- Animals kill just over 400 people in the US on average each year.
- Mountain lions, sharks, and crocodiles might look the most threatening, but they’re not as likely to kill you compared to backyard animals like dogs and cows.
- Deer-related car accidents are responsible for about 200 deaths each year, higher than any other animal run-in.
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Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: Animals kill, on average, more than 400 people in the United States each year, and the deadliest of them all live a lot closer to you then you might think.
This is where mountain lions roam. They’re considered one of the most powerful predators on the planet. But they pose little threat to humans, killing about one person every five to 10 years. They’re far more likely to go after prey like deer or raccoons.
But when it comes to killing, size isn’t everything. There are more than 70 species of scorpion across the US, and together they kill an average of one person about every 2 1/2 years. But none are more dangerous than the Arizona bark scorpion, which lives primarily in Arizona and New Mexico. It’s one of 30 species worldwide that produces venom toxic enough to be fatal.
Next up is perhaps the most notorious of killers: sharks. Between 2007 and 2018, there were 920 shark attacks worldwide, and more than half of them were in US waters. But thankfully, most shark attacks aren’t fatal. And, on average, sharks kill Americans just once every 1.7 years. And, actually, there’s another water-loving predator that’s more deadly.
These toothy reptiles range from Texas to North Carolina and kill about one person every year and a half, most famously a young boy who was playing near a pond at the Disney World hotel in 2016.
But even alligators and crocodiles are not as deadly as… bears. In one color or another, bears range from Alaska down through much of the forested United States. They kill about one to two people a year. And nearly half of all fatal wild bear attacks since 1900 occurred in one of these six national parks.
But even 1,700-pound (771kg) bears have nothing on spiders, which, taken all together, kill around seven people a year. Most of these deaths are likely linked to just two spiders: the black widow and the brown recluse. That’s because they’re the only two spiders in the US with venom that’s toxic to humans. You can find black widows throughout the US, and the brown recluse is native to the Midwest and the South. These spiders live in basements, abandoned shoes, and outside in piles of rocks and wood.
And you know what else you can find there? Snakes. The US has about 20 species of venomous snakes, which live in every state except Alaska. Copperheads are the most likely to bite you and live in the southeastern United States. But you should be most aware of rattlesnakes, like the eastern and western diamondback, which are responsible for the most snake-related deaths. On average, snakes kill as many as 10 to 15 people a year. Oh, and if you really hate snakes, here are the states with the highest bite rates that you’d definitely want to avoid.
Now, if there’s anything scarier than bears, spiders and snakes, it’s… cows? That’s right. Each year, cows kill about 20 people, typically by kicking or trampling. And about three-quarters of those incidents are reportedly deliberate attacks. Of course, you can find cows everywhere, and the same goes for the top three animals on our list.
Dogs kill about 30 people a year, most often from attacks that prove fatal, and pit bulls are responsible for more than half of them.
Bees and other stinging insects kill nearly 100 people per year, often by triggering an allergic reaction. One kind, often called the killer bee, is especially aggressive. If disturbed, they’ll swarm, and can sting victims more than 1,000 times.
And, last but not least, at the top of our list is an animal that isn’t toxic and doesn’t generally attack humans.
Each year, deer cause about 1.3 million car accidents, and about 200 of them are fatal, though your risk is much higher in some states, like West Virginia. But taken all together, your odds of dying from any kind of animal run-in are slim. And when you compare that to the leading causes of death in America, you’ll realize that animals are the least of your worries.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in August 2019.