The phrase “It’s a jungle out there!” rarely applies to an actual jungle. I mean, how much of your day is really spent worrying about being eaten by a lion?
But just because our world is more concrete/suburban jungle than trees with toucans, doesn't mean there aren't dangerous predators lurking around every corner. And before you say, “Oh stop your fear mongering, it’s not like I live anywhere near a national park or the woods or even enjoy surfing,” the deadliest creatures in America are not what you would guess, if you were guessing America's most dangerous creatures. Okay, maybe some of them are, but not all.
No, here are all 11 animals, ranked in the order they most likely will end you.
11. Wild boars
We’re just going to say it: boars are assholes. You may not know that because, well, you watched The Lion King and the only deadly thing Pumbaa emitted was his farts. But in reality, yeah, they’re total d-bags. They snort, they're aggressive, and they usually attack unprovoked in an attempt to maim you with their tusks. And while they kill fewer than 10 people in the US annually, according to Savannah River National Laboratory, they're actually a bigger problem worldwide; in fact, there were more fatal pig than shark attacks around the globe in 2013.
10. Mountain lions
Since it's difficult to calculate death-by-cougar numbers based on OkCupid age settings, we decided to focus on the actual cats and use their alternative name: mountain lions. Their death toll may only be approximately one per year, but similar to human cougars, they tend to stalk their prey before going in for the kill. In other words, if they pounce, you don’t stand a chance.
Contrary to popular belief, bears (which can weigh 700lbs and stand over 7ft tall) don’t just get pissed when you break into their house and eat their porridge. But you know this from watching Grizzly Man, of course. No, grizzly and black bears combined have taken the lives of close to 30 people in the past 15 years -- the most recent attack coming last month when a hiker was killed by one in Yellowstone National Park.
If '90s horror flick Arachnophobia wasn’t enough to scare the ever-living shit out of you, maybe the fact that there are more than 4,000 (!!) different species of these creepy crawlers in North America will. There is a silver lining, though: only a handful of them are poisonous. Still, try NOT to be bitten by any Recluse Spiders or Black Widows, whose venom attacks your nervous system and is said to be 15 times as toxic as that of a rattlesnake.
7. Alligators & crocodiles
We included both because people often confuse the two (reminder from this Florida native: square nose = alligator; pointy nose = crocodile). Crocs have always been the more aggressive and deadlier of the two, and are responsible for roughly 1,000 deaths per year worldwide. Alligators, on average, have only taken around 25 human lives in last half century, but their attack numbers are steadily climbing as humans keep building golf courses and condos on their land, aka the Florida Everglades.
Shout out to the most deadly serpent in the US: the rattlesnake. Almost all 27 species of this slithering sucker reside in the Lower 48 (except in Maine and Delaware) and the Eastern Diamondback -- which can reach seven-feet in length -- is considered the most venomous species in North America. And while rattlers may only rack up five kills per year, there are anywhere from 4,000-7,000 reported bites, annually. Honorable mention, by the way, goes to the Copperhead and Coral Snake; although are less likely to bite, they are reported to have some of the deadliest venom in the game. Plus, in the case of the Coral snake, since their coloring is so similar to a non-poisonous King Snake, they get their own terrifying rhyme: “Red and Black, Venom Lack. Red and Yellow, Kill A Fellow."
It’s been a banner year for shark attacks in the US, making this the most scared people have been to get in the ocean since the release of Jaws in 1975. There have been to close to 30 attacks thus far in 2015, and while the majority have been in Florida (because, Florida!), close to half a dozen have occurred in the Carolinas; in fact, a record-breaking three took place in one week alone in the Outer Banks.
Our beloved canine friends actually account for a very large number human deaths in the United States, according to Dog Bite Law. Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are responsible for the majority of fatal maulings, killing more than 35 people alone in 2010. That said, the most common cause of death by dog is still rabies-related.
Remember how sad it was when Macaulay Culkin died in My Girl due to the allergic reaction he suffered at the stingers of a swarm of bees? Of course, you do. In reality, deaths from those reactions to bees hover at around 100, annually. Horrible news alert: You don’t even technically have to be allergic to die from a vicious bee attack. Come across enough of them -- like an entire hive -- and the stings can cause kidney failure. Woof.
Yes, this is technically a US list, but given mosquitoes are the deadliest killer on earth and long-time nemesis of countless outdoor barbecues, we feel global statistics are necessary here. Seriously, nothing else even comes close to these things when it comes to worldwide destruction; they are responsible for close to A MILLION deaths every year by spreading malaria and West Nile Virus, although in the United States the numbers are only in the hundreds. Oh, and unless you want to live in tropical Antarctica -- which we hear is nice at no points of the year -- you pretty much can’t escape them. There are more than 2,500 species buzzing throughout every region of the world.
Surprise, surprise… we are our own worst enemy! According to the FBI, there are more than 15,000 homicides in the US every year. To give you a little perspective, that’s more than everything on this list combined.
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