This Is the Animal That’s Most Likely to Kill You in the U.S.

When you think of the animal you fear encountering most, for many people, bears, mountain lions, and other sizeable, sharp-toothed predators come to mind. However, when it comes to your actual risk of meeting a tragic end, the animals most likely to cause you significant harm aren’t the ones you might imagine. According to a 2018 study published in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database, the animals most likely to kill you in the U.S. are a surprising bunch. Read on to discover which animal is most likely to kill you in the U.S., according to CDC data.

RELATED: This Is the Deadliest Dog Breed in the U.S., According to Data.

12

Other reptiles

Desert Horned Lizard Facts about LifeDesert Horned Lizard Facts about Life
Shutterstock

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 1

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 0

While you might find yourself surprised to encounter a nonvenomous lizard or snake during the course of an average day, the odds that that encounter will turn deadly are slim. According to the study’s findings, the animals were thought to be responsible for a single death during the period from 2008 and 2015.

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11

Crocodiles or alligators

Crocodile on river bankCrocodile on river bank
Christian Lehmann/Shutterstock

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 1

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 0

Coming face to face with a crocodile or alligator may seem like a real-life nightmare for many people, but fortunately, these animals cause relatively few fatalities. From 2008 to 2015, these animals were thought to have killed just one person.

10

Scorpions

arizona bark scorpion on treearizona bark scorpion on tree
Shutterstock/Ernie Cooper

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 2

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 0

Scorpions may seem scary, but they’re associated with relatively few fatalities in the U.S. on an annual basis, killing just two people during the study period. This may have to do with the fact that only one type of scorpion in the U.S.—the Arizona bark scorpion—is considered fatal to humans.

9

Centipedes and venomous millipedes

A centipede on a branchA centipede on a branch
Shutterstock

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 3

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 0

Though they accounted for just three deaths over the study period, there was one particularly notable distinction about deaths related to centipedes and venomous millipedes: this was the only type of animal encounter that killed more women than men.

8

Unspecified venomous animals or plants

red and black striped blister beetle on daisyred and black striped blister beetle on daisy
Shutterstock/studiomirage

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 22

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 1

While the exact venomous animals and plants included in this category weren’t disclosed by the study’s authors, this group included deaths “due to a chemical released by an animal or insect; release of venom through fangs, hairs, spines, tentacles, and other venom apparatus; venomous bites and stings; and exclusion of ingestion of poisonous animals or plants.”

7

Venomous snakes and lizards

Copperhead snakeCopperhead snake
Shutterstock

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 48

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 3

Though no one wants to encounter a venomous snake or lizard when they’re out and about, these animals cause relatively few fatalities in the U.S. each year. Annually, venomous snakes and lizards were responsible for approximately 6 deaths each between 2008 and 2015.

6

Venomous spiders

brown recluse spider outdoorsbrown recluse spider outdoors
Shutterstock/Sari ONeal

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 49

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 3

Though spiders may be a common fear, they’re associated with a relatively low proportion of animal-related deaths in the U.S. Fortunately for arachnophobes, the States are home to only a few types of spiders with venom that’s known to cause serious harm to humans, including the black widow, brown recluse, hobo spider, and yellow sac spider.

RELATED: If You Live in These States, Prepare for More of This Deadly Spider, Experts Say.

5

Other nonvenomous insects or nonvertebrates

flies on garbage bag, towelsflies on garbage bag, towels
Mr.Samarn Plubkilang / Shutterstock

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 61

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 4

While nonvenomous insects and nonvertebrates in this category are associated with a relatively low percentage of total deaths, they are associated with approximately 2 percent of stateside animal-related deaths among children from birth to age 4, and 3 percent of animal-related deaths among children between 5 and 9.

4

Other venomous arthropods

fire ants on piece of woodfire ants on piece of wood
Shutterstock/NOTE OMG

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 84

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 5

This classification, which includes a number of insects and crustaceans, is responsible for approximately 11 deaths per year.

3

Dogs

Dog laying in grassDog laying in grass
Shutterstock

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 272

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 17

Dogs are among the mammals most frequently associated with fatalities in the U.S. The study’s authors found that dogs were responsible for approximately 34 stateside deaths per year.

RELATED: This Is the Most Aggressive Dog Breed, New Study Says.

2

Hornets, wasps, and bees

Close up of flying bees. Wooden beehive and bees, blured background. - ImageClose up of flying bees. Wooden beehive and bees, blured background. - Image
Shutterstock

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 478

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 30

These three insects were the venomous animals most likely to cause fatalities in the U.S., according to study data. This particular trio caused an average of 60 deaths each year from 2008 to 2015.

1

Non-venomous mammals other than dogs

Cows hanging out in pastureCows hanging out in pasture
inventbbart/Shutterstock

Number of U.S. deaths attributed to animal between 2008 and 2015: 576

Percent of total animal-related deaths: 36

This classification includes “cats, horses, cows, other hoof stock, pigs, raccoons, and other mammals,” according to the study’s researchers. In total, non-venomous mammals were responsible for approximately 115 annual deaths between 2008 and 2015. According to online gaming site LCB.com, which also analyzed the CDC WONDER data, horses, cows, and deer were responsible for the most deaths among this group, causing approximately 20, 20, and 120 annual deaths in the United States. Bears, mountain lions, and sharks, on the other hand, were responsible for approximately one annual stateside death each.

RELATED: 6 Things That Are Bringing Snakes Into Your Home.

 

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