Although Hollywood films suggest our greatest threats include sharks and rampaging apes, the deadliest creatures are often much smaller – and more likely to kill through disease rather than razor-sharp teeth. But which creature is Earth’s number one killer? Find out the top 7 below.
The hippopotamus could be seen as a surprise entry on this list due to being a herbivore, but thanks to its impressive set of chompers and aggressive nature it is one of the most dangerous animals on the planet. Hippos use those long (up to half a metre) sharp canines for fighting and just one bite from the creature can cut a human body in half. Ouch. A hippopotamus bite comes with a force of 1,800 psi, nearly three times that of a lion.
The crocodile is a famously ferocious animal that causes up to 1,000 reported fatalities a year. Just one look at those teeth should tell you why these reptiles are so dangerous.
The Nile crocodile has a bite force of up to 5,000 psi, the strongest of any animal in the world, with the saltwater croc having a paltry biting force of just 3,700 psi in comparison. Saltwater crocodiles chomp down on their prey and can perform a death roll to help add even more pain to the experience. Lovely. Nile crocodiles, on the other hand, use their ridiculously powerful bite to simply crush their prey before often swallowing it down whole.
While you may have guessed that the king of the jungle – that doesn’t live in the jungle – would be higher up on this list of the world’s most dangerous animals, the lion is still a ferocious predator that you wouldn’t want to mess with. Its 114dB roar should be warning enough.
Typically attacking in the night using sharp claws to inflict deep wounds and with a bite that can crack bones and your skull, the lion is a fearsome beast. These big cats stalk their prey in small groups, surrounding the unlucky individual before lunging in for the kill.
Man’s best friend can be man’s worst enemy when it comes to rabies. Any postman could tell you about dog attacks or close calls, too. Dogs like to guard their owners against possible intruders and will attack by biting. While deaths from dog attacks are uncommon, human deaths from rabies transmitted by dog bites are not unheard of, primarily taking place in poorer parts of the world including Africa and Asia.
The mighty elephant is one of the world’s most dangerous animals thanks to its sheer size and can attack humans in various ways. Elephants typically kill humans by trampling. As the African elephant can weigh up to eight tonnes, the force of being knocked back and stomped on by one would easily be enough to kill. An elephant can also use its trunk to pick up and throw humans and smash them into the ground. It has been known, too, for elephants to gore people using their tusks.
Why did it have to be snakes? Indiana Jones has good reason to be deathly afraid of these venomous reptiles. Dangerous snakes can be found the world over and can kill humans in various different and brutal ways. The black mamba, for example, can kill a human with just two drops of venom from a bite whereas pythons can swallow a fully grown adult whole.
These ancient and aggressive creepy crawlies sting with their tail and inject venom into their prey. With over 2,600 species of the arachnid, only around 25 carry a powerful enough toxin to kill humans. One of the most dangerous is the deathstalker. These yellow death bringers can be found across the dry and arid landscapes and deserts of North Africa and the Middle East. They are not to be trifled with.