The Most Dangerous American Animal (3)

So what is the most dangerous animal for our American friends??

Well, we already know that wolves have never killed anyone in the lower 48 states of the USA with just one death in Alaska and one in Canada since the year 2000:


The most difficult problem I had with the USA was in finding accurate figures. Some lists refer to a single year and others to a number of years. On the other hand, the animals mentioned were all roughly the same in terms of the number of deaths, however the number was expressed.

Soooo…..don’t worry about sharks, with one fatality per year on average between 2001-2013. It was the same figure for alligators, crocodiles (you have both?) mountain lions, moose and, surprising to me, bears. All three species together, Grizzly, Black and Polar kill around two people per year between them. Venomous snakes and lizards (you have both?) kill six, and scorpions one victim fewer.

I didn’t know what a non-venomous insect was, or rather, I just couldn’t see how it would kill you, but anyway, they managed to kill nine people. Much more dangerous, though, were cows with an average kill total of around twenty. According to one expert:

“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 although they will attack walkers, birdwatchers and artists on occasion. In particular, in my experience, they especially seem to hate easels and tripods, thinking you are some kind of four or five legged supercow. Meat producing cattle are more docile in their behaviour and milk producing breeds are the worst of all, especially Friesians:


Mammals such as horses, pigs, deer and others killed 52 people annually between them, although strangely, this figure does not count road collisions.

More dangerous still are bees, wasps and hornets with just under sixty deaths, mostly through anaphylactic shock. Other venomous insects killed a further sixty victims, who included a large proportion of old folk in the southern states killed by fire ants.


One website alleges that domestic dogs kill 250 people per year and states that $1 billion is lost every year through injuries and deaths caused by dogs. Sadly 34% of the victims are children under four years of age. Elsewhere totals were much lower with the National Canine Research Council reporting 41 fatal dog attacks in 2014 and 32 fatalities in 2013.

Keep it in context though. The USA has a population of 318.9 million people and 2.6 million people die every year. All animal deaths combined constitute a measly 0.008 percent of all fatalities.

Annually, 33,000 people are killed in cars. There must be towns smaller than that.


30,000 people fall to their deaths.

Nearly 39,000 manage to poison themselves.

11,000 people are shot and killed.

3,868 people drown.

41,000 commit suicide every year.

Around two and a half thousand Americans choke to death every year, with roughly the same total for deaths in fires. Six hundred people shoot themselves accidentally, with 45% of them children. Forty five of the adults will be hunters walking alone in the woods.

In the less serious category, 33 people are killed every year by lightning. A massive 413 deaths occur every year as a result of accidents with ATVs. Even elevators have their dangers…yes, you read correctly…..they kill 26 unfortunate people every year. These don’t look dangerous…but they are:


And what about England? Well, we’ll see in the near future.


Filed under Criminology, History, Humour, Science, Wildlife and Nature

32 responses to “The Most Dangerous American Animal (3)

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    Most interesting John.

  2. A fascinating account John. We tend to be more wary of large carnivores, my family lives in Minnesota and we have never seen a bear, let alone a wolf. I think that the figure that really struck me was the US suicide rate statistic. It made for very stark reading indeed. I wonder if guns are the predominant method employed and if access to them contributes to such a high rate of suicide?

    • I was told by a doctor that if somebody really wants to commit suicide then they will do it, even if the kitchen knives are hidden and all medication is locked away. I would presume that if there are lots of guns around, then that is just the most convenient way to kill yourself…and quick too presumably. As regards the sexes, men often tend not to give cries for help but to just kill themselves. Are guns a man thing? That would explain any excessive use of guns perhaps. We too have a shocking suicide rate over here and I would say that the train is one of the preferred methods… perhaps because in such a small country, you are never too far from a railway line. By the way, thanks a lot for your contribution and watch out for those bears!!

  3. What a funny, interesting article. I remember walking the paths through the fields into Dorset and there were cows with differing thoughts on their minds. A very sad trip include once include a separated cow, alone in the next field. He was baying so loud and acting sick in the head. I can still it acting like wasps were burrowing into his head like torture. I wonder if it had mad-cow disease. All I know it was creepy and I thought of that when read your article about the attacking cows.

    • I think mad cow disease was in the early 1980s. It was actually caused by farmers who fed their cattle on the bones of sheep, which then allowed a sheep disease to leap into a new species. I too often wonder whether those lone animals you see in fields are ill or in need of help. We reported a sick sheep to a farmer once but he actually showed no interest at all! Thanks a lot for your contribution. It is much appreciated.

  4. Interesting statistics. I assume that non-venomous insects just scare the shit out of people and they cardiac arrest?

    • I really don’t know. Maybe they choke people. Or maybe that statistic was a misprint! I was actually quite shocked as to how much what seemed to be official statistics were different in various websites. Animals, though, are pretty harmless compared to a human being armed with a car.

  5. Interesting, John. Wow, that’s a supersize cow!

  6. I’m still afraid of sharks…lol. I’ve had a problem ever since I went to San Diego during the airing of the Shark Week series on TV. I went out into the water, saw a dorsal fin and panicked. Of course it was a cute, gentle dolphin but I spent the rest of the day on the sand. Elevators are dangerous? I always knew that. Oh well…taking the stairs is good exercise.

    Great read!

    • Thanks very much. I can understand a fear of sharks but I bet driving home from the beach is more dangerous statistically. I was due for an operation a few years ago and I was really pretty frightened until the nurse realised this and wisely told me that the most dangerous thing I would do during the whole episode would be crossing the road to the patient car park on the way home.

  7. atcDave

    Definitely interesting stats!
    We do have both alligators and crocs; alligators are by far more numerous, but the crocs (confined exclusively to the Everglades I believe) are more aggressive.
    Non-venomous insects presumably kill by disease; mosquitos and ticks carry malaria, meningitis, West Nile virus, Zika and Lyme disease. All of which can be especially bad for those with compromised immune systems.

    Similar to Rich’s comment above, I live in Michigan which has bear, wolves, puma and coyote. Coyote are common and represent some threat to small children and pets, but not much. Bear, puma and wolves confine themselves to less populated parts of the state and I’ve never seen one outside of a zoo.
    Deer are a big issue in deer/vehicle collisions and cause much damage. But they are too small to normally present a mortal danger. This may change as little European type micro cars gain in popularity here (!). Every now and then you hear of a big buck turning tables on a hunter. Moose and Elk may be a bigger issue, literally. But like the bigger predators, they are uncommon in the more populated areas.

    Perhaps the biggest take away for British readers is just that the US has significant undeveloped land area and a wide range of environs. But undeveloped means that almost no one lives there! Wildlife presumably posses no more threat to the average American than it does to residents of any other developed nation.

    • Thank you so much for such an interesting contribution. I think you may be right about European cars. Because there is no large predator in Britain we have a surfeit of deer. Nowadays, they may even come into towns during the night. A collision with one of those can be fatal and supposedly they kill 20-30 people per year. That though is nothing really compared to other categories. As noted above, suicide rates are shocking over here, especially among the young, and deep vein thrombosis after operations claims tens of thousands every year.

  8. Well that’s fascinating stuff. Living on the Norfolk / Lincs / Cambs border the most deadly creature here is the sparrow ! Can strike at anytime and in the most non-venomous way! I think I’d take that over gators, crocs or bears anytime!

  9. Geeze, these stats do shake one up. I live in the States. LOL I just don’t dwell on death all that much I suppose. I’m too busy with life. LOL

  10. Wolves look and are desperate in areas where not much food out in the wild. This was a rather scary post. Thanks for the nice photos and sharing. 🙂

    • And thank you for your contribution. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. And don’t get too scared. Out of 300 million+ Americans not many die as a result of animal attack. I’m sure you are perfectly safe!

  11. interesting read…

  12. Interesting stats John. Thanks for sharing. I read somewhere recently that lawnmowers kill more people in the States per year than Muslim terrorists have ever done. No idea of its source or veracity though, unfortunately.

    • Thanks a lot for your comment. I suppose that what upsets people is that it seems somehow OK if you are stupid enough to kill yourself with your own lawnmower, but terrorists kill innocent people. Personally I would think the Americans would be better off trying to change the situation with their own guns which kill lots of innocent people every year.

  13. I read somewhere that in the Middle Ages the murder rate in Lincoln was equivalent to that of Dodge City in the days of the Wild West – whether people carry swords or guns they will always use them.

    • I think it’s how we use those weapons that is the key issue. I have never heard of people in either Dodge City or Lincoln walking into a school and killing everybody. The main point though, is the weapon you are using. If you have a sword you will kill a lot fewer victims than somebody does nowadays with an assault rifle or a machine pistol. I suppose that is where gun control becomes the issue.

  14. Interesting article, after reading it I realised man is the most harmful being on the planet, 41000 die of suicide?

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