Last night, while putting my kids to bed, we used my iphone to “discover” different parts of the world and the different animals that lived there. My kids had a million questions and wanted to view different pictures of the area in which we were discovering. I might have got carried away with the adventure because the kids eventually fell asleep and I found myself flying over the amazon river!
It’s fun learning about the world around us. With technology and information at our fingertips we are able to use google earth to fly to the Rain forest in Brazil, the Syrian Desert or the Rocky Mountains without worry of being attacked by wild animals that live in that part of the world.
The internet allows us to learn about the wildlife that live in areas we may visit around the world in which we may be unfamiliar with the dangers they pose. After my internet adventure around the world and back home again I was curious to know what are the most dangerous animals and where they lived. Let’s take a look at the list below, starting with #11.
The lion, also known as the king of the jungle, is one of the scariest animals on the plains of Africa. With the ability to blend into the long yellow grass, they stock their pray and attack with a speed and force that can individually take down large wildebeest, or a few together can take down a giraffe or buffalo.
Habitat: Historically, the lion was predominately found in Africa, but they are also found in Asia and Europe. Today, however, most lions live in East and South Africa.
Size: The size difference between a male and female lion can be significant. Male lions can grow between 5 feet 7 inches to 9 feet 9 inches and weigh between 330 lbs to as much as 550 lbs.
The female lion can grow between 4 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches and weigh between 250 lbs to as much as 400 lbs.
Death: Lions are responsible for roughly 22+ human deaths each year. However, this number is debatable as attacks take place in rural areas where reporting such incidences is sometimes lacking.
The elephant is the largest land animal on Earth. There are two main species of elephant. The African elephant and the Asian elephant. They live on separate continents, but have many unique features. There are several subspecies that belong to one or the other. Over the years, people have tried to domesticate them for agricultural and economic reasons.
Habitat: The Asian elephants are found in Nepal, India and Southeast Asia in scrub forests and rain forests.
The African elephants live in sub-Saharan Africa, the rain forests of Central and West Africa, and the Sahel desert in Mali.
Size: Of the Two species, the African Elephant is the larger species. The adults can grow up to 13 feet tall (Shoulder to toe) and weigh as much as 14,000 pounds. The Smaller Asian Elephant can grow up to 9.8 feet tall (Shoulder to toe) and weigh as much as 11,000 pounds.
Death: Elephants are responsible for roughly 500+ human deaths each year.
The Hippopotamuses, also known as “Hippo”, is among the heaviest land mammals today. Their diet consists of grass and green shoots on the grassland. They love to be in or around the water. Known for their large tusks and massive jaws, these features can be used to crush other animals that may threaten them.
Habitat: The hippo is native to sub-Saharan African but is now only found in small areas of South Africa. This dwindling population is due to drought, poaching, over hunting, and other external factors.
Size: Hippopotamuses have short legs compared to their long bodies. Their skin is roughly 2 inches thick and has very little hair. Male Hippopotamuses measure around 15-17 feet long and five (5) feet tall, with an average weigh of 3,310 lbs. Occasionally large males can weigh as much as 5,860 lbs.
The Females weigh on average 2,800 lbs and grow to be 11-12 feet in length. This is due to the fact that the females stop growing at age 25 while the males will continue to grow throughout life.
Death: Hippopotamuses are highly aggressive and very territorial when in the water and will attack if they feel threatened by other animals or humans. Hippopotamuses have been known to attack boats while they are in the water and trample people if they get between them and their watering hole. Hippopotamuses are responsible for roughly 500+ human deaths each year.
Tapeworms are flat segmented worm-like parasites that may live in the intestines of some animals and humans. There are several types of tapeworms, and only six that are known to infect people.
Habitat: The Tapeworm has an interesting “habitat”. Most people think that their primary habitat is the intestines of animals, however, these animals don’t have the tape worm to begin with but rather they become infected with them when grazing in pastures or drinking the water that contain tapeworms.
Humans become infected with tapeworms when they eat meat that is infected with the parasite and wasn’t properly cooked, or they drink water that is contaminated.
Size: Because tapeworms live in the intestines of the host it has infected (animal or human), it feeds off the food that goes through the digestive system. Due to this constant supply of food, tapeworms can grow to be more than 80 feet in length and live as long as 30 years if untreated.
Death: If caught early enough, treatment is easy and effective. However, in some parts of the world where medical treatment is not readily available, the tapeworm will rob the nutrients from its human host to the point that he or she will die. Tapeworms are responsible for of 700 deaths each year.
Crocodiles are large reptiles that live in swamps, rivers and lakes around the globe depending on the species. They are perfectly suited for life in the water. With web feet, long tails, slender bodies and the ability to stay under water for two hours, crocodiles can sneak up on its prey along banks of the water, lunging out of the water to latch onto them and drag them under.
Habitat: The depending on the species of crocodile, they can be found in various places around the world. However, the two most dangerous species, the Salt Water Crocodile and the Nile Crocodile, found in southeast Asia, northern Australia and Sub-saharan Africa.
Size: The size of the crocodile depends on the species. The African Dwarf Crocodile
grows to an adult size of 4.9 to 6.2 ft, whereas the Saltwater Crocodile can reach a scary and yet impressive size of 23 ft and weigh up to 2,200 lbs.
Death: Because humans and crocodiles often live in the same area, they are often in conflict. It has been reported that crocodiles kill on average 1,000 humans each year. This number may be higher due to under reporting in rural areas.
6- Ascaris Round Worms:
Like the tapeworm, the round worm is also a parasitic worm that can be found in the intestines of infected animals and humans. They are the most common type of parasitic to infect dogs and cats.
Habitat: The round worm shares the same type of “habitat” as the tapeworm does; soil and contaminated water, or in the intestines of infected animals and humans.
Size: Round worms don’t get nearly as big as the tapeworm. Adults grow to 3-4 inches on average, but have been known to be as long as 7 inches.
Death: Because the round worm leads to infection, they are estimated to kill 4,500 humans each year. Most of the deaths are children as their immune system is unable to fight off the infection as effectively as an adult.
5- Tsetse Flies:
Tsetse Flies are large flies that are commonly known as “Biting Flies” or flies that bite or sting humans or animals. They feed off of the blood of the host, to obtain enough nutrient for their life-cycle. When they bite, they transmit disease.
Habitat: The Tsetse Fly inhabit the tropical parts of Africa.
Size: Tsetse Flies can grow to be 0.5cm to 1.5cm.
Death: When the Tsetse Fly bites or feeds off of a human for food (blood) they transmit a disease known as “sleeping sickness”, which is fatal if it is not treated early. Because treatment is not always started early enough, or if medication is not readily available, roughly 10,000 humans die each year from the Tsetse Fly.
4- Assassin bugs:
There are several different species (130) of Assassin Bugs, one of which is known as the kissing bug. The reason for the name “Kissing Bug” is because it feeds around the mouth of people or other animals while they are sleeping.
Habitat: There are 130 different species that fall under the term known as “Kissing Bug”, and can be found in the southern and western United States, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America.
Size: The size of kissing bugs range from 0.5 inches to 1inch in length and have a broad body and long legs.
Death: Kissing bugs in Mexico, and Central and South America have been known to transmit Chagas Disease when they bite or poop on individuals. Most of the time people will have no symptoms or only a mild reaction. For some however, the bite with the disease can become infected and prove fatal if it is not treated properly. The infection can lead to serious heart problems or disease in the intestines. Roughly 12,000 people die each year due to the kissing bug.
Dogs were the first species to be domesticated nearly 14,000 to 36,000 years ago. Today, there are 340 different breeds of dogs in the world today. Some dogs are very aggressive and don’t make good house dogs, while others are very loving and protective and make wonderful pets.
Habitat: Dogs are found around the world, both domestic and wild. They live in the home and in the wild.
Size: Dogs come in various of sizes and with different personalities. The smallest breed of dog weigh between 1-10 pounds and the largest between 91-110 pounds.
Death: Dogs kills 35,000 people each year both in the USA and abroad. Dogs that are wild and aggressive or have not been properly socialized are more likely to attack. It is not uncommon for dogs to attack their owner.
Snakes, like dogs are found around the world. There are over 3,400 known species of snakes in the world with roughly 600 of them considered dangerous.
Habitat: Due to the variety of snakes in the world, no single habitat or continent contain all of them. However, most of the dangerous snakes are found on the African continent.
Size: Snakes range from as small as 10.4 cm (Leptotyphlops Carlae) to 20 feet (Green Anaconda). The largest venomous snake is the King Cobra, at a length of 18+feet.
Death: With over 600 different dangerous snakes in the world, snakes are responsible for over 100,000 deaths each year.
Mosquitoes are the most dangerous animal (insect) in the world! Nearly everyone has been bit by one. Like many other species, when they bite you, they may transmit disease. Mosquitoes can be traced back nearly 226 million years.
Habitat: Mosquitoes are found worldwide.
Size: The size of a mosquito is between 3-6mm.
Death: Each year 700 million people are infected with a disease that was transmitted via a Mosquito and 750,000 people die each year as a result.