10 Animals More Dangerous than Sharks

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: September 16, 2023
© reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com
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On average, sharks kill around ten people every year. These toothy ocean monsters look terrifying and can inflict severe damage when they attack, making them appear to be ferocious killers. But, in reality, you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than you do being eaten by a shark. And the truth is, there are many animals more dangerous than sharks. Discover ten of these animals now!


mosquito on an arm
Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on earth and kill over 725,000 people yearly.

©Surachai Pung/Shutterstock.com

Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on earth, killing an average of 725,000 people each year and sickening millions of others. Except for ants and termites, mosquitoes outnumber every animal on earth during the breeding season. You may not pay too much attention to these tiny pests flying around you, but they have the potential to unleash deadly viruses that can wreak havoc on communities.

Most of the time, people don’t realize they’ve been bitten until the damage is done. Mosquitoes suck blood and secrete saliva, which enters your bloodstream, causing severe illness in some people. These deadly creatures can spread malaria, West Nile, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and zika.  


Most Venomous Snakes - Russell's Viper
Snakes kill around 100,000 people every year.


Snakes bite over five million people annually, with over two million resulting in envenoming. Between 81,000 and 138,000 people die every year from venomous snake bites, while three times that amount results in amputations and permanent disabilities.

The snakes that contribute to the most deaths are Russell’s viper, the Indian saw-scaled viper, the common krait, and the Indian cobra. Most fatalities and serious injuries occur in poor rural communities in Asia, Africa, and South America, with agricultural workers and children most susceptible.


Aggressive German Shepherd displaying its teeth
Dogs contribute to 99% of rabies cases.

©iStock.com/Milan Krasula

Dogs fatally attack between 25,000 and 30,000 people worldwide each year. However, these deaths don’t typically occur from household pets but from stray and feral dogs infected with rabies. Wild and stray dogs can be dangerous and much more aggressive than domesticated animals. Also, some dog breeds are known for being more aggressive and are more likely to charge and bite than others. 

Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds are among the most dangerous dogs in the United States and account for many attacks. But despite certain breeds being more aggressive, rabies accounts for a large majority of fatal dog bites. Throughout the world, dogs contribute to 99% of rabies cases. 


Tape worms in a human intestine.
Parasitic worms kill 45,000 people a year when untreated.


Foodborne parasitic worms cause an estimated 45,000 annual deaths. Parasites like tapeworms enter your system through undercooked pork and beef. If left untreated, tapeworms can grow up to 80 feet in your intestines and live inside you for up to 30 years. They can even cause deadly symptoms like seizures, dementia, liver, heart, and brain damage. 

Roundworms can infect people when they walk on or touch contaminated soil or plants with infected animal feces. These worms significantly affect children living in developing countries, and when left untreated, roundworms can lead to malnutrition and death. 

Freshwater snails, which produce escargot, are responsible for killing around 10,000 people a year. These snails carry parasitic worms that cause Schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease that can cause liver fibrosis, bladder cancer, and death (when left untreated).   

Tsetse Fly

Tsetse Fly (Glossina)
The tsetse fly carries a microscopic parasite that causes sleeping sickness.

©Jaco Visser/Shutterstock.com

The tsetse fly carries Trypanosoma brucei, a microscopic parasite that can cause African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). Early symptoms include headache, fever, and muscle pain. 

When left untreated, the infection can enter your central nervous system, causing personality changes, mental impairment, seizures, and death within three years. African officials estimate between 50,000 and 500,000 people die each year from this parasitic infection, which is 100% lethal when left untreated.


Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) swallowing an Impala - Kruger National Park (South Africa)
Nile crocodiles contribute to a large percentage of human attacks.

©Mari Swanepoel/Shutterstock.com

Crocodiles kill an estimated 1,000 people each year, with the majority of attacks happening in sub-Saharan Africa. Thousands of people congregate daily near busy waterways in this African region and are regularly stalked and preyed on by hostile Nile crocodiles.

Nile and saltwater crocodiles are among the most aggressive in their species, which is hardwired in their DNA and further develops from competing for food. A river in Burundi has a 2,000-pound croc that is responsible for over 200 human attacks.


Animals With the Toughest Skin
Hippos kill an average of 500 people annually.

©John Carnemolla/Shutterstock.com

Over 500 people die from injuries sustained from hippo attacks annually. Many people don’t consider hippos dangerous, but these 3,000 to 4,000-pound mammals can be unexpectedly aggressive. They are quick to attack humans when they feel threatened and can easily crush a grown man with their foot-long tusks and a bite force of 1800 PSI. Hippos are the deadliest land mammals on earth; even crocodiles won’t attack them. Not only are hippos giant, but they are violent and quick to anger. 

Assassin Bugs

Deadliest Animal in the World: Kissing Bugs
Assassin bugs get their name from their habit of biting humans on the face near the lips while they sleep.

©Vanessa Becker-Miller/Shutterstock.com

Assassin bugs, also known as kissing bugs, are nocturnal bloodsuckers that like to find their way into homes for midnight feedings. Contrary to what people believe, their bite is not what’s lethal. Sometimes, these bugs will defecate when feeding, and when people scratch or rub it into the open wound, they can develop Chagas disease.

The disease is a parasitic infection that can lead to heart and digestive problems, eventually causing death if untreated. Around 12,000 people die from Chagas disease every year.  


Lion jump absurdly high
Some lions will actively hunt humans for their soft flesh.

©Gunther Allen/Shutterstock.com

Most wild animals only attack humans when they feel threatened, but not lions. Some African lions will actively hunt humans because they prefer their soft flesh. Unlike other creatures on this list, lions attack humans because they are hungry, and humans are easy targets. Humans don’t have tough hide, fangs, or horns, so they are easier for old and sick lions to take down. While not their natural prey, around 200 people die from lion attacks each year.


Animals With the Toughest Skin-elephant
Elephants frighten easily and will trample humans when threatened.

©iStock.com/Ondrej Prosicky

Elephants have a shrinking habitat and have experienced their fair share of negative human experiences. They are protective of their community and will trample anything in their path if they feel threatened. People tend to underestimate elephants because of their intelligence and human-like personalities, but these mammals are easily stressed and frightened. Elephants kill around 100 people every year.

While sharks may still be terrifying, these ten animals are more dangerous than sharks and have the potential to kill or seriously injure thousands of people every year.

Honorable Mention—Other Deadly Animals

Deadliest Jellyfish - Box Jellyfish
The box jellyfish is one of the most deadly of them all.

©Nuttawut Uttamaharad/Shutterstock.com

  1. Snake – Snakes live in many places across the world, and they can be very dangerous. They can be aggressive, and some venomous species are capable of killing a person in a matter of minutes. Each year, over 50,000 people die from snake bites around the world.
  2. Scorpion – Scorpions make their homes in many parts of the world, and they are capable of delivering deadly venom. Over 100,000 people die each year from scorpion stings, mostly in Africa and South America.
  3. Box Jellyfish – The box jellyfish is one of the most venomous creatures on Earth, and it can be found in the waters around Australia. Its stings are extremely painful and can cause death within minutes if not treated quickly. It is estimated that around 20-40 people die from box jellyfish stings each year in Australia alone.

Summary of 10 Animals More Dangerous than Sharks

RankAnimalHuman Deaths Per Year
2Snakes81,000 and 138,000
3DogsBetween 25,000 and 30,000 (from dogs with rabies)
5Tsetse FliesBetween 50,000 and 500,000 (from trypanosomiasis)
8Assassin Bugs12,000 people die (from Chagas disease)

The Featured Image

Saw-scaled viper / Echis omanensis
Saw-scaled viper / Echis omanensis
© reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the Triangle area and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

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