Logically, there is ample information on how to react best when facing one of these two animals. But Altha Williams, a 90-year-old woman from Tennessee, defied every rule and fought one of nature’s biggest predators. Keep reading to discover what happened when this brave woman defied the laws of nature.
A Growing Problem
As the human population has continued to grow, the number of untouched natural reserves has diminished. Every year, cities grow, humans procreate, and the space between man and nature continues to shrink. Therefore, this has caused the number of man-nature encounters to increase dramatically.
Reports about a mountain lion attacking some hikers on the Hollywood hills in California or of a bear attack in the Rocky Mountains are a growing problem, and so the instructions of what to do if you ever encounter one of these predators are very clear. Of course, there’s always the risk of going blank when faced with such a scary situation.
Despite having clear instructions on how to react when faced with a predator, people will always have different reactions. Some will run, others scream, and others stay completely paralyzed – it really depends on the amount of control a person has in a moment of fear and adrenaline.
Of course, the reaction to an encounter also depends on the predator you encounter. For example, it is widely agreed that if a bear approaches you, the best thing to do is appear non-threatening and stay calm while very slowly moving away from it without turning your back. If the bear makes eye contact, they say you should immediately fall on the ground and play dead. What should never be done is attack the bear – which is exactly what Altha Williams did.
Living Her Dream Life
Altha Williams, a quiet, nature-loving 90-year-old woman, bought her dream house nearly five decades ago. The lovely home that sits on Abbott Road is in Sevierville, Tennessee, in the beautiful area of Wears Valley. This valley is especially stunning when it comes to the natural landscape since it is located very near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Altha likes to keep to herself and enjoys the calm life that such a natural setting has to offer. For the nearly 50 years that she’s been in her home, she’s enjoyed having such glorious wilderness around, being friendly with neighbors, and living a lovely life. But one summer, in June of 2022, something happened that rattled Altha to her core.
A Seemingly Normal Day
It was one of those warm summer afternoons that seemed to last for ages, and Altha was enjoying a cool glass of water on her cozy porch. The porch was her favorite part of the house since, from there, she could look out to the forests and natural paradise that surrounded her.
Since Altha had strong air conditioning throughout her house during the scorching summer heat, she often alternated between her living room and the outside porch when she would get too cold. This time, she had taken a book with her, thinking she would stay on her beloved porch for hours.
An Unexpected Visitor
As she headed towards the porch swing with her book and her glass of water, Altha had no idea what awaited her outside. She’d barely been sitting outside for two minutes when suddenly, a strange noise made her turn around. The sound was a ruffling of leaves as if someone were approaching her porch from within the patch of trees that surrounded her home.
Altha got up from the porch swing and looked closer at the spot where the noise was coming from. What she saw next left her breathless – it was a huge black bear and her three cubs approaching her. Altha knew that whenever an animal was with its cubs, it was at its most defensive and dangerous.
Altha’s first instinct was to scream her lungs out for help and run away as fast as she could. It took every ounce of strength she had to not give in to the panic and fear she felt. But she knew this would only make things worse, so she took a deep breath and managed to stay quiet and calm.
Careful not to make eye contact with the bear, Altha kept her eye on her body and movements to gauge what her next move would be. As scared as she was, Altha had been living next to a vast wilderness for most of her life, and she knew a thing or two about co-existing with animals.
It Wasn’t Her First Encounter
One of the reasons for Altha’s ability to calm herself was the fact that this wasn’t the first time she’d encountered a bear. Considering that her house was right next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Altha was no stranger to bears walking across her lush lawn and backyard.
Even though having a bear walk into your yard is never an ideal situation, Altha knew this was part of living outdoors. One had to compromise since, in the end, this land belonged to the animals long before humans settled down in the area. The bears usually used her lawn as a passage to another part of the forest, never approaching her or the house.
A Source of Interest
Altha had a big, beautiful apple tree in her backyard, which the bears loved to eat from. She knew removing this tree would significantly minimize bear visits, but she wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her scrumptious apples. So, she figured she’d let them pass through her lawn, grab a few apples, and be on their way.
She would learn all the necessary steps to take in case there was ever a bear that got aggressive, and in that way, she could live in peace with nature and its animals and enjoy her delightful apples. But nothing had prepared her for what happened that summer in June 2022.
Since bear sightings were a common thing for Altha, she had decided to prepare herself early on in case she ever suffered a surprise bear attack. Altha went to National Park information centers, consulted with local forest rangers, and researched any way she could about all the best ways to deal with a predator that wanted to attack.
She also spent time looking into all the different types of bears that lived in the national park next to her house and their different attack postures and movements. Moreover, Altha had learned about different ways to prevent an attack from even happening in the first place. For example, keeping her bird seeds in a locked container, locking her garbage bins before putting them outside, etc.
Something Was Different About This Bear
After taking all the precautionary measures to ensure she was safe from bears, Altha grew pretty confident that as long as she kept to herself, the bears wouldn’t bother her. In fact, as Altha reported to her local news station, every time before that day in June that she had seen a bear walk by her lawn, they would always run off quickly as soon as they saw her.
This is why Altha’s heartbeat went through the roof when she realized the particular bear that had come to visit that day was different. Unlike any bear she’d seen before, this bear wasn’t scared of Altha or running away from her. And she wasn’t alone.
A Bear and Her Cubs
Apart from the bear’s confident demeanor, Altha quickly realized there was something else that was different about this bear – it was a mother with three of its cubs. The bear was protectively walking with her cubs beside her, and it is a well-known fact that bears are far more scared and aggressive when they encounter a human whilst with their cubs.
Altha immediately remembered this and recognized the bear as a mother under stress, which is one of the most dangerous things in the natural world. She tried to stay calm and tried to move away from the bear slowly, but the bear didn’t seem to like that.
Face to Face
Altha started to slowly get up from her porch chair in an effort to quickly run inside the house. Unfortunately, as soon as the bear saw her moving, it lifted its front legs and was now fully standing, which is a bear’s typical attack position. The mother bear, who was infinitely taller than Altha, felt incredibly threatening, especially because it was looking her right in the eye.
The bear and Altha were frozen, waiting for each other’s next move. Less than a minute later, the bear lunged right at Altha, landing a few millimeters from her face. Altha quickly ran and tried to hide behind her patio furniture, hoping a big lawn chair would keep the bear from coming closer. In a matter of seconds, Altha suddenly felt a scratch on her arm.
Suddenly, everything Altha had learned about dealing with bears, along with her ability to keep calm whenever she saw them, went out the window. She had seen bears before, but never a mother bear with such a defensive attitude. What’s more, she’d always seen bears from a distance while they were walking through her lawn, but she’d never had one this close to her face.
As the bear continued to stare at Altha with intensity, she knew she had to think of something fast. She knew that panicking and screaming would just make matters worse, and this bear already seemed quite angry – she needed to stay calm. All of a sudden, Altha thought of something; it was a risky idea, but it was the only choice she had at that point.
Time to Act
Altha’s adrenaline-filled brain suddenly remembered something – she’d read somewhere that animal experts advised people who were facing a bear to make a very loud noise. This could go a long way in scaring off the predator. Altha scanned her surroundings for any object she could find that would make a loud enough noise.
Then she realized she had what she needed right there at her fingertips! The lawn chair she’d used to hide behind was at arms’ reach, so she grabbed it and started pushing it back and forth violently toward the bear. Altha proceeded to lift the chair and dump it down hard on the deck, making a lot of noise.
Things Got Worse
At first, all the noise that Altha was making managed to get the bear to retreat a few steps, and it was clearly visible that the amount of noise was bothering the animal. Unfortunately, once the bear realized the noise wasn’t physically harming her, her confidence came back. Things got worse when the bear realized it could push against the chair.
Suddenly, 90-year-old Altha found herself wrestling with a huge bear, with a small chair being the only thing between them. Altha tried to rack her brain in search of any information that could help her. What else had she read in her research? She had to remember something — anything — because soon, the bear would manage to remove the chair and attack her.
Everything Changed in an Instant
Amidst the grueling tension and Altha’s panic mode, while trying to find a way out of this terrible situation, something happened. In about five seconds, the bear suddenly dropped its front legs to the ground and was back on all fours. Altha’s first reaction was more panic since she thought that maybe this was another attack movement.
However, she suddenly saw the bear start to move away from her very slowly. Altha was frozen; she didn’t trust this bear and was terrified that this was just the quiet before the storm. She waited as still as she could to try and predict the bear’s next move.
She Could Finally Breathe
The fear was palpable, and Altha got even more panicked when she realized that the bear could probably sense her fear and was now closer to attacking her than it was before. Amidst her grueling anxiety, Altha suddenly saw the bear run off into the woods with its three cubs, and she took a deep breath. It felt like she’d been holding her breath for hours.
Altha dropped her lawn chair and ran into her home, locking the door behind her and rushing to the nearest bathroom so she could assess the scratches the bear had given her. While she was wrestling with the bear and the lawn chair, she’d felt scratches on her face and her arms, but the adrenaline kept her from backing down and feeling pain.
As Altha carefully inspected her body to see how severe the damage was, she noticed some deep wounds from scratches on her face and arms that would definitely need stitches. Still in a state of fear, Altha quickly ran to the neighbors’ house and told them what had happened; they didn’t waste a minute in taking her straight to the hospital.
Once the doctor called her in, Altha told him the whole story of what had happened. The doctor gave her a full body examination and ordered blood tests just to be sure he covered all the bases. Luckily, all the tests came out great, and the doctor was genuinely shocked at the story and how Altha, a 90-year-old woman, managed to fight off a mother bear that was being so aggressive.
She Was on the News
It’s not every day that a 90-year-old woman fights a huge bear with a lawn chair and lives to tell the tale. Right after hearing the crazy story from Altha Williams’ mouth, the doctors at the hospital called the local news station. A story as incredible as this had to be told to the public, and so, in a matter of days, Altha’s story of bravery had spread through the entire county.
The news made it across state lines, and so several news outlets started calling Altha to hear the story from the source. ABC News and WATE 6 On Your Side called Ms. Williams to ask if they could pay her a visit in person and interview her further.
Altha Became a Local Heroine
After recounting her unbelievable story to every news outlet that contacted her, Altha became a local heroine. She gave out interviews while sitting on the very porch where the incident had happened weeks earlier. Young reporters hearing the story directly from Altha were beyond shocked.
They struggled to believe how a 90-year-old woman had the bravery and courage to fight a mother bear with her cubs right beside her. They filmed her scratches and were in awe of her courage; they admired her and found endless inspiration in her story. Eventually, local town folk came by her house to admire her courage and strength.
The Story Goes Viral
As with any good news story, it doesn’t take long for it to reach every corner of the internet, and this is exactly what happened with Altha’s story. In a few weeks, the news had gone viral and been shared millions of times across social media platforms. Viewers from across the world started to comment on the news article to send Altha a quick recovery from her wounds and admire her incredible attitude and bravery.
One comment praised this 90-year-old woman for defending herself and fending off the bear. Another commenter suggested that Altha should immediately be appointed as Director of Homeland Security since she has walked the walk while talking the talk.
A Learning Opportunity
Apart from the local neighbors, townspeople, and viewers across the country, many wildlife scientists and experts were also very impressed with Altha’s story. They publicly spoke to the bravery and calm demeanor that it must have taken for Altha to react in the way that she did. When interviewed on the news, one expert said that it was a quick-thinking approach to the situation.
Furthermore, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency spokesperson Matt Cameron said that the way she responded was exactly what they tell people to do. He further emphasized that whenever a bear lunges at a person face to face and is ready to attack, the only way to react is to get big, yell at them, and make noise to intimidate them.
Admiration From the Experts
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency spokesperson Matt Cameron made it clear that if it weren’t for Altha’s quick, intelligent reaction, the outcome of the story could have been fatal. “Pat on the back for how she responded; it very well could have saved her life," commented Cameron on TV.
Other experts came to the news station and echoed Cameron’s opinions. They said it was often very frustrating when people didn’t pay any mind to their safety recommendations when encountering a bear. It was inspiring to know that someone had been paying attention and their life had been saved for it.
What Happened to the Bear?
In the exciting aftermath of Altha’s incredible face-off with a wild bear, no news station had taken the time to find out what had become of the bear after being scared off like that. Had she run back into the forest? Was this a particularly aggressive bear that was now a local threat to other townspeople?
A few weeks after Altha’s story came out, one of her neighbors contacted a local news station and said the bear had gone over to her lawn! She reported that the bear had come with its three cubs in a very defensive attitude and ready to attack. However, this neighbor had a tranquilizer gun, so she managed to neutralize the bear right on time.
The Neighbor Called for Help
After the bear fell unconscious to the ground, the neighbor proceeded to call the relevant authorities. The bear was merely wounded, and she knew it would just be a few hours before she woke up again. The wildlife authorities that came to take the bear were at odds with what to do.
On one hand, this was the bear’s territory, as the neighbors’ houses bordered a national park. On the other, they couldn’t have an aggressive bear running around that could potentially kill dozens of people. Maybe they could relocate the animal and its cubs. The bear remained in captivity while the rangers decided what the best course of action was.
A Tough Decision
Unfortunately, the consensual decision by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park wildlife rangers and several experts in the matter was to put down the bear. This decision is usually the absolute last resort since bears and wildlife are generally heavily protected.
Much to the forest rangers’ sadness, they had to put down the bear because, according to state law, once a bear makes contact with a human and injures them, it gets a taste for it and will most likely try to do it again. So, relocating the animal is no longer an option. A ranger told the local news station that euthanizing bears is often the hardest decision to make and they obviously don’t do it based on personal feelings.
The Luckiest Woman
Altha couldn’t stop thinking about the bear and her terrifying encounter with it. She carefully replayed every step she took and every movement she made and felt like the luckiest woman alive that she had survived. Her extensive research had saved her life, and having had previous encounters with bears also helped her remember that animals needed to feel scared to retreat.
Altha has repeatedly gone on TV to state how lucky and grateful she feels. In an interview, she made an emotional statement, "I've been praising the Lord ever since then because I could not have been here… if it hadn't been for this lawn chair, I guess!"
Altha’s story increased the media’s coverage of the area, and many local residents were interviewed about their encounters with bears. Many people said that, even though there had been a significant increase in bear encounters in the last few years, they hadn’t been aggressive. Altha’s case was a rare occurrence.
A neighbor told ABC that they can see them every few days during the summer and even more so over the past ten years. One neighbor emphasized the fact that Altha’s bear had been a mother with its cubs and, therefore, uncharacteristically defensive and protective. Another neighbor said it was people’s own fault for leaving food out for the animals.
It Wasn’t the First Time
Altha’s terrifying encounter with the bear was the second time something like that happened in the area. It came to be known that just a few days before Altha’s incident, a bear had tried to attack a mother and her 3-year-old child. Apparently, the bear ripped into a tent while the mother and her child were camping at Elkmont campsite near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Luckily, before the bear could fatally injure the mother and child, park rangers came running to the site and apprehended the animal right on time. The mother and child suffered some superficial scratches.
Why Is This Happening?
Shortly after the attack at the Elkmont campsite, many people from the area started contacting local rangers and relevant wildlife experts to ask why it happened. Why were the bears in the area, which had usually been very calm and not defensive, suddenly attacking?
Lisa McInnis, the Chief Resource Management at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, explained on the news that in this incident, it is likely that the bear was attracted to food smells in the area and dog food at the involved campsite. McInnis further emphasized that it is imperative for people, especially those camping outdoors, to never leave any food unlocked or in a non-sealed container. Otherwise, bears will associate people with food, which leads to serious problems.
A Warning From Experts
For decades, there have been countless wildlife organizations across the country that work towards preserving wildlife and instructing humans how to behave towards it. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds their advice. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, for instance, was created in 1949 with a clear goal in mind:
"Preserve, conserve, manage, protect, and enhance the fish and wildlife of the state and their habitats for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of the citizens of Tennessee and its visitors." Sadly, not everybody reacts like Altha or even has the proactive attitude of informing themselves about what to do in the case of a bear attack.
A Clear Guide
Just like the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, dozens of other organizations have issued clear guidelines, instructions, and preemptive measures for dealing with animal attacks. There are several factors to be considered; for instance, bears react in a different way than other predators, such as mountain lions.
Specifically for bears, there are plenty of things to be done in and around your home to avoid them coming close. If they do, straightforward actions will make it easier for the bear to remain calm and move away without the animal or the human getting hurt. For people living close to forests and natural parks, and particularly for those who are camping outdoors, following these guidelines can be a matter of life and death.
Don’t Tempt Them
Any wildlife agency or nature organization will tell you the same thing: the general public and the wildlife manager of a specific area share equal responsibility for protecting the natural environment they share with animals. The well-being and safety of people are just as important as those of the bears roaming around, and so the instructions are clear.
One of the main rules is to always keep garbage containers properly locked or store trash indoors, such as in a garage or storage area. Any trash or discarded food must never be easily accessible to bears because if they manage to get food from a particular house even once, they will immediately associate that location with a feeding area.
Always Clean and Store Your Equipment Properly
There’s nothing better than enjoying an outdoor barbecue in the hot summer months, and this is clearly a sort of national pastime. But one thing to remember if you’re in the mood for some grilling is to always make sure to clean and store all grills and smokers after each use.
There are specific bear-resistant containers available in specific wildlife stores. Leaving a dirty grill in your backyard or outside your camping tent with leftover food is like catnip for bears. It will attract them from miles away and let them know that this is officially a ‘dining area’ for them.
Don’t Leave Pet Food Outside
Another cardinal rule that one must never forget is to properly store pet food. We always want to bring our pets along with us, especially when it’s an outdoor trip they’ll probably love. This is perfectly fine as long as campers and people living close to wildlife always make sure to store their pet food in bear-proof containers.
If it’s time to feed your furry friends, serve them the necessary portion, make sure they finish their meal and immediately wash out their bowls. This will ensure no food smells reach any bears in the surrounding areas and keep you and your pets safe.
Avoid Strong Smells
Apart from food, which is the main attraction for bears, other strong smells can also lure them in. Another recommendation from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency is always to avoid wearing strong perfumes and body lotions when going camping.
People should also avoid incense, scented candles, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and any other products with a strong smell when going camping. Bears are very curious by nature, so if they get a whiff of a nice, unknown smell, they will want to approach the source and find out what it is. Once a bear is in the vicinity of a camping area, it can lead to some unpleasant encounters with people.
To some people, this one might sound pretty obvious because getting close enough to a bear to feed it might seem absolutely insane. But to others, offering food to a cute, seemingly friendly bear can seem like a nice gesture. This is completely wrong and very dangerous.
Every wildlife agency across the country strictly tells people never to feed a bear, no matter how friendly it may seem. This will not only harm the bear, as they are not used to eating processed human food, but it will most likely have the bear asking for more food and not understanding when there isn’t any more left.
It’s Better for Everybody
Many wildlife organizations often emphasize the harm that human food can do to a bear. In fact, it is a known statistic that the survival rate of bears that have eaten human food is a fraction of that of wild bears that have never had any contact with humans.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency explains that is socially irresponsible to deliberately and accidentally feed bears and that it conditions animals to eat human food. Aside from harming the bears’ health, giving them human food will make them used to being around humans, therefore making them comfortable and not scared to approach people in general. This can lead to very dangerous situations.
Never Get Close
Let’s be honest – bears are beautiful animals, and they often seem friendly, harmless, and cuddly. But as marvelous as these creatures are, they are and always will be wild animals. Regardless of a bear’s behavior at a certain moment, they can become defensive in a second since their behavior is unpredictable.
They are also one of the biggest, strongest, and most powerful animals in the wilderness and are at their most dangerous when they’re with their cubs. Therefore, any wildlife agency will always advise against getting close to them; one must never approach these animals under any circumstance.
A Golden Rule
It is a cardinal rule of wilderness survival to never run from a bear that is approaching you. Just as in a situation of predator and prey, once a bear senses you’re an object they must catch, the situation becomes worse. Of course, running away from such a big animal is a natural instinct and immediately what anybody would think of doing.
Unfortunately, if a bear is already approaching you or already in very close proximity, the best thing to do is to assess the bear’s attitude – if it seems calm, one must remain calm and still, but if the animal appears to be aggressive, the best thing to do is to make a very loud noise and try to intimidate them.
An Important Lesson
Apart from being an inspiring story of courage and bravery, Altha Williams’ incident with the bear shows people the importance of reacting properly to a bear attack. It is clear that a person’s behavior is key to what the outcome may be. It is important to always assess the situation – is the bear merely curious and exhibiting calm behavior? Or is it getting defensive and threatening?
Once a bear seems defensive or gets in the typical attack pose of raising its front legs and standing up, the only thing to do is to start screaming as loud as possible and grab any object around to fight against it. Any rocks, sticks, or large objects that can be thrown at the bear will help deter it from getting closer.
Altha’s reaction to the bear served as an eye-opening reminder that having enough information about wild animals and knowing how to react to them is imperative for survival. She made a point in emphasizing the fact that, usually, bears are very calm and scared of humans. “I’ve seen plenty walking through my backyard and never felt afraid of an attack; they always respected my space, and I respected theirs,” explained 90-year-old Altha.
She further said that this bear’s behavior was obviously a rare occurrence and the fact that her cubs were around made the animal even more defensive. Altha pointed out the importance of her having done research and gathering information on how to react in a situation like this. She said to a local reporter that that's what saved her life.
Not a Common Incident
Among the countless national parks in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited in the entire country. Over 2 million people go camping and hiking in the park every year, and thousands report bear sightings that are calm and uneventful.
In the last three decades, there have only been six known attacks, and only two of them were deadly. Rangers are not sure what caused bears to exhibit such aggressive behaviors in those particular cases, but it’s usually due to one of three things – food, strong smells, or protecting their cubs. Of course, there’s always the unpredictability factor.
A Hefty Fine
Park rangers never want to be faced with the tough choice of putting down a bear, and this is a choice that is not taken lightly and must be the absolute only remaining option. Thus, national parks have strict rules for visitors, one of them being not to approach any wild animals within 50 yards.
If a person comes closer than that to any wildlife, they will be fined $5,000 or more, and in some cases, people can be sent to jail for six months. Many people don’t realize that getting too close to an animal can make it feel threatened and without any escape, prompting it to attack. Also, rangers recommend traveling in pairs or groups when hiking in national parks. Bears are more afraid of crowds.
Stay Away From Cubs
It is extremely important to heed every instruction and rule given out by park rangers when it comes to bears. But above all, the most important thing to remember is to never approach a bear cub, regardless of whether the mother bear is visible or not, because she will always be close by.
In 2019, an incident at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park went viral when a man approached a bear cub in order to pet it. Obviously, the mother bear lunged at it, and luckily, the man was able to get away just in time. However, most of the online comments heavily criticized the man’s behavior since it is a well-known fact that one should never approach a mother’s baby.
The deadly creatures on this list will have the world's biggest animal lovers running for the hills.
Enjoy learning about some of the most dangerous animals on earth from the safety of your home screen.
Poison Dart Frogs
Living in the tropical, humid regions of South and Central America, these poisonous frogs can kill 10 people with their poison. They get their poison from their diet of ants, termites, and mites. Small, but deadly, these frogs can be as small as 1.5 cm in adult length and weigh on average a slight 1 oz.
Why are they called Poison Dart frogs? Indigenous tribes used their poison to make poisonous arrows when hunting for food. While their bright colors are stunning, they are a sign of the toxicity of the species and a way to warn potential predators to stay away.
These animals will eat anything in sight that has meat on it. They don’t usually kill humans, but this is probably because they live far out of reach. These mammals live within the Arctic Circle and spend many months of the year on sea ice, hunting seals.
They may seem cute on TV, but don’t let their looks fool you; these creatures will tear you apart. They weigh around 350-700 kg and can cover many miles on foot and run on land thanks to their large limbs and feet.
Mata mata Turtle
The mata mata turtle is often referred to as the weirdest turtle on earth. These turtles are quite big and can reach up to two feet in length.
When a small sea creature gets close enough to the mata mata turtle, it simply opens its mouth, sucks it in, and bites down on it quickly, ensuring a fantastic meal. Don't think it won't do the same to you if you get too close.
The wet areas of the Amazon are home to one of the largest non-venomous snakes, the green anaconda. It is the world’s heaviest and one of the longest snakes, growing up to 5.21 m. It is characterized by its olive green shade, with black spots along the length of its body and a distinguishing yellow stripe on one side.
These spooky critters can see what lurks outside of the water while staying almost entirely submerged, allowing them to wait sneakily for their next meal. They live in swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams, mainly in tropical rain forests. They kill by constricting their prey and swallowing it whole. While you wouldn’t be their first choice of dinner, it’s recommended you steer clear.
Mediterranean Black Widow
Just by looking at it, you can tell that this spider is ten times more dangerous than the original Black Widow. This arachnid, with its crazy design and large venom glands, is much deadlier than the original Black Widow. You do not want to be by this tiny but very deadly arachnid, especially the female spiders, as their unusually large venom glands are extremely harmful, specifically to humans. You can distinguish the female from its male counterpart by its dark brown or glossy black color with a red/orange hourglass shape on its bellies.
And don’t let its name fool you into feeling sorry for it. Their names come from the practice of females eating males after mating. Males usually select their female partners by sensing chemicals in the web which tell them whether the female has eaten already.
The dangerous relative of the centipede, humans luckily don’t have to worry much about this animal. They pose more of a danger to ants and other larger predators by burnings through their external skeleton and irritating the predator’s skin and eyes. They do this by excreting poisonous liquid or cyanide gas through their pores.
They are found in all continents except for Antarctica, even in such areas as the Arctic Circle. They usually live in leaf litter, dead wood, or soil and have a preference for humid temperature. In various cultures, millipedes are associated with special powers — they are used to treat certain illnesses and in business rituals. While they aren’t dangerous to humans, native people in Malaysia do use millipede secretions in poison-tipped arrows… so be aware.
Any animal with the word bullet in its name is something you should worry about. This animal’s bite has been compared to a bullet wound and it will make your skin throb, hence the obvious name. Their painful bite will mercilessly leave you pulsating and burning for as long as 24 hours.
They are found in human lowland rainforests in Central America. These ants can measure up to an inch and have sticky feet to allow them to climb anything. Just make sure it doesn’t climb up your leg.
This is surely not the octopus you want to see on your dinner plate. It may be the size of a golf ball, but its venom is so poisonous it has the power to kill 26 adults, with no antivenom available anywhere. Within minutes, this creature will leave you unconscious and paralyzed.
They can be found in coral reefs and tide pools in the Pacific and Indian oceans. They are identified by their yellowish skin and blue and black rings that change color when the animal is threatened. They usually live for two years, varying slightly due to nutrition, temperature, and the amount of light available to their habitat.
A spider wasp that feeds off of tarantulas, the Tarantula Hawk causes dozens of deaths to humans every year. They are one of the largest wasps, growing up to 2 inches long. Their stinger carries a toxin that paralyzes their prey before dragging it (alive) to a nest of eggs and placing a single egg on the prey, which hatches to a larva that eats the living prey.
They can be classified by their vivid coloration of blue-black bodies and bright-colored wings. These colors warn potential predators of their danger. Consider yourself warned… this is not the kind of animal you want to get close to.
Africanized Honey Bee (Killer Bees)
These super aggressive killer bees are known to chase their victims for miles, being much more defensive than other species of bees. They spread throughout the Americas after a Brazilian beekeeper in 1957 was trying to interbreed European and African honey bees and accidentally let some of them loose.
It’s safe to say that these critters are a lot deadlier than their European relatives, and are able to sting victims ten more times. These bees are responsible for the death of around 1,000 humans, horses, and other unfortunate animals.
Indian Red Scorpion
The deadliest and most lethal of the scorpions, don’t be fooled by the Indian Red Scorpion’s small size. Its venom affects the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems and has a fatality rate of 8-40%. It is especially lethal to children.
It is found in densely populated regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. When traveling around there, be sure to check your boots before putting them on your feet because these critters often times find their way into shoes.
Ascaris (Lumbricoides) Roundworms
Common in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical climates, these worms infest your body after you drink water that's been contaminated with human feces.
They can cause a serious infection. In fact, they affect around one-sixth of the human population and are widespread mostly in tropical and subtropical climates. There’s a reason you should always drink bottled water in areas with poor sanitation!
The duck-billed platypus has deadly venom, which makes it one of only a few mammals on earth of that kind. Both males and females have ankle spurs, only the males seasonally produce the deadly substance from their hind limbs. You might mistake it for an animal you could keep on a farm, its venom can actually kill other animals and cause pain to its victims.
While the venom isn’t deadly for humans, the agonizing pain paralyzes its victims. Despite posing a danger to humans and animals alike, it is an iconic symbol of Australia and has appeared as a mascot at several events, as well as been featured on the Australian twenty-cent coin.
Red Bellied Piranha
Though pretty small, a school of these fish can feast on larger animals like no one's business. They swim in the rivers of the Amazon rainforest and enjoy utilizing their strong jaws and sharp teeth.
They eat other fish, insects, and pretty much anything that was unfortunate enough to fall into the water they swim in. Plentiful in their freshwater habitat, these ferocious fighters will perish in saltwater.
These little monsters are one of only two poisonous lizards in the world. They kill their prey with the venomous saliva they produce while chewing. They live in the Southwest of the US and in Mexico and are the only venomous lizards native to the U.S. They are heavy and slow-moving and may reach a length of 2 feet.
They live in brush areas, lush deserts, and oak woodland, and find shelter in locations where moisture is within reach. It used to be believed that the Gila monster had toxic breath and that its bite was deadly, however, it is known now that it isn’t fatal to healthy adults.
This is the smallest jellyfish in the world but also one of the most dangerous. Their sting is 100 times stronger than a cobra and may cause the Irukandji syndrome, which involves nausea, muscle cramps, excruciating back and kidney pains, a burning sensation of the skin and face, headaches, vomiting, and a feeling of impending doom. While most jellyfish have stingers only on their tentacles, the Irukandji also has stingers on its stomach.
They live in the waters of northern Australia. Oftentimes, jellyfish nets which are meant to protect beaches, don’t catch these small jellyfish due to their size of less than a cubic centimeter. They are tiny, translucent, and difficult to spot while in the water, hence why it is also referred to as an invisible danger.
This deadly fish is a delicacy in Japan. It’s advisable not to prepare it at home, as it can stop your breathing and paralyze your diaphragm if prepared incorrectly. Poisoning usually occurs from consuming one of two dishes: puffer soup or raw puffer meat.
The former can cause death while the latter, intoxication, dizziness, and numbness of the lips. People who make it past 24 hours tend to survive, although it is often after a coma which may persist for several days.
These fierce animals are quite aggressive. While they aren’t the biggest of animals, with males weighing around 130 Ibs and females around 77 to 88 lbs, they exhibit great strength and are able to hide large kills in trees, like giraffes and antelopes.
Their coat color ranges from pale yellow to deep gold or black, with a pattern of black rosettes, while its head, lower limbs, and belly are solid black. The color alternates depending on different locations and habitats.
These creatures aren’t necessarily deadly but they can destroy your property by eating wood for their queen. They feed mostly on dead plant material and cellulose, in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung. They can kill trees through this process, which sometimes may cause death to those nearby.
While they can be very invasive, they are actually some of the most successful groups of insects on earth and are found in most places around the world, except Antarctica. Their colonies range from a few hundred members to millions. Queen termites have an exceptionally long lifespan, with some of them living 30 to 50 years.
Great White Shark
These massive sharks are found around the coastal surface waters of all major oceans. They stand behind the largest number of reported and fatal unwarranted shark attacks on humans. Large adult females can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh 4,200 Ibs.
While these massive predators aren’t a fan of human meat (we’re much too bony) that won’t deter them from sampling you. Their bite can sometimes lead you to bleed to death. They aren’t good at telling the difference between what's food and what's not, and sometimes take bites of boats and surfboards. These sharks can live up to 70 years or more. However, even they have a natural predator, the orca or killer whale.
These wolves have killed more than 7,000 people. Not as friendly as dogs, their bite can be deadly.
They are native to Europe and depend on livestock and garbage as their food source, generally in areas that are highly populated by humans.
These bugs may seem small and harmless but don't let that misleading exterior fool you. They will hurt you and they won't mind one bit. Thess flies infest and lay eggs inside of humans’ bodies.
The eggs can live and feed off of you for months, sometimes causing infections and death. That doesn't mean you should panic over every fly you come across. Since these guys are common in Belize, if you aren't planning on traveling there, you should be fine.
The number one cause of death-by-animal throughout Africa, this buffalo is very unpredictable. There’s a reason behind its nicknames, “widowmaker” and “black death.” They are responsible for the death of over 200 people every year. While they are a threat to humans living in regions where they are present, humans, in turn, are a bigger threat to these buffalo.
The Cape buffalo is a member of the big-five game family, due to the danger involved in hunting it. Wounded animals are known to lie in wait of hunters and attack them. Hunters may pay over $10,000 to hunt one. The animals are mostly sought out for their trophy value, while some are hunted for meat.
A truly stunning animal, it has caused the death of many humans throughout history, and for that reason, it has earned the nickname “man-eater.” Its teeth are particularly large, measuring 3 to 3.9 inches — the biggest amongst all cats.
Despite being the king of the jungle, it has become an endangered animal due to poaching and the loss of habitat in the Indian subcontinent.
Sydney Funnel Web Spider
This spider’s bite is powerful and deadly, it can cause excruciating pain and other symptoms like sweating, tingling, and muscle spasms. The symptoms usually appear in less than one hour. If not immediately treated, symptoms can result in death. Of cases involving severe poisoning, 42% are children.
The spider is native to eastern Australia and is mostly found within a 62-mile radius of Sydney. Its size ranges from 4 to 2 inches and can be identified by its shiny and dark color, usually blue-black, black, brown, or dark-plum.
Southern Flannel Moth
An almost exact replica of Donald Trump’s hair, this winged caterpillar lays eggs that hatch into dangerous larva. The larva’s sting can be agonizing. The caterpillar is found on oak, elm, wild plum, and many garden plants, like roses and ivy.
Its venomous spines make this a dangerous insect that can sometimes cause death. Symptoms may involve burning, swelling, nausea, headache, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
Castor Bean Tick
Tiny but deadly, this tick feeds off of its host while sending a deadly bacteria that can be very dangerous to its host.
It is found across Europe and in some parts of North Africa and the Middle East, mostly in woodlands and forests. It is more common in humid areas.
Eastern Brown Snake
Measuring over one meter in length, these snakes are the number one cause of death by snakebite in Australia, accounting for 60% of snake-bite deaths in the country. They are found in most areas, except for dense forests.
They have become very prevalent in farmland and on the outskirts of urban areas, due to agriculture and in turn, mice. Don’t get close, since it's a very fast snake and it does not shy when it comes to approaching humans.
This is known as the world’s most poisonous fish. It lays camouflaged on the bottom of the ocean floor, patiently awaiting its prey. It has venomous neurotoxins, which it emits from the glands at the base of its dorsal fin spines when it is disturbed or threatened. It consumes its victim in a whopping 0.015 seconds by opening its jaws very fast. Not easily seen due to their similarity in appearance to rocks or coral, they can also survive outside of the water for up to 24 hours.
They are found in the coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific and some species live in rivers. While these fish are very poisonous and often deadly, they can be eaten when prepared properly.
The third-largest member of the cat family, this isn’t the cat you want cozying up on your sofa. While they are an endangered species, they are also very dangerous, with the strongest bite among other types of cats. They are also much larger than leopards.
They are solitary animals who stalk and ambush their prey. They are found across Southwestern United States, Mexico, much of Central America, and areas of South America. They live mostly in tropical and subtropical climates, made up of moist broad-leaf forests, swamps, and wooded areas.
Portuguese Man o’War
Similar to the Jellyfish, this is a type of Physalia found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Although similar in looks to a shell, don’t touch it. It has long tentacles that give a powerful and venomous sting, capable of killing or paralyzing fish, or in rare instances, humans. They are identified by their gas-filled bladders, which sit at the surface of the water, while the rest of them is submerged. Their name comes from their resemblance to the Portuguese 18th-century armed sailing ship, the man-of-war, at full sail.
They are responsible for stinging up to 10,000 humans in Australia every summer, especially on the east coast. Their detached tentacles may float for several days in the water or wash up on shore and remain potent. Their stings may generate intense pain to humans and red welts that last two or three days after the first sting. They may also lead to airway blockage, cardiac distress, and an inability to breathe.
If you see a nest, avoid it at all costs. Like other stinging insects, they kill humans by causing anaphylactic shock. The bigger ones are the most fearful, as their stings become more powerful as they age. Yellowjackets are social insects, living together in colonies that have workers, queens, and males.
Queens come out during late spring or early summer, choose a site to nest, and build a small paper nest to lay eggs in. The queen stays there, laying until her death in the fall. The colony grows fast, reaching a size of 4,000 to 5,000 members and a nest of 10,000 to 15,000 cells by the end of the summer.
Blue Poison Arrow Frog
Their shiny blue color says it all: danger. With enough poison to wipe out 20,000 mice, and so tiny that they could fit on a human fingernail, this amphibian can kill a large animal just by touching it, as its poison is on their skin. Each frog has unique black spots, making it possible to distinguish between them.
They spend most of their day hopping around and being aggressive towards one another and to other animals. To fend off outsiders, they display a series of calls, chases, and wrestling.
The king of the grasslands and the second-largest animal after the tiger, they are very dangerous and cause around 100 human deaths a year. They hunt in groups and usually go after vulnerable animals, like young and old members of the pack they are chasing.
These lions have a sparser mane than their African cousins. They live in and around Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat, western India.
Small but deadly, these jellyfish are the cause of more human deaths a year than sharks, crocodiles, and stonefish combined. Its poison is extremely potent. They are found mostly in the tropical Indo-Pacific region, with some species living in tropical and subtropical oceans including the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Be especially alert during the months between October and May, as this is when swimmers are at the highest risk. However, stings do occur all year-round. The riskiest conditions are in calm water with a light, onshore breeze. Hey, that’s just how we like it too!
Australian Funnel Web Spider
This spider wins the Guinness Book of World Records as the most poisonous spider on the planet. This spider sometimes wanders around into homes and cars. They produce venom that is extremely toxic to humans and can cause severe injuries to victims.
Not to be confused with the Sydney funnel spider (also featured on this list), they also have very large and powerful fangs which are capable of piercing fingernails and soft shoes. Luckily, the introduction of antivenom has reduced the danger. In any case, be alert.
Fortunately, they aren’t deadly to humans, but you do need to watch out for your children. Their venomous glands can be harmful to the young ones. While their bite is rarely fatal, it can cause severe swelling, chills, fever, and weakness. This species is common in the U.S.
Despite their name, they have between 30 to 354 legs, always displaying an odd number of pairs of legs. They are found everywhere from the Arctic Circle to tropical rain forests and deserts. They are also found in soil, leaf litter, logs, and under stones and dead wood. They look for a moist habitat due to their lack of a waxy cuticle that other insects have, which causes them to rapidly lose water.
Killing around 50 people a year, this is the most aggressive species of ants. Their bite can send you into anaphylactic shock and in some cases, death. They are found in more rural or remote areas.
This invasive species costs the US $5 billion every year on medical treatment, damage, and control in infested areas. They also cause $750 million in damage every year to the agriculture and farming industries. More than 40 million people live in infested areas in the southeastern US.
With a name like that, you know there’s a reason to worry. These bugs' bite spreads the deadly Chagas disease, which can cause severe damage to your body. In 2015, it was estimated that 6.6 million, mainly in Mexico, Central America, and South America had the disease and that 8,000 people died from it.
Most people who are infected are not aware of the disease’s presence. At the onset of the disease, symptoms may be mild, including fever, swollen lymph nodes, or swelling at the location of the bite. In rare cases, the disease can lead to heart failure, an enlarged esophagus and colon. If that’s not freaky enough, they are also called the kissing bug, as they bite you near your lips.
One of the most dangerous animals in Africa, this animal has a history of attacking humans. As a herbivore, this animal doesn’t want to eat you, but it is very aggressive and unpredictable and may attack you even without being provoked. Males weigh around 3,310 Ibs and females 2,870 Ibs. They are semi-aquatic mammals, spending much of their time in rivers, lakes, and mangrove swamps.
Despite their large and heavy form and short legs, they are able to run 19mph. During the day, they cool off by staying in the water or mud. At dusk, they leave the water to eat grass in solitary.
Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake
As its name suggests, this snake is easily recognizable thanks to its warning-sign coloring. With a black back and a bright yellow belly, this creature practically screams "get away from me". These snakes are found in tropical waters in oceans around the world, except for the Atlantic.
They are one of the most widely distributed snakes. While antivenom is available in Australia, you don't want to provoke one of these into testing the cure's efficiency.
Not to be fooled by its beauty, this bird has venom which is similar to the King Cobra, but more concentrated. Just one drop of their highly potent poison can kill three people and paralyze all the muscles in your body.
Touching this bird can cause harm as its skin and feathers contain poison. Its poison is similar to that which is found in the Poisonous Dart Frog. It is believed that the poison provides the birds with a chemical defense against predators such as snakes and humans. The birds don’t produce the toxin themselves but acquire it from the beetles they eat.
While they only need to eat once a month, these dragons will eat anything and everything, including water buffalos, humans, and birds. They are found in the Indonesian islands and are the largest living species of lizard, growing up to a maximum length of 10 feet and in rare instances, can weigh up to 150 pounds.
They are amazing hunters, waiting patiently for their prey to get close in order to pounce on it and tear it to shreds. Their prey includes invertebrates, birds, and mammals. Fortunately, they aren’t responsible for many human deaths, probably owing to the fact that they have little contact with them. They are, however, known to dig up humans from graves… creepy.
Lonomia or “Assassin Caterpillar”
Responsible for hundreds of deaths in South America, these little guys camouflage into their environment, by blending into the bark of trees. Its spikes hold a venom that can be extremely dangerous, and even deadly.
People may accidentally lean against these highly venomous caterpillars and consequently face a dramatic and severe impact from a dose of their venom.
They are known to kill humans, and during wartime and disease outbreaks, their hunting increases. While they are sometimes depicted in movies as being cowardly (we are looking at you Lion King), they actually ward off larger predators from their kills.
Their powerful jaws and sharp teeth can not only cut through their prey's skin but also actually break bones. They are mostly nocturnal. In Somalia, they love Hyena meat and use it for food and medical purposes.
Sri Lankan Leopard
Found in regions of Asia and Africa, the Sri Lankan Leopard is one of the “five big cats.” They hunt from trees, using their extremely powerful jaws, which are some of the most powerful in the animal kingdom.
They hunt silently, stalking their prey and waiting until they are within a pouncing distance to pursue their victim. They execute the killing with a single bite to the throat. If you find yourself roaming the jungle and you hear a roar, you better take cover.
More dangerous even than the Black Widow, these spiders are lethal to children and the elderly. They are small spiders, ranging from 6 to 20 millimeters, and found across various states in the U.S.
While the bite is not felt right away and may not be painful, the symptoms can be serious and require medical attention. They like to hide in shoes and gloves, so always check before putting them on.
While mostly peaceful, the world’s largest animal is naturally bound to be dangerous. They sometimes display bouts of rage and can get aggressive, trampling other animals and destroying villages in their way. They are prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa in dense forests, woodlands, and deserts.
They are some of the most intelligent species and display a variety of behaviors and emotional capabilities such as grief, learning, play, humor, altruism, compassion, and self-awareness.
Hunters say that this animal can be even harder to catch than wild bears. With a weight of up to 660 Ibs, this aggressive mammal also comes in fourth in the list of most intelligent animals on the planet. Its sharp tusks are to be avoided at all costs. They are also known to be the host of at least 20 different parasitic worm species, with most infections taking place in the summer.
While attacks on humans are rare, they can be serious and result in injury. The boar attacks by charging and pointing its tusks toward its victim, usually injuring their thigh. After the first attack, they step back to look if the victim is still moving. If so, they keep attacking until the victim is immobile.
African Tsetse Flies
Found in sub-Saharan Africa, these flies carry the sleeping sickness, which can affect humans and be deadly if not diagnosed and treated on time. According to researchers, they are responsible for a whopping 250,000 human deaths a year.
They spread diseases by feeding off the blood of their hosts. They are mostly found in tropical Africa.
Known as a deadly predator in the waters of the Amazon rainforest, they get their name from their ability to generate a strong electrical charge of up to 600 volts. They're not actually eels, but a member of the “knife-fish” family.
These fish are highly desirable by some animal collectors, but very hard to catch. The only viable way is to exhaust them by making them deplete all of their electricity. Eventually, the fish’s electric organs become discharged and the hunter can swoop in for the kill.
You definitely want to avoid stepping on one of these if you’re in a bushy area in Australia, Papua New Guinea, or nearby islands. While other snakes will slither away at the presence of a threat, the Death Adder freezes.
Their long fangs can deeply penetrate your skin and inject an average of 40-100 mg of highly toxic venom with one bite. Their bite can lead to paralysis and, ultimately, to a complete respiratory shut-down within six hours.
Found worldwide among warm, shallow waters along coasts and rivers, is one of the most dangerous and aggressive species of sharks, even more so than the great white.
Also known as the Zambezi shark, the bull shark is a determined predator and rarely fears being attacked by other animals. Humans pose the biggest threat to them, but that still doesn't mean you want a one-on-one meeting with any of them.
While we all hate being bitten by mosquitos, their bite can actually be deadly. These minuscule pests cause 2 to 3 million deaths every year and spread diseases to 700 million people.
They take host on a variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even some fish. They are found in all different climates, including warm, humid tropical regions and cold regions. There is literally no getting away, though a mosquito repellent should do the trick. And as long as you are not allergic, you will probably survive a sting.
Related to the ostrich and emu, this flightless bird is the most dangerous land bird. One of the many flightless birds native to New Zealand, it is miles away from the docile kiwi in terms of aggression.
Known as the deadliest bird in the world, the cassowary has powerful legs with sharp talons that they use as their most powerful weapon. They can charge, kick and claw you to death. Basically, you don’t want to be face to face with one.
Giant Asian Hornet
Also known as the yak killer, this is one of the most dangerous of Japanese hornets and the world’s largest one. It is native to temperate and tropical Eastern Asia and lives mostly in low mountains and forests.
They are characterized by their light orange head, brown antennae, and yellow-orange base. Their stinger injects a very potent venom that can cause severe tissue damage. They are responsible for 30-40 human deaths every year in Japan.
Powerful and fearless, this animal is an excellent fighter and will fight to the death... of its enemy. While not very big, these creatures don't let their size deter them from going after prey larger than themselves, or even stealing the prey killed by other adjacent predators.
Despite its size, it will not be very intimidated when faced with a human. They are solitary animals who live mostly in the arctic.
This adorable creature is unfortunately quite dangerous. The slow lorises have a very poisonous bite which they generate by licking a special gland on their arm, and the secretion is activated when they mix it with their saliva. Their bite keeps predators at bay and they protect their infants by applying it to fur during grooming.
They are found in Southeast Asia and the bordering areas. Their hands and feet have several adaptations that allow them to hold on to branches for long periods of time. They are slow-moving and quiet animals, and when they’re threatened, they freeze immediately.
You probably can’t outrun this large mammal, unless you can run faster than 40 mph. This animal has poor eyesight and is easily startled. Even the slightest movement can make them pounce and attack. Although tough animals, rhinos are easily poached, especially while visiting their water holes to drink.
They are sought out by some humans for their horns, which are sold on the black market and used by some people as decoration or traditional medicine, especially in Vietnam and other East Asian countries.
Tapeworms live in the intestines of larger animals. Humans can catch tapeworms by eating undercooked meat which comes from infected animals such as pork, beef, and fish. You can also catch tapeworms by eating food prepared in unhygienic circumstances. These small worms can grow in your body by eating the food you consume. The beef tapeworm can grow up to 65 feet.
They can cause serious damage to your organs and in some cases, death. The most dangerous are pork tapeworms, which can seriously affect your organs and cause damage. Symptoms may be few or none at all, or they can actually include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and weight loss.
This snake causes the majority of snake-related deaths in the world and is found in less developed areas that lack medical care, such as dry regions in Sri Lank, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and Africa. It uses a hemotoxin which is similar to a boomslang.
They also produce a sizzling warning sound by rubbing parts of their body together. These snakes are active at night, biting most of their victims during these hours. The outcome? Victims bleeding to death for several weeks.
This crocodile uses a crazy killing method called the “death roll.” It rolls its kill over and over in the water until it drowns. It is extremely powerful and fast. Its diet is very vast, eating anything from water buffalo to sharks. It is the largest reptile in the world, with males reaching a length of 7 meters.
They live in marine environments, usually in estuaries, mangrove swamps, lagoons, deltas, and shallow rivers. They are widely distributed and range from the eastern coast of India throughout most of Southeast Asia and northern Australia. They are known to attack humans, so refrain from venturing into their territory.
Fortunately, lions don’t usually feast on human meat. However, sometimes they do seek out humans. In 1898, a lion killed 28 railway workers in Kenya over a nine-month period.
Males are larger than females, and typically weigh 330 to 550 Ibs. Their mane is their most distinguishing quality. They usually live in grasslands and savannas.
The black mamba is an extremely venomous snake and is commonly regarded as the most dangerous and feared snake in Africa. Rumor has it that this animal is aggressive, quick, and attacks for no reason. It is also known as the “death incarnate.” The length of adults, which may exceed 2 meters, makes them the longest species of venomous snake that is native to Africa.
Their venom is super toxic, and one bite can deliver 100-120 mg of venom. Fortunately, attacks on humans are rare as they don’t often go to highly populated areas.
You know how sometimes scientists go with a Latin name for a new species they discover? Well, when faced with this deadly critter and its hellish stinger, they went with something a lot simpler. With a creepy name like that, you can't ignore the fact that this venomous scorpion is super dangerous.
Causing horrible pain to adults, and fever, coma, convulsions, and paralysis in children, this scorpion is found in areas of North Africa and the Middle East, and it is responsible for 75% of scorpion-related deaths every year.
Black Spitting Thick Tail Scorpion
This nocturnal scorpion poisons its victims by stinging or spraying them. They are characterized by their super thick tail. The name is a dead giveaway (pun intended), so you could probably guess it yourself.
They are found in dry parts of southern Africa and are also known as the thick-tailed scorpion, dark scorpion, or giant deathstalker (all fantastic names that sound just as cuddly as they should). Be careful because they are easily frightened and cause many deaths every year.
Usually more of an irritation than a source of death, flea bites can sometimes become infected, in which case they can be deadly. You mostly need to worry about the diseases they carry with them. As external parasites of mammals and birds, they live by consuming the blood of their hosts using mouthparts fitted for penetrating the skin and sucking blood.
They don’t have wings, but they have hind legs adapted for jumping, which allow them to jump a crazy distance 50 times their body length. They are one of the best-known jumpers out of the entire animal kingdom, relative to their body size.
Also known as the “cigarette snail,” this little thing can kill 20 people with one drop of its venom. A sting by this animal leaves you just enough time to smoke one cigarette before dying. They are usually found in warm and tropical seas and oceans.
People are often attracted to their color and may want to pick them up. However, their sting will occur at random and is capable of penetrating the skin, gloves, or wetsuits. Plus, there is no antivenom, so it is best that you avoid this lethal critter.
Just like many other tick species, this tick is known to spread diseases. With these guys, you need to worry about Lyme disease. They are mostly found in forests in North America, so watch out for them.
Fortunately, their preferred host is, of course, deer, which is just one reason why you should just pet random deer. You are not a Disney princess. They are also known to feed on small rodents, so don't go around petting those either.
Just look at those ferocious snappers. Thinking of an army of those is enough to send anyone running for the hills. For such a tiny insect, their bites are anything but small.
One bite can affect your circulatory system, and they’ll eat just about anything. An army ant colony never stops moving over the time it exists. Are they about to take over the world? Who knows? Are we about to stay close and find out? Heck no!
Hanging out mainly in tropical seas, a moray eel doesn't really have much of a body count (an average of zero human deaths per year), but that doesn't mean they aren't dangerous. Their sharp teeth are perfect for puncturing through skin, and their thick, scaleless skin is difficult to penetrate in turn.
When disturbed, they're all too willing to take the fight to whatever is bothering them. If a human does manage to win the fight, they can't even enjoy the spoils of the battle – moray eel flesh can be toxic, causing illness or even death if it isn't prepared properly. If you're swimming in the warm waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, or Indian Oceans, watch out.
Golden Poison Frog
The bright yellow coloring of this frog makes it easy to pick out among the Colombian wilderness, but as nature often tells us, bright coloring means danger. It might come as a surprise, but this animal is one of the most toxic found on Earth (toxic: don't eat it). It packs enough potency to kill ten fully-grown adults, but we don't have any information about how many have succumbed to this powerful creature.
The indigenous people of Colombia use the venom of the golden poison frog to tip blowgun darts before going hunting. The frog might not be able to utilize the toxin for offense, but any creature that takes a nibble is going to have a bad time.
If you've ever gone hiking in the wilderness of North America, you know to watch out for these big beasts. While grizzly bears (or brown bears) are the cause of 1.6 human deaths per year (using recent numbers, at least), they have a potential to be much higher. There's a reason bear mace is a thing. People who like to enjoy the great outdoors need to keep an eye open for them.
They might look cuddly, and they don't seem to move that fast, but they're almost half a ton of muscle and sharp claws. You can't beat them in a fight, and you can't run from them – give these austere beasts a wide berth.
Horses are an animal that humans have been using for their betterment for thousands of years – maybe even tens of thousands. We love them, they often love us, and this symbiotic relationship has produced plenty of great things, like the movie “Black Beauty.” But horses are still plenty dangerous, especially since humans spend so much time around them.
At least a hundred deaths per year are due to horses, though very few of them are because of aggression on the horse's part. Most of them are because of equestrian activities and head injuries. There are also thousands of minor injuries humans get while riding.
Cows give us healthy milk, delicious cheese, and protein-packed beef, but they also contain plenty of danger. Each year, cows are responsible for about twenty deaths – more than sharks – typically by kicking or trampling. While some of these are accidental, something like three-fourths of these attacks are deliberate attacks according to experts.
There's also the fact that cows are pretty much everywhere in America's heartland due to the amount of cheese, milk, beef, and other materials they are useful for. The sheer number of beasts increases the number of possible deadly encounters, but twenty per year is still quite low for the amount of activity that these animals are a part of.
Deer are herbivores, and they don't have claws, and they don't like to get anywhere near humans for the most part, but they're still one of the most dangerous animals that you'll encounter. Why is that? Because of cars. Specifically, because of car accidents. Deer cause something around one point three million car accidents, with plenty of them ending up being fatal.
Your risk is much higher in certain areas of the world, and in certain states of the United States, but anywhere these guys will be present creates some danger for people who are driving. Even if you aren't in a car, there's always a threat from an animal this big.
Snails? Really? It's true, but not for the normal reason. Snails don't have fangs, claws, horns, or enough weight to be any danger to anything but the wimpiest humans, but they do have something that ends up being far more dangerous: worms.
Freshwater snails often carry parasitic worms, which – when consumed by humans – can inflict the disease schistosomiasis, which causes abdominal pain, blood in the urine, and eventually death. The World Health Organization estimates that schistosomiasis causes anywhere from twenty thousand to two hundred thousand (!) deaths per year. If possible, avoid these creatures to make sure you don't end up suffering from something that sounds pretty horrible.
Plenty of people love dogs, and for good reason. They're cuddly, they love to play, and they're great for exercise. However, you're probably aware that there are plenty of dogs out there that aren't too friendly. Fatal dog attacks end up with somewhere from thirty to fifty deaths per year, and for some reason, the number is increasing.
Whether this is wild dogs who are protecting themselves or poorly trained dogs that escape their leash, dogs aren't all cuddly, furry friends. However, it's important to remember that even the dogs with the highest number of fatalities – pit bulls – are often perfectly well-trained and like to chase sticks just like the rest of them.
What could this tiny fly do to hurt anybody? Lots – far too much, if you're talking to some people. These little flies can transmit a parasitic disease called leishmaniasis, which has a number of forms, the worst of which is quite deadly.
While most of the forms are treatable if still dangerous, visceral leishmaniasis is ninety-five percent fatal in untreated cases. Thanks to this disease, the humble sandfly ends up being responsible for more than twenty thousand deaths per year, mainly in regions such as Afghanistan and surrounding areas. A major outbreak in 2009 was just the beginning of this disease's reign of terror.
The lionfish is beautifully hypnotizing, with its fiery red-orange color and intricate rays for fins. Those beautiful bright colors and the fan-like fins might tempt first-time snorkelers into reaching for one, but that would be one dumb move to make.
These exotic-looking fishies are incredibly poisonous. When they sense a threat they can use their beautiful stingers to inject lethal poison, which comes down to an excruciatingly painful experience.
Anyone in their right mind would steer clear of sharks. Any kind of shark, not just the great white one. Similar to the great white, the tiger shark is huge and does attack humans, but that doesn't mean it can't.
Most of the tiger shark attacks happen during the night. If you do have a tiger shark coming across your path while in the ocean, you do not need to panic, just try to keep calm (as much as you can, you are still a short distance away from an apex predator) and swim away to safety.