heavy. They are not all the same and vary in size, color, shape of the horns and faces. They are highly unpredictable and extremely dangerous.
This cow like mammal is said to have a strange stare that makes people think they are looking at them even from a long distance.
The males can weigh more than 1,000 pounds and the females are smaller. The males have horns, a hump on the shoulder and a thick neck. Researchers who have tested their pulling strength revealed that the Cape Buffalo has strength several times more than an ox, and can tip a motorcar.
According to Animal Planet, “Buffalo are reported to kill more hunters in Africa than any other animal. They are known to ambush hunters that have wounded or injured them.”
There is an adage that says – an elephant never forgets, but the African Buffalo never forgives. Experts say that these buffalos have been seen to attack people that have harmed them years ago.
In fact, National Geographic states that many people consider them more dangerous than lions, and for good reason — on average, more people are killed by African buffalo every year than by the big cats.
(Lion: Africa and Asia; Tiger: India, China, Southeast Asia, Siberia)
The Tiger, Lion, Jaguar, Leopard fit into the major section of the big cat family. Others like Cheetah, Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard and Cougar are an extension to this family.
Out of all the big cats, lions and tigers are known among Carnivora experts for their ferocity. But out of the two, it is the Lions that attack the maximum number of humans. They are known to kill and eat humans. There are many books that talk of man-eating lions, but it was considered unusual. However, researchers found evidence that humans do have a place on their menu.
Reports also suggest that once lions develop a taste for human flesh, they find them easy targets; especially lions that are injured, sick or old. This makes lions extremely dangerous for humans.
Tigers also scent-mark their territories and aggressively protect them. Over the years, they have, like lions, gained the reputation of being man-eaters. With humans trespassing on their territory, Lions have come to see humans as a food source. Although, it is often the sick and old tigers that cannot hunt normally, that prey on humans; once they get used to human flesh, they become dangerously addicted. Unsure of when they will feed next, they gorge on this fast food. Alarmingly, wildlife experts reveal that in the Sunderbans, 1 in 10 tigers is a man-eater.
In some parts of the world, people dread the night. They fear lumbering giants that emerge from the forest and destroy their homes and cause the walls to crash on sleeping families. They grab their loved ones and flee – only to realize later that not everyone made it alive. Incidents like these are becoming common place with wild elephants, leading to them being called unpredictable and dangerous.
Yes, elephants are by nature peaceful, and all they want to do is care for their young. But we have encroached on their territories – depriving them of food, creating a conflicting situation.
This encroachment has forced elephants to hide in the forest, and lack of sufficient food and shelter backed them into a corner. In this situation, elephants which have size and strength on their side, turn aggressive to protect themselves. In fact, an extreme story relates how an elephant that was irritated by people started eating the people it was killing. Okay, that may not be a plausible story, as elephants are herbivorous, but they are responsible for about 600 deaths every year. They stampede and gore!
The Grizzly Bear
This subspecies of the brown bear living in North America, is one of the few animals that can actually kill and eat a man. Grizzly’s are omnivores and have immense strength, making them extremely dangerous opponents to deal with. Every year, there are reports of humans being killed by this huge predator.
The name grizzly comes from the white-tipped hair that gives them a grizzled look.
Like most other wild animals, this bear charges when we get too close and invade their privacy; and a female bear (a sow) with cubs will defend its cubs. In spite of its massive body, this bear can run very fast for short distances. It can run at a speed of over 60 km/h, and is said to outrun a horse, leaving no scope for escape. The grizzly has huge claws and an incredible size to attack. It has the power to decapitate a moose with a single paw. What could that do to us?
Have we forgotten the most dangerous animal of all? Should this be number one?
Before we end, it is important to mention the most talked about and dangerous animal of all – the mosquito. Ever since the discovery that mosquitoes transmit malaria was made by Ronald Ross, who won the Nobel Prize, this small insect was anointed as the most dangerous animal to humans. The infections transmitted by mosquitoes are many, including encephalitis, yellow fever, dengue, elephantiasis, and many more. It is a vector agent that carries mosquito-borne disease, and transmits viruses and parasites from person to person, leading to thousands of deaths each year, around the world.
Having said that, the wild animals we find dangerous – the animals that can outsmart us in every way possible – the animals that can kill us – the animals that can eat us; would in reality love to stay away from us. They get aggressive and attack because we enter their territory, and these wild beings are left with nothing to call their home, no safe place where they can rear their children. That makes the human species, the deadliest, the most venomous and the most dangerous. The true extent of the horrendous human behavior can only come to fore, if animals can voice their feelings.