5 Cape Buffalo
It’s said that cape buffalo kill more humans in Africa in a year than any other animal. Of course, that’s said for plenty of other animals, but a lot of those other animals (like the hippopotamus) are endangered and protected by international law. Cape buffalo are not endangered, and people like to hunt them. Several hundred people per year quickly find out why Africans have nicknamed the cape buffalo “Black Death.” As it turns out, high-powered rifles aren’t much defense against a nearly 2-ton beast with horns charging right at you.
4 Saltwater Crocodile
The saltwater croc is the largest reptile in the world; it’s so large, in fact, that it frequently swims far out into the sea because there just isn’t enough room in a river. These ancient predators grow up to 23 feet long and have massive jaws with 5-inch long teeth. Humans are about the size of a saltwater crocodile’s usual prey, so it’s no wonder they take down at least 1,000 of us every year in India, southeast Asia and northern Australia.
3 Asian Cobra
The Asian cobra is responsible for at least 10,000 human deaths per year–in India alone. And it’s not difficult to understand why. Asian cobras are also known as common cobras because, well, they’re common. Since they prefer to eat rats and mice, they’ve made the habit of hanging around where people live, because rats and mice tend to hang around people, too. They don’t have the most deadly venom of a snake, but they’re all over Asia and get quite irritable when people stumble upon them.
Each year, an estimated 2.7 million people die of malaria. And how did they contract this deadly disease? Mosquitoes. Malaria isn’t the only deadly disease mosquitoes carry, though. These tiny insects have spread the West Nile virus and many other potentially deadly illnesses worldwide–and they’re virtually impossible to eradicate. Sure, you can swat a mosquito that lands on your arm–but if it’s already bitten you, the damage is done.
Without question, more humans are killed each year by other humans than by any other animal. More than 450,000 people are murdered by other people each year–and the murder rate doesn’t account for people accidentally killed by other people. Add to this number the estimated 378,000 who die in wars and other conflicts, and the 1.2 million who die in traffic accidents, and it becomes clear that people are the animal people should fear the most.