7 Animals That Are Deadlier Than Sharks

There were 2,785 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks around the world between 1958 and 2016. Sounds like a high figure, but the fact of the matter is, you should actually be more careful around these seven other animals.

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Deer on rural road
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Depending on where you live, this may or may not come as a surprise: Deer are dangerous animals. It’s not because they’re vicious, though; most of these deaths are caused by car accidents, especially as urban development continues to shrink the animal’s natural habitat. According to the Manitoba-based Wildlife Collision Prevention Program, there are four to eight animal vehicle collisions every hour in Canada—approximately 80 per cent of such accidents involve deer.

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Paper wasp
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In 2017, Manitoba’s chief medical examiner confirmed that three residents died of complications from or reactions to wasp stings. The province saw one wasp sting-related death in 2014, 2012 and 2008 each, as well as two in 2002.

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Angry dog
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It turns out man’s best friend has a dark side. According to media reports in the Canadian Newsstand database, there were 28 fatalities from dog-bite injuries in Canada between 1990 and 2007. Factors in these cases included residential location and children’s unsupervised access to an area with dogs.

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Cow on pasture
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While you might underestimate a cow’s violent tendencies—after all, these animals are featured in many children’s zoos—cattle kill around 20 Americans a year. And while some of these deaths are accidents—cows standing in the road or falling off cliffs onto vehicles below (yes, really!), about 75 per cent are deliberate attacks. In 2015, animal behaviourists found that 10 of the year’s cow-related deaths were caused by bulls, six by cows, and five by group attacks. Yep, you read that right—cows sometimes team up to co-ordinate an attack. “When they’re feeling defensive, cows will gather in a circle, all facing outwards, lowering their heads and stamping the ground,” writes Gizmodo. “When they’re feeling offensive, certain cows lead the charge.”

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Horse on a farm
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Horses were involved in 42 per cent of animal-related fatalities in Canada between 1990 and 2004. Unsurprisingly, many of these deaths were farm-related.

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Black widow spider
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Black widow spider

Every arachnophobe fears the black widow spider, which resides mostly in the United States but can also be found in southern Ontario. Their venom is reportedly 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s, but that doesn’t mean you should live your life in fear. One study found that the spider is most likely to bite when it’s pinched along the entire length of its body. Even poking the spider repeatedly wasn’t enough to get it to bite. That means you’re probably safe if you see this arachnid on your wall. But if you sit on her, you’ll want to get help immediately.

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Black bear
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Black bears

Deer and moose may be serious hazards on the open road, but black bears remain linked to wild animal attacks. A study conducted by Hank Hristienko, a biologist with the Manitoba provincial government, found 92 lethal and non-lethal black bear attacks across Canada and the United States from 2010 to 2013.

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Bull shark
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More on sharks…

There you have it: according to the International Shark Attack File, there were 2,785 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks around the world between 1958 and 2016. Only 439 of those attacks were fatal. Still sounds high, but your chance of being killed by a shark in a country like, say, the United States, is just 1 in 264.1 million.

Find out how to survive a shark attack.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest