Which Animals Are Most Dangerous to Humans?
It’s not lions … or tigers … or even bears.
A new study published in Scientific Reports shows that attacks by these large predators are relatively rare, compared with human fatalities caused by other wildlife – such as insects. But that rarity tends to make these attacks more sensational and irresistible to the media.
Researchers studied large carnivore attacks -- bears, wolves, coyotes and cougars -- that took place between 1955 and 2014. In total, there were 697 reported attacks during this period. The team determined that the number of attacks has been rising each year.
They found that around half of the documented attacks were a result of "risk-enhancing human behaviors," which include leaving children unattended in wild areas, allowing dogs to walk off leash or tracking an animal.
But it’s not the big animals we should be worrying about.
The study calls attention to the fact that the number of attacks on humans by bears, for example, is relatively small when compared with the havoc that smaller animals -- including mosquitoes, spiders and bees -- wreak on humans.
In fact, mosquitoes are the world's deadliest animal to humans, followed by humans themselves and then snakes.