The element of danger is something that makes certain animals particularly intriguing or interesting. We’re all familiar with the usual suspects when it comes to dangerous animals such as larger predators like lions, tigers and bears (oh my!). There are however some less obvious suspects when it comes to dangerous animals. In this article, we’ll list some of the most dangerous animals in the world and where you can find them.
25 of the most dangerous animals in the world
Most animals have the ability to cause harm, whether that be through biting, clawing or stinging. However there are some that can be particularly dangerous or deadly. One thing that’s important to note is that in most cases, animals are only dangerous when they need to be. Animals are not inherently blood-thirsty, human attacking monsters.
With all that being said, let’s take a look at 25 examples of the most dangerous animals in the world.
Latin name: Homo-sapiens
Not necessarily surprising, humans are the second most dangerous animals (to other humans) in the world. On average, anywhere from 440,000 to 475,000 humans are killed each year directly by other humans. Not only do humans kill other people, but they are also responsible for the killing of millions of animals each year- arguably making them the deadliest animal on earth.
Humans are found on all seven continents, even Antarctica where humans have set up facilities and camps to live temporarily for research purposes.
Latin name: Family culicidae
In addition to being very annoying, mosquitoes can also be incredibly harmful to people. This is because mosquitoes can carry several life-threatening diseases/illnesses such as malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and Zika virus, to name a few. Mosquitoes transmit diseases that are responsible for killing 750,000 to over one million people each year. This makes mosquitoes the most deadly animal on earth to humans by far.
There are several thousand species of mosquitoes that occur all over the world, except for in Antarctica.
Latin name: Hippopotamus amphibius
You wouldn’t know it by looking at them, but hippos are actually fairly agile. They are also incredibly strong, and their strength coupled with their agility and defensive attitude can be deadly. Hippos have been known to kill people by charging them and even capsizing boats.
Hippos are found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa where they live in savannah and forests where there are rivers, ponds and lakes.
4. Blue-ringed Octopus
Latin name: Hapalochlaena sp.
These octopuses are small but deadly. While all octopuses are venomous, the Blue-ringed octopus is armed with incredibly strong neurotoxins that are powerful enough to kill a person in minutes. Luckily, envenomations by these cephalopods are extremely rare.
Blue-ringed Octopuses are found in shallow waters and coral reefs of the pacific ocean.
5. Saltwater Crocodile
Latin name: Crocodylus porosus
The Saltwater Crocodile is a large, prehistoric looking reptile equipped with giant, powerful jaws. In fact, they have the strongest bite of any other animal. Saltwater Crocs have the tendency to be very defensive if approached and they have also been known to attack unsuspecting swimmers.
Look for Saltwater Crocodiles in coastal regions throughout Southeast Asia and Australia.
6. Grizzly Bear
Latin name: Ursus arctos
Known for their large stature and tough attitude, Grizzly Bears are fierce and incredibly powerful. However, these bears rarely harm humans. That being said, Grizzlies are extremely protective of their young and will go to great lengths to defend them.
Grizzly Bears can be found in Northern Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and through Western and Northern Canada, up into Alaska.
Latin name: Panthera tigris
Tigers are expert hunters, taking their prey swiftly through the element of surprise by grabbing their prey by the throat. They tend to take down mid sized mammals like deer and boar, but they have also been known to go after elephants and even rhinos. Tigers do not typically go after humans, but in some regions of India upwards of 100 people are attacked by tigers each year.
Tigers live in pristine forests scattered throughout India and Southeast Asia.
Latin name: Family elephantidae
While elephants are known for being gentle giants, they can also be incredibly dangerous. In rural communities near elephant habitat, elephants are known for causing damage to crops and property. In some cases, territorial or agitated elephants have been recorded to charge people and even cars.
There are three living species of elephants, two of which are found in scattered parts of Sub-Saharan Africa in forests, savannahs and scrubland. The third species, the Asian Elephant lives in forested areas throughout India and Southeast Asia.
9. Sea Wasp (Box Jellyfish)
Latin name: Chironex spp.
There are many species of Box Jellyfish, however none are as deadly as the Sea Wasp. These Jellyfish have incredibly toxic stings that can kill a person in minutes. They are known as the most deadly Jellyfish in Australia where they killed 63 people over the course of 22 years.
They’re found in coastal waters as far north as Vietnam and south towards Northern Australia.
10. King Cobra
Latin name: Ophiophagus hannah
King Cobras are the longest venomous snake in the world. Their large size is also in part what makes them so potentially dangerous as they have incredibly large venom ducts. King Cobras are able to inject high yields of venom into their victim, and if left untreated can kill a person in under an hour.
King Cobras are found throughout many different habitat types in Southeast Asia and small distributions in India.
Latin name: Bos guarus
Many people have never even heard of a Gaur, but don’t let that fool you. These large, bison looking animals have a reputation of being aggressive when threatened and have been observed to maul and subsequently kill people. They are also capable of killing cattle when provoked.
They’re found in evergreen and deciduous forests throughout Southeast Asia and India.
Latin name: Canis lupus familiaris
While most pet owners would never consider their beloved pooch to be dangerous or deadly, dogs kill approximately 35,000 people worldwide each year. Dogs can kill people directly through attacking them, or by transmitting rabies which is deadly if left untreated.
Domesticated dogs are kept by people all over the world, stray dogs are also common in large metropolitan areas.
13. Tsetse fly
Latin name: Glossina spp.
Tsetse flies are vectors for a life threatening illness called sleeping sickness which affects the central nervous system. Luckily, if caught early enough sleeping sickness is curable in most cases. However, in areas where healthcare or treatment is not readily accessible, Tsetse flies kill around 10,000 people per year.
These flies are found in Central and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Latin name: Panthera leo
Everybody knows that Lions are fierce and for good reason as Lions kill up to dozens of people per year. Lions have been known to eat people to supplement their diet, however these people are typically poachers that put themselves at high risk of run-ins with potentially deadly wildlife.
Lions can be found in grassy plains and savannah through sub saharan Africa. There is also a small population of Asiatic lions in India.
15. Gray Wolf
Latin name: Canis lupis
The Gray Wolf is a not so distant relative of species of domesticated dogs. They are much larger than dogs and have higher prey-drives than most dogs, which can make them dangerous. However, due to the fact that they are generally afraid of people, fatalities from Wolf attacks are rare.
Gray Wolves are found in Northern North America, Northern Asia and parts of Europe.
16. Komodo Dragon
Latin name: Varanus komodoensis
Komodo Dragons are the largest living lizards in the world, growing up to 7.5-8.5 feet long on average. Their large size allows for them to overpower their prey while they latch on to administer a venomous bite. Komodo dragons take down prey as large as buffalo, however they have also been known to attack and kill people- although these attacks are rare.
Komodos are only found in the Komodo Islands of Indonesia.
Latin name: Bungarus spp.
There are several species of Kraits, which are highly venomous snakes. Kraits have extremely potent neurotoxic venom that is almost always fatal if left untreated. While these snakes are very docile, they are accounts of them slithering into houses in rural areas where many people sleep on the floor and bite unsuspecting sleepers that oftentimes never wake up.
One hypothesis is that these snakes try to warm up next to sleeping humans that may roll over on top of the snake which consequently startles the snake and causes it to bite.
Kraits have various habitat types including forests, fields and villages throughout India and Southeast Asia.
18. Bull shark
Latin name: Carcharhinus leucas
While shark attacks are very rare, one of the repeat offenders in these events is the Bull shark. Bull sharks are a bit more bold than other sharks and often swim in shallow, murky water where people tend to swim. Bull sharks have been responsible for several dozen unprovoked attacks on humans.
Lolk for bull sharks in warm, brackish and coastal waters throughout North and South America, Africa, India and Asia.
19. Reticulated python
Latin name: Malayopython reticulatus
The Reticulated python is the world’s longest snake, with reports of individuals up to nearly 30 feet long. These snakes are all muscle which is what makes them so potentially dangerous. For the past several years, roughly one or two people a year have been killed and swallowed. These snakes kill their prey by squeezing or constricting them to death.
Reticulated pythons live in forests, agricultural land, and even cities throughout Southeast Asia.
20. African Buffalo
Latin name: Syncerus caffer
You would not want to run into an African Buffalo on a bad day. They are notorious for being unpredictable and aggressive when agitated. African Buffaloes are reported to maul and kill up to 200 people each year, giving them the nickname “the widow maker”.
There are several subspecies of African Buffalo occur throughout scattered regions in Sub-Saharan Africa.
21. Cone snail
Latin name: Family conidae
While most people assume snails are harmless, this family of snails is highly venomous, however some are more deadly than others. They have a long radula or specialized tooth which acts as a harpoon to stick small fish or the unfortunate person that tries to pick one up. There have been nearly 30 confirmed fatalities from Cone snails but the actual number is thought to be much higher.
There are over 900 species of cone snail found worldwide in mostly warm, tropical waters typically living in sandy areas or on coral reefs.
Latin name: Casuarius spp.
This strange looking bird with a large horn looking structure on its head is arguably the world’s most dangerous bird. Cassowaries have long, powerful legs with sharp claws that can be used to swiftly quick and scratch people. These birds may charge and kill livestock and they have also attacked several hundred people. Luckily fatal attacks are rare.
They aren’t normally what comes to mind when you think of the most dangerous animals on the planet, but in the spirit of diversity we thought we’d include a bird on the list. Cassowaries are found in rainforests, grasslands, and swamp forests in Australia and New Guinea.
23. Golden Poison Frog
Latin name: Phyllobates terribilis
The Golden Poison Frog, while incredibly small, is extremely poisonous. In fact, they are one of the most poisonous animals on earth. Each frog has enough toxin that is estimated to be enough to kill 10-20 people. These frogs are only lethal when ingested, however these frogs should not be touched in general as the toxins could damage or irritate the skin.
Golden Poison Frogs live in rainforests along the Pacific Coast Colombia.
24. Sydney funnel-web spider
Latin name: Atrax robustus
There are many species of funnel-web spiders, but this species in particular is incredibly lethal. Sydney funnel-web spiders have deadly venom that target the central nervous system and can kill humans in anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour after being bitten if the victim is not treated. These spiders like to hide out in dark places (like shoes), which has led to the unfortunate run-in for many Australians.
This unique spider is found in Eastern Australia, near Sydney.
25. Inland Taipan
Latin name: Oxyuranus microlepidotus
The Inland Taipan is claimed to be the most venomous snake in the world, with one bite estimated to kill up to 100 adults. Despite it being the most venomous snake in the world, it is very timid and rarely seen around people and there are currently no known fatalities from an Inland Taipan.
The Inland Taipan is found only in dry, arid regions of South Australia.