Worlds Most Dangerous Animal
April 8, 2012 by staff
Worlds Most Dangerous Animal, Rhinos, hyenas, alligators – devastating human predators, right? Wrong! Though an attack by one of these beasts would surely mean bad news, they’re statistically least likely to kill a human. Check out the most deadly animals in the world, discover how they mete out their punishment and, most importantly, find out how to avoid them!
Yes, the humble mosquito. What we Brits regard as an annoying pest is actually the most dangerous creature on the planet, thanks to its ability to spread disease with alarming efficiency. Best known for spreading deadly malaria, mossies also spread elephantiasis, yellow fever, dengue fever and West Nile virus, which was recently introduced to the US and is now prevalent in all states.
Responsible for: An estimated 2-3 million fatalities a year.
Hangs out in: Worldwide; harmful in Africa, Asia and North America.
Method of dispatch: Using serrated mouth parts, female mosquitoes pierce the skin and inject saliva containing a thinning agent to liquidise the blood. Most people won’t know that they have been bitten until the immune system reacts, resulting in red, itchy bumps that continue to itch for days after the initial bite.
Useful avoidance techniques: Mosquito nets treated with DDT are the most effective way to keep them at bay, as well as combative sprays and treatments that can be applied directly to the skin. Wear light-coloured, long clothes in the evening. If travelling to malaria zones, ensure that you take your full course of tablets before, during and after your stay.
The venomous snake
Though there are more than 2,000 species of snake, 450 of which are venomous, only 250 are capable of killing a man. That’s little consolation to the thousands who meet a nasty death due to snake bites each year – it’s usually members of local populations who bear the brunt as they live and work where snakes inhabit and usually wear no protective gear.
Responsible for: An estimated 50-125,000 fatalities a year.
Hangs out in: Africa, Asia and North America.
Method of dispatch: Snakes are very fast and any part of the human body is a good place for a bite, seeing as the venom can flow into the bloodstream within minutes; although those near major veins and arteries will travel faster. Snakes use their venom to paralyse their prey. A fully grown king cobra can rear up so it looks a man in the eye; others can spit venom into the eye. Nasty.
Useful avoidance techniques: Unsurprisingly, most people come a cropper when they try to harass a snake or draw close to it. Snakes will usually only attack if they’re feeling threatened so the short answer is: stay away! Wear stout boots if hiking and check either side of paths. Don’t mess about looking under rocks or fallen vegetation as you’ll get more than you bargained for. If you come across a snake, back away very slowly, as it can strike to half its length and sudden movements are likely to alarm it.
Highly deadly and twice as ugly, the scorpion is a nasty critter that is probably responsible for more deaths per year than recorded, due to the isolated places they hang out and probable lack of access to antivenin. However, out of an estimated 1,500 species of scorpion worldwide, only around 25 are regarded dangerous.
Responsible for: An estimated 800-2,000 fatalities a year.
Hangs out in: Worldwide; particularly Africa, the Americas and Central Asia.
Method of dispatch: Scorpions paralyse their prey by pumping deadly venom through the obvious curved stinger at the end of their tails. As with all venom, humans are particularly susceptible if they are allergic – though the African spitting scorpion, who scuttles around Africa, is the most venomous, as it is able to spray venom up to a metre. Yuk.
Useful avoidance techniques: Scorpions become active at night and lie low during the day, so be sure to shake out any bedding, clothing or anything close to the ground before use. Be vigilant at night and wear thick socks.
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