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Killed by an animal

Please add Geni profiles of those who were killed by an animal, and do consider spinning off into more specific projects.

facts and figures

Chart: The animals that are most likely to kill you this summer

Rounded to the nearest whole number, sharks killed about 1 person per year between 2001 and 2013. Same for alligators and bears, for that matter. Sharks, gators and bears combined killed half as many people as snakes (6 deaths per year) and spiders (7 deaths per year).

Non-venomous arthropods -- various ants and other terrible non-poisonous bugs -- kill 9 people each year. But these pale in comparison to the deaths caused by nature's silent, stealthy killers -- cows.

A CDC report from a few years back found that cows killed about twenty people a year in the mid-2000s. That makes cows about 20 times as lethal as sharks. These deaths aren't due to marauding packs of feral bovines terrorizing suburban neighborhoods, but rather incidents involving working with cattle on farms. As the CDC report notes, "large livestock are powerful, quick, protective of their territory and offspring, and especially unpredictable during breeding and birthing periods." Most people killed by cows are farm workers.

Going beyond cattle, dogs about kill 28 people per year, and other miscellaneous mammals, like horses, pigs, deer and the like, kill 52 (note that all of these numbers exclude deaths due to vehicle collisions with these animals, which the CDC tracks separately). But the number 1 animal killers on an annual basis are bees, wasps and hornets, responsible for 58 deaths each year -- mostly due to anaphylactic shock after a sting.

So, to put things in perspective, statistically speaking you're 28 times more likely to be killed by a dog than you are by a shark. But this doesn't mean that I'm about to trade in my beagle-basset mix for a great white. If you want to know where these attacks are most likely to happen, see the follow up post I wrote.

The other important thing to note is that annual deaths from all animal causes combined (about 200) are just an infinitesimal fraction of total deaths -- less than 0.008 percent of all deaths each year, according to a 2012 study.


From Wikipedia

Man-eater is a colloquial term for an animal that preys upon humans. This does not include scavenging. Although human beings can be attacked by many kinds of animals, man-eaters are those that have incorporated human flesh into their usual diet. Most reported cases of man-eaters have involved tigers, leopards,[1][additional citation needed] lions and crocodilians. However, they are by no means the only predators that will attack humans if given the chance; a wide variety of species have also been known to take humans as prey, including bears, Komodo dragons, hyenas, cougars, and sharks.


  • Tigers are recorded to have killed more people than any other big cat, and tigers have been responsible for more human deaths through direct attack than any other wild mammal
  • Man-eating lions have been recorded to actively enter human villages at night as well as during the day to acquire prey.
  • Man-eating leopards are a small percent of all leopards, but have undeniably been a menace in some areas; one leopard in India killed over 200 people.
  • The only documented man-eaters among the great apes are humans themselves and common chimpanzees
  • In the rare cases in which man-eating wolf attacks occur, the majority of victims are children.
  • Attacks on humans by dingoes are rare, with only 3 recorded fatalities in Australia, all of which involved young children.
  • By far the best-behaved of all large predatory land animals except for humans, the dog is the large predatory animal least likely to kill humans as prey.
  • Almost all known predatory coyote attacks on humans have failed.
  • Although bears rarely attack humans, bear attacks are often fatal due to the size and immense strength of bears.
  • Both the spotted hyena and the smaller striped hyena are powerful predators quite capable of killing an adult human, and are known to attack people when food is scarce.
  • A number of animal trials in the Middle Ages involved pigs accused of eating children.
  • Crocodile attacks on people are common in places where crocodiles are native.
  • A large constricting snake may constrict or swallow an infant or a small child, a threat that is legitimate and empirically proven. In the Philippines, more than a quarter of Aeta men (a modern forest-dwelling hunter-gatherer group) have reported surviving reticulated python predation attempts.
  • Large Komodo dragons are the only known lizard species to occasionally attack and consume humans.
  • Contrary to popular belief, only a few sharks are dangerous to humans. Out of more than 568 shark species, only four have been involved in a significant number of fatal unprovoked attacks on humans: the great white shark, tiger shark, bull shark, and the oceanic whitetip shark. These sharks, being large, powerful predators, may sometimes attack and kill humans; however, they have all been filmed in open water by unprotected divers.


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