Discover the Deadliest Animals in Maine

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: October 8, 2022
© Martin Prochazkacz/
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Maine has the largest population of giant antlered animals in the lower 48 and their state mammal is the moose. There is an estimated 60 to 70,000 moose in Maine alone. That seems like your odds of running into a moose are pretty high, but would it be dangerous? What about the beautiful coast of Maine, are there any dangerous animals in the water? Incredibly, Maine has a state crustacean – and it’s a lobster. Are they dangerous? Let’s take a look at some of these dangerous and maybe even the deadliest animals in Maine.

Are Moose the most Dangerous Animals in Maine?

Deadliest animals in Maine - moose kill around 5 to 10 people in the US every year.
Moose are the largest member of the deer species and stand more than six feet tall at the shoulder

©Michael Liggett/

The population of Maine is 1.344 million so if you do the math there is one moose for every 19.2 people! If you have never met a moose you may think they are just a bit larger than deer but in reality they are huge animals and can be six feet tall at the shoulder! They can weigh as much as 1,200lbs and their antlers can span four feet. The antlers fall off every season but even if you encounter one when they are regrowing them they are intimidating animals.

The average number of moose attacks in the U.S. per year is between 5 and 10. The best way to avoid a moose attack is to keep a safe distance from them at all times. If you are hiking you should be making some noise so as not to surprise moose or other wildlife. If their ears are pinned back and the hair is standing on end then they are getting ready to charge so you should take cover. In general moose leave humans alone, they fight with each other, especially during mating season, but they don’t act overly aggressive towards humans.

Are Bears the most Dangerous Animals in Maine?

Black bears can be aggressive when they are threatened
Black bears are large animals and can be dangerous when they are threatened.


The North American black bear does live in the forests of Maine and can be dangerous. Grizzly bears are more aggressive than black bears but if they feel threatened or are protecting their cubs they certainly can attack. Black bears can grow to be 400lbs and are 3 feet tall. If they are angry and feel threatened they may stand on their hind legs and growl showing their large teeth. Standing up they can be 5 to 7 feet tall. Not something you would want to encounter.

To avoid bears be aware of what areas are bear country and stay on designated trails. If you are camping be sure to keep all your food in bear safe containers. In Maine there has only been one documented bear attack in the last twenty-five years and no fatalities. In the US there are only an average of eleven bear attacks a year. So, it is extremely rare to be attacked by a bear.

What about Deer Ticks?

Deer ticks carry diseases such as Lyme's disease. So even though they arre small they are one of the deadliest animals in Maine.
Deer ticks carry diseases such as Lyme’s disease

©Steven Ellingson/

Another forest animal that can cause problems are deer ticks. They are a bit smaller than wood ticks and are known to carry Lyme’s Disease. This can cause long lasting symptoms including a rash, joint pain and weakness. A characteristic of a deer tick bite is a bulls-eyed bite mark and rash. One Maine woman that was bit by a tick developed an extremely rare tick-born disease, Powassan virus. She suffered from encephalitis and unfortunately passed away. To try to avoid tick bites you can wear hiking boots and tuck your socks up over your boots. Check yourself frequently for ticks especially when you come in and stay out of long grasses where they typically live. Again the risk of contracting a tick-born disease are low, but by following some precautions you can increase your chances of staying tick free.

Are there sharks in Maine?

Great White Sharks are dangerous animals and one killed a woman off the coast of Maine in 2020
A great white shark attacked and killed a woman off the coast of Maine in 2020

©Martin Prochazkacz/

Sharks are always the first animal that comes to mind when we think about dangerous animals in the ocean. There are sharks that swim off the coast of Maine, the most common being the spiny dogfish shark which is three to four feet long. They are not dangerous to humans and prefer to hunt small fish. Other sharks in the area are the blue shark, basking shark, and shortfin mako. Blue sharks are quite a bit larger growing to be 12 feet long and weighing up to 400lbs.

Great white sharks have been located in the Gulf of Maine but they are more rare. These are the sharks that have the worst reputation for attacks. Worldwide there are around 70 unprovoked shark attacks with an average of ten fatalities per year, so despite all the fear around these animals, the numbers suggest that shark attacks are extremely rare. Unfortunately, one of the fatal attacks from 2020 occurred in the waters of Maine. A 63-year-old woman from New York was swimming in Mackerel Cove off Bailey Island when she was attacked by a great white shark. A group of kayakers brought her to shore but she did not survive. Tragedies like this are hard to understand but her friends and family said she had lived a good life and loved visiting Maine.

Are Lobsters the most Dangerous Animal in Maine?

Lobsters can exert pressure of 100psi with their claws
Although lobster fishing comes with its risks, lobsters themsevles are not considered to be dangerous


The Discovery Channel has a show called Deadliest Catch which follows crab fisherman off the coast of Alaska, but lobster fishing (or Llbstering) is also considered quite dangerous. One of the biggest threats is getting tangled in the nets and being thrown in the water, unable to get free and drowning. Now, lobster fishing does sound dangerous but are lobsters themselves dangerous? They clearly have two large claws that can do some damage, their claws can give pressure up to 100 pounds per square inch, but they do not approach people and lobster fisherman know the best techniques to keep themselves from being injured from lobsters. So, lobsters are not the most dangerous animals in Maine (but they are the state crustacean!).

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Great White Shark stalks diver
Great White Shark close-up.
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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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