The world is awash with very real dangers which act to threaten the lives of the human populous on a day to day basis. Putting our fellow man to one side for just a second, we’re likely to unearth an uncomprehending array of creatures with the capacity, as well as the motive, to kill human beings. Despite our ranking at the high end of the current food chain, we are in many cases no less vulnerable to the whims of our animal neighbours than in the past. What’s more is that those creatures with the ability to eradicate human life with relative ease extend far past the obvious. Whilst it is commonly known to most that a head on charge from a rhinoceros or a hug from a grizzly bear is likely to have the same end result as a swim with a bull shark or a wrestle with an anaconda, it is often the unsuspecting creatures that deserve the most caution. Animals which we live amongst account for a surprisingly high number of human expiry, for example horses kill (on average) 20 people each year in the US alone. To further on such an intriguing topic, I have kindly compiled a list of the most beguiling deadly creatures in existence.
10. Africanized Bee
Known colloquially as ‘Killer Bees’, Africanized Bees are (unsurprisingly) feared by many people. A hybrid breed of European (Italian and Iberian) Bee breeds as well as larger African Honey Bees, the breed caused pandemonium across the US in the early nineties as the spread from the south northwards wreaking havoc on, well, pretty much anything that annoyed them really. Inflicting far more misery upon their fellow bees than on humans, these particularly confrontational insects have become known for the genocide of existing European breeds. Considered dangerous due to their fondness of swarming, a good few people die as a result of their activity each year.
9. Tsetse Fly
Also known as tik-tik flies, the Tsetse is a breed of insect capable of mass human death. Annually, it is estimated that they cause as many as 300,000 human deaths each year, most typically through their prize ability to successfully spread infectious and detrimental diseases. The most common such disease is Trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness. This parasitic condition can affect human beings as well as animals, and acts to aggressively attack first the lymph system, and later the central nervous system itself. Tsetse flies are indigenous primarily to the African continent, and as a result this is where they cause the most death to humans.
8. Cone Snail
Despite being miniscule in stature, relatively harmless in looks and belonging to the quite placid sounding Coninae family of aquatic molluscs, the Cone Snail can do a hell of a lot of damage if rubbed the wrong way, literally. Possessing a reservoir of rather volatile toxins, most commonly used in the stunning and consuming of prey (usually small fish), the Cone Snail is capable of firing a harpoon-like barb at impressive velocity in pretty much any direction. Though attacks on humans are rare, they have been known to cause the untimely deaths of a scuba-diver or two in their native Pacific Ocean. Essentially contaminating human blood to the point of reflexive rejection (loads and loads of regurgitation and diarrhoea, basically) the toxins possessed by the Cone Snail cause almost instantaneous reaction. Add to the aforementioned nausea, headache, weakness, seizures respiratory failure and even coma, as well as the fact that you’re likely to be bobbing about helplessly in the ocean when this goes down, and you get a pretty good idea of just how these tiny molluscs are capable of causing death.
7. Stone Fish
Continuing on the theme of unsuspecting barbarous and toxic sea-creatures, the Stone Fish would likely get on very well with the Cone Snail. In fact, it’s even possible the two have met, as the Stone Fish too enjoys the warm coastal areas of the Indo-Pacific. Though lacking an ability to project its venomous barbs directly towards its intended target, the Stone Fish does possess a couple of separate, yet equally impressive skills- namely camouflage and habitat transition. With the ridiculous ability to blend in to its surroundings with ease, the creature’s already tricky-to-distinguish profile is enhanced even further. On top of this, the Stone Fish may leave the water, taking up a role as a miscellaneous rock on a beach for a period of up to 24-hours. If stood on, the fish uses the victims own wait to leak nasty venom directly into the bloodstream- often causing crippling pain and sometimes even fatality.
6. Black Mamba
Far from being the only snake with a gift for causing pain, suffering and eventually death, the Black Mamba just may be the most notorious. Named so as a result of the black interior of its mouth, this creature is native to Eastern Africa and can range in size from 8ft to 10ft long. One of four snakes categorised as ‘mambas’, the Black Mamba is the second largest venomous snake in the world, behind only the King Cobra. Delivering its incapacitating venom with both ferocity and speed, most who encounter the creature’s wrong side are dead within a matter of minutes.
5. Komodo Dragon
An extremely famous predator, the Komodo Dragon is a species of monitor lizard indigenous to the Southern Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Padar and Gili Motang. Unique among the lizards in its large size, as well as its taste for a good pack hunt, the Komodo dragon is a formidable predator indeed. Possessing a slightly venomous bite used to slow its prey, not to mention a habit of devouring an entire carcass over a relatively short period of time, Komodo Dragons have been causing havoc upon other creatures in their native habitat for millennia.
4. Carpet Viper
Native to the dry regions of Africa, the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the Carpet Viper belongs to the Echis genus of venomous vipers. Accounting for a considerable percentage of yearly snake bite deaths, this creature is formidable world-over. Possessing a characteristic ‘sizzle’ threat display, created by rubbing sections of its body together, Carpet Vipers are known to attack humans regularly. It’s venom consists primarily of haemotoxin, and as a result the effects enacted on victims of its bite usually entail the destruction of red blood cells, clotting, organ failure and tissue damage. Despite being commonly smaller than most other deadly snakes, the Carpet Viper is nonetheless fearsome and will usually move towards its aggressor when threatened, a characteristic rare amongst serpentines.
3. Wandering Spider
To put the deadly nature of this god-awful looking arachnid into some kind of perspective, the Wandering Spider has a reserve of venom twice as potent as that of a Black Widow. Whilst far less known than the Widow; the Wandering Spider is the undisputed champion of eight legged death regardless. Indigenous to South America, the spider takes its name from its fondness of surprising (and simultaneously scaring to death) human beings by turning up in completely unexpected places. It’s venom is a precise mix of neurotoxin and serotonin, and whilst the former causes your bodily functions to shut down at a dramatic pace, the other overloads your brain and causes ridiculous amounts of pain all over your body. On top of being the deadliest spider on Earth, at least in terms of poisonous capability, the Wandering Spider is also regarded as the most henceforth and aggressive. Oh, great.
The Mosquito is a breed of small fly, or Culicidae. Whilst some species of Mosquito are pretty much harmless, there are those capable of causing a lot of trouble to human beings. Due to their parasitic nature, particularly in relation to their habitual consumption of blood, Mosquitos have made quite a name for themselves in the spreading of troublesome illnesses and conditions, in particular malaris. Feasting on the blood of all manner of creature, in particular mammal livestock and human beings, they have become increasingly susceptible to the claim that they are indeed the most dangerous living creatures on the planet. This is most likely due to their covert nature and mass numbers.
1. Blue Ringed Octopus
A return to the warm inviting waters of the Indo-Pacific see’s us examine today’s top-spot creature, the Blue Ringed Octopus. Though small in size and seemingly attractive (what with its bright blue rings…), this creature packs enough punch to wipe out between 20 and 30 people IN ONE GO. With a sharp beak capable of piercing a wetsuit, the venom possessed by the Blue Ringed Octopus acts to completely paralyse its victim, and can be administered rather easily. With anywhere between 50 and 60 vivid blue rings covering its dorsal and lateral surfaces, this really is a fascinating creature.