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What are the Most Dangerous Animals in the World?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Travelers in countries such as Africa and Australia are often concerned about attacks by animals such as venomous snakes, crocodiles, big cats, and dangerous ocean-dwelling animals. A number of animals are in competition for the top spot on a list of the world's most dangerous animals, and some of the inhabitants of such a list might surprise you. Luckily, in general, unpleasant encounters with most of these animals can be avoided with the use of common sense and basic precautions.

Animals can be made dangerous by a variety of factors. Many dangerous animals are classified as a threat to humans because they carry venom which can injure or kill people. Others are physically dangerous: fast runners or swimmers with strong teeth and a fearless attitude. Still others are dangerous because of the diseases they carry. Some nations also have more predators than others: Australia, for example, has some of the most dangerous animals in the world, including taipans and salt water crocodiles.

Most venomous animals are snakes or spiders. Some jellyfish also carry dangerous chemical compounds which can kill: the box jellyfish and Portuguese Man O'War are two examples. Most venomous snakes and spiders will not bother people unless they feel threatened. Examples of venomous snakes include African mambas, American rattlesnakes, Southeast Asian taipans, Indian cobras, and an assortment of vipers. In the arachnid world, black widow and brown recluse spiders cause hundreds of deaths worldwide each year. Another venomous animal is the scorpion, which causes an untold number of deaths each year thanks to its distribution in remote areas without ready access to medical treatment.

Physically dangerous animals are those that most people are most familiar with. These animals include the big cats, sharks, and bears. In addition, elephants, hippopotami, and buffalo are extremely dangerous due to their protective nature and physical agility. The hippopotamus is actually Africa's most dangerous animal, because it is highly aggressive. Most early African explorers recorded unfortunate encounters with these animals, which have been known to overturn boats and savage their occupants for entertainment.

However, the world's most dangerous animals may come as a surprise: houseflies and mosquitoes. Both animals are classified as highly dangerous because of the diseases that they carry. Two to three million deaths each year are caused by mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever. Houseflies carry over 200 pathogens including viruses and bacteria, and are ubiquitous enough to spread them all over the world along their daily rounds.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon264764 — On Apr 29, 2012

Everyone has the right idea but the wrong reason. We are the most dangerous, but not because of intelligence, but because of attitude, ego, pride, jealousy.

The reason we kill and destroy and use up natural resources is not because we are smart. It's because we don't work within nature. We force it to do what we want. If we were smart (as a species) we would live with nature and maintain our world, but hey, why do that when we could do whatever we want to make things how we want and damn the consequences?

Our mentality that the world belongs to us is why we are so dangerous.

By anon166230 — On Apr 07, 2011

Humans are the most dangerous living creature on Earth. We have an ultimate weapon called a brain which allows us to create things and be really strong, but humans are greedy, and that's very bad. That is the problem of the world. Humans live in countries and speak different languages but animals live according to their race which is very good. Too bad humans don't have it.

By anon146915 — On Jan 27, 2011

If you want the most poisonous/deadly creature, it would have to be a box jellyfish. There is no antivenin, it is basically invisible to the naked eye while in deep water, and its sting, although not designed to kill quickly, is supposedly so painful, most "fit" humans will go into cardiac arrest and drown and finally, they have been known to hunt in swarms. There is only one things more deadly than a box jellyfish, and that's a million of them. Just think of them as floating mines of extreme pain.

By anon140299 — On Jan 07, 2011

Australia has more deadly animals than any other place, and I bet the most dangerous one is there.

Did you know we are the only creatures who kill for an intellectual reason?

But also, humans are very weak without weapons. Put any person out in the middle of nowhere with heaps of animals. Won't survive a week.

By anon137149 — On Dec 26, 2010

The most dangerous animals in the world are sicarios from Mexico.

By anon131765 — On Dec 03, 2010

@49: I'm going to tell you how wrong you are. Ants enslave other ant colonies. Plenty of animals practice animal cannibalism. Two examples are chimps and lions. They kill each other to preserve their biological blood lines. I'm talking adults killing kids.

Your argument is very misleading and often the argument of those who have no desire to see what the other side has to say. The only point I will give you is the reason humans are on top is because of our brain and our ability to learn. But I will say this: other animals learn pretty well too and there are plenty of humans who don't. Oh, I have a BS in biology, but if that's not good enough for you, feel free to look all the information up. It's pretty well documented.

By anon125313 — On Nov 09, 2010

Look, humans are the deadliest creatures. We are the only animal in existence that captures and study animals. We are the only creatures that kill for fun!! And when people say that without weapons, we will be useless, that's a lie.

Think about it, with our brains we can adapt to any situation. Normal animals make take days, months or even years to adapt, while it just takes us a couple of minutes. That is why we are so deadly. We are able to think more then one thing at a time.

By anon123390 — On Nov 01, 2010

humans are the deadliest animal on the planet as we have one weapon that can beat all the others: our brains.

Given a few basic tools, we can kill animals many times the size of ourselves and given technology we can kill just about anything on the earth and we are even starting to kill that as well.

By anon120372 — On Oct 20, 2010

We are the most dangerous, never known a lion to have nuclear weapons or wars.

By anon119328 — On Oct 17, 2010

Dolphins are aware of their existence. so are killer whales and elephants.

By anon113309 — On Sep 23, 2010

Humans are more like a virus than an animal. Animals adapt, and they change to survive in their environments. Humans go to an area and multiply then we consume every possible resource and once everything has been used up, we move on to the next location and repeat the process. We can be more closely compared to Anthrax than to any animal. In that aspect, humans are the deadliest organism, but not the deadliest animal.

By anon111348 — On Sep 16, 2010

definitely, the most dangerous and deadliest animals on earth are humans. who will want to dominate others by all means?

By anon110440 — On Sep 12, 2010

without man, life on earth would flourish. I'd think that says it all.

By anon106475 — On Aug 25, 2010

We are the most dangerous animals, because of our intelligence, so people who are saying that we are not so dangerous without weapons, think about this: intelligence is part of what we are! we evolved to be intelligent and other animals are evolved to have canines and be very big. 100 percent we are most dangerous.

By anon106474 — On Aug 25, 2010

the animals most dangerous to us are other humans. humans kill more humans than all the other animals combined!

By anon103297 — On Aug 11, 2010

Humans are the most dangerous animals on earth.

By anon98462 — On Jul 23, 2010

Its clear that the butterfly is the deadliest animal because they scare you to death.

By anon88572 — On Jun 06, 2010

humans are adaptable, making us the most dangerous creatures on earth. think about it: we drive animals out of their habitat every 10 seconds, we cause invasive species to move to other habitats, we try and destroy plants just for building and land area which causes pollutant, loss of habitat, death, floods, etc. also, we kill each other in war.

Think about it: what animal kills more humans than anything else? humans. "dog eat dog."

By anon85623 — On May 21, 2010

number 20: the intelligence we used to create guns and knives are defenses that we evolved because we were bested in every other aspect of survival.

By anon83843 — On May 12, 2010

the blue ringed octopus it is small but deadly.

By anon78706 — On Apr 19, 2010

Humans aren't animals because we reason and are aware of our existence. Animals are too busy to survive to realize this and have no time to stop and think and this why I enjoy watching and studying them.

But we are at the top of the "food chain" and we have the power to destroy our surroundings due to greed and ignorance. However, no matter how annoying this may to me, mosquitoes are animals and they are the *most* dangerous animal in the world, thanks to their ability to spread disease with alarming efficiency.

Best known for spreading deadly malaria, mossies also spread elephantiasis, yellow fever, dengue fever and West Nile virus, which was recently introduced to the US and is now prevalent in all states.

On top of that, insects altogether take up over 80 percent of the earth so if you think about it they could very well have wiped out the human race along with the bacteria they carry if they wanted to. Next in line I would choose city rats.

By anon71685 — On Mar 19, 2010

Humans are the most dangerous animal. spiders don't have AK-47's and the thing that causes the most pollution other than humans are most likely cow farts.

By anon71240 — On Mar 17, 2010

Wow! I'm shocked at all the misinformation.

If we are talking what animal kills the most people, then humans top the list by far.

Organism would fall on bacteria and viruses. Wild animals: snakes kill more people than any other. Combination mosquito with the help of several micro-organisms.

Mosquitoes kill the most, depending on the climate of the year, maybe even more than humans, but if you account for all that we do not only to each other but ourselves, e.g., smoking, drinking and other risky behavior, we are by leaps and bounds the most dangerous animal to ourselves and all other species.

By anon65678 — On Feb 15, 2010

Mosquitoes are quite clearly the most deadly creature on earth, considering that 50 percent of all deaths, not just animal related deaths, were due to malaria.

Other than that the hippo is the biggest killer of humans. However, I can't understand how they kill more than any other animal. Who in their right mind would go swimming with the beasts?

By anon61652 — On Jan 21, 2010

Everyone is saying Humans and that isn't 100 percent true. Most humans kill with guns, or knives or some form of weapon.

Based on our own natural defenses and without any kind of weapon, a human is not a terribly dangerous animal. Think about it, all the other animals have only their own natural defense to rely on.

I bet you a monkey or any mildly intelligent primate could learn to shoot a gun, or wield a knife reasonably well. So all other things being equal and based on natural defenses. Humans are way down on the list and hippos get my vote.

By anon60357 — On Jan 13, 2010

since when are fish and insects known as animals?

By anon60138 — On Jan 12, 2010

are humans dangerous?

By anon57954 — On Dec 28, 2009

oh, shut up, shut up. stop telling people wrong information guys. the most dangerous animal is human and the deadliest is the tick. The tick can suck up to 600 times it's weight! and humans don't kill for no reason, we kill to survive, we kill to learn, maybe killing can help us learn how to study an animal without killing it. :)

By anon57173 — On Dec 20, 2009

obviously a shark can bite you in half. Some are 20 feet long.

By anon55242 — On Dec 06, 2009

After many years traveling this planet as an observer, I often find the human species to be the most dangerous as they need no provocation to commit mayhem.

We, as a species, are the most dangerous of all creatures. Most animals have a specific agenda, which is a food source. Whereas humans kill their own children for pleasure and amusement. Read any local paper as it espouses this very degradation, and a majority of people cannot understand these issues and yet they are willing to commit them as well.

As a superior race we're not doing very well.

By anon55185 — On Dec 05, 2009

can a shark bite you in half?

By anon55174 — On Dec 05, 2009

its all about the mosquitoes. they carry a lot of tropic diseases, including the no. 1 killer: malaria.

By anon50592 — On Oct 29, 2009

The hippo and its 21/2 foot tustk and mosquitoes carrying malaria and yellow fever.

By anon49074 — On Oct 17, 2009

Hippos dude!

By anon48663 — On Oct 14, 2009

mosquitos win definitely. The diseases that they carry kill about 2 million people a year.

By anon47918 — On Oct 08, 2009

Komodo dragon.

By anon47611 — On Oct 06, 2009

i think you're all wrong. clearly the ant is the most deadly.

By anon36983 — On Jul 16, 2009

Dangerous and deadly are two very different things. I nominate the mosquito as the most dangerous after man.

Australia's Inlad Taipan snake can kill (allegedly) 150 adult humans with the venom in a single bite. However, they live in remote areas where few people live. The Saw Scaled Viper Family, which includes the Carpet Viper and Russel's Viper are very aggressive, and they kill more people every year than all other snakes together.

By anon27945 — On Mar 08, 2009

i see a comment/question below that asks about humans...duh. humans have a way of killing, catching, and studying anything.

By anon19406 — On Oct 12, 2008

yes in fact i have heard that they are the most dangerous.

By anon3199 — On Aug 16, 2007

are humans dangerous?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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