Top 10 Most Dangerous Animals in the United States

a shark jumping in the sea

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The earth is blessed and filled with so many amazing animals, all in different shapes and sizes. You see some with impressive abilities. Some are made of different colors. Some are so beautiful they make you want to have them as pets. And some so big they could pull two or more heavy trailers.

However, just as the United States is filled with funny and lovely creatures, so do we have an abundance of very dangerous animals. And in case you don’t know, being dangerous is not dependent on size or weight. Animals that are dangerous to humans range from tiny worms to the largest land animals.

In this article, we’ve tried to rank the most dangerous animals. So, if you’re interested in discovering the most dangerous animals in the United States, Read on for the top 10 most dangerous animals!

10. Sharks

a shark in the sea

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Although they are cast as the villain in far too many schlocky Hollywood movies, shark attacks are incredibly rare. In 2014, there were just three deaths globally related to shark attacks, and in 2013, there were six. Averagely, the United States only experiences shark attacks 16 times every year, with only one death every two years.

While 99% of beachgoers are considered safe as they swim and splash about in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, surfers and bodyboarders are at risk of sharks mistaking them for fleeing seals. Sadly, tubular aerials can sometimes come at a steep price.

9. Wolves and Coyotes

the head of a gray wolf

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Thanks to their shard-like teeth, piercing gaze and brutal nature, wolves are commonly associated with dangers. And considering that back in the 16th and 17th centuries, wolf packs within Europe posed a considerable threat to humans, with ten deaths reported in France alone during this period, it’s safe to say they might actually be one of the most dangerous animals.

But then this is no 16th or 17th century. Wolve attacks are not common in many parts of the world, the United States included. Although wolves attacks have been a little frequent in recent times, the number of death every year is between 8-10.

a brown coyote on the ground

Source by: Cityofroseville

Wolves hunt in packs over 40, and they don’t frequent overly populated locations. Still, wolves can overcome their fear of humans following a period of acclimatization – they are also more inclined to attack in large groups.

The gray wolf is the largest species within the wolf family and is found throughout North America, Alaska and Canada.

Surprisingly, Coyote with a small body size has been associated with more human fatalities over the years. California is the primary source of coyote attacks, with 160 attacks recorded across 30 years.

8. Scorpions

a scorpion

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The next on our shortlist of the most dangerous animals in the United States is the Scorpion.

A scorpion is an arachnid with a venomous sting; the weapon of choice for scorpions is its stinger on the end of its tail, used to inject venom into un-expecting enemies or predators.

More so, scorpions are also equipped with pincers, though these cannot cause significant damage to humans; it is believed that the smaller the pincers, the stronger the venom, so watch out for tiny claws in the summer.

Of all scorpion species in the United States, the Arizona Bark Scorpion has established itself as the most potent. The Arizona Bark carries a potentially lethal sting; in the 1980s, there were over 800 deaths reported in Mexico as a direct result of the Bark scorpion. Quite, deadly.

7. Bears

a roaring bear on the ground

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Unlike the cute and cuddly representation bears get in contemporary pop culture, bears have been firmly established as one of the most dangerous animals in the USA and the world at large. Let’s talk more about it.

There are three species of bears in the United States; Black, Grizzly, and Polar bears. The Black bears are the least dangerous of the three. They aren’t aggressive if you stay on your lane and stand your ground. In fact, if you run into one, you could easily scare it off by yelling aloud and waving your hands. Doing that makes the bear thinks you’re bigger and a real threat.

several bears is catching fishes

Source by: Smithsonianmag

However, if the bear does charge you, attempting to escape into a tree is a very wrong decision. Black bears are savvy climbers and have no problem knocking you to the ground. So, what should you do? Pray to whatever deity you believe in, maybe.

Now to the most dangerous and terrifying species of bears, the Grizzly and Polar bears. Campers and hikers should be very wary of these two species as they are very deadly. If you’re ever unlucky to run into one of these destructive beasts, just pray to your preferred deity and hope for some miracle. But whatever you do, running is not an option. In fact, it’s the worst option. Both species will see you as prey if you try to run to safety.

a grizzly bear in the grass

Source by: Wikipedia

For Grizzly bears, you might want to stand your ground and then slowly back away. If it begins to charge, hit the dirt, curl into a ball, and play dead. Be sure to cover your head with your hands and arms for protection. Sounds good on paper, yeah?

Conversely, bumping into a Polar bear means you are in for a fight. Running or playing dead doesn’t work with these aggressive one-ton killers. In fact, playing dead simply helps them finish the job.

a baby polar bear and a parent polar bear in the snow

Source by: Nationalgeographic

Polar bears just want to eat. No matter its size, shape, or form, a meandering human makes for a tasty snack. If the bear physically attacks you, fight back at all costs, particularly the eyes and nose. Okay, that is some scary thing to do!

However, if, by some miracle, you somehow manage to survive an encounter with a Polar bear, you should probably reconsider the life decisions you’ve made to put you in such a dangerous position.

6. Mountain Lions, Cougars, and Pumas

a brown mother cougar with her baby

Source by: Cascadiabioregion

Known as mountain lions, cougars, or pumas, these giant cats once occupied all 50 states. Due to hunting and human expansion, they can only be found in 14 western states and Florida. Thankfully, mountain lion attacks are just as rare as these cats. When attacks do occur, it’s almost always due to the cat mistaking a bicyclist, skier, or hiker for its prey of choice: deer.

Just as you would with a bear, it’s best to fight back if a mountain lion attacks you. Go for the eyes and nose since these are tender areas you can exploit. If you’re lucky, the animal will realize you aren’t its delicacy of choice and flee back to where it came from. And if you’re not, well, keep fighting, never give up.

5. Alligators/Crocodiles

two crocodilesin the water

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Boasting a toothy clamp strong enough to crush the bones of its prey, alligators use their brute force to render their prey useless before moving in for the kill. Research has revealed that the power generated by the jaws of an alligator surpasses any laboratory-measured bite of any animal. It means it has the strongest bite. They are definitely one of the most dangerous animals in the United States. 

the difference between crocodile and alligator

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Alligators, like Crocodiles, will consume anything that they come across, though they do not immediately deem humans as prey; their diet primarily comprises smaller animals that can be consumed in one bite, such as birds, fish and mammals.

Alligators do not have slicing teeth; therefore, alternative methods are adopted when eating larger prey. For instance, alligators store the carcass and allow it to rot to enable easier digestion. Additionally, the death roll is a technique often utilized by an alligator, whereby the prey is gripped, spun and shook.

With more people entering areas deemed alligator territory, this has coincided with an increase in attacks on humans.

4. Venomous Snakes

a scary brown snake on the desert

Source by: Everythingreptiles

The United States is home to several, precisely 20, species of venomous snakes. 16 belonging solely to the rattlesnake family. The remaining four species are coral, cottonmouth, and copperhead.

There are an estimated five deaths per 8000 cases of venomous bites within the United States; this number would undoubtedly increase if anti-venom medication were not readily available for US citizens.

a colorful coral snake on the ground

Source by: Houstoniamag

Of all the species, the most venomous of all snakes within North America is the coral snake, a member of the cobra family. Despite measuring a relatively modest 4ft, the coral snakes venom can cause paralysis of the respiratory system, leading to the suffocation of the victim

Unfortunately, snakebite victims often don’t know a snake has bitten them until it is too late. The best strategy is not to get bitten in the first place. But if you are bitten, you should get to an emergency room as soon as possible. Be careful with the bitten limb as movement increases blood flow and spreads the venom faster throughout your body.  It would also help if you tried to memorize the snake’s appearance if possible. This will assist attending medical staff in treating your particular bite.

3. Black Widow and Recluse Spiders

a black widow spider

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The United States is home to over 3,000 species of spiders. Out of this massive amount of spiders, only three are known to be venomous. The Recluse spider, the Hobo Spider, and the infamous Black Widow. And of the three, Black Widow is the most venomous. If not treated promptly and adequately, Black Widow and Recluse spiders can be very deadly, especially to children, the sick and elderly ones.

The good thing is that humans rarely encounter these spiders. Regardless, stay vigilant, especially with Black Widows!

These dangerous creatures tend to live closer to humans, and their bites are extremely painful and can have long-lasting consequences. Thankfully, their distinct red markings are easy to spot.

2. Hornets, Bees, Wasp

a bee is eating

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While some consider flying insects of this variety to be little more than a pest, to many people, these insects are actually potential terrors of death and destruction. Heard of Killer Bees, yeah?

In fact, hornets, wasps, and bees are easily the deadliest creature in the entire country. Without a doubt, they kill far more Americans each year than any other animal. According to the CDC reports, these flying insects caused the deaths of 1,109 people between 2000 and 2017 for an average of 62 deaths each year. Yeah, that much!!

a wasp on the wooden

Source by: Gardeningknowhow

Upon detecting danger to their hive, a threat can be chased for up to a quarter of a mile. Although the venom from an individual sting is not considered particularly potent, simultaneous stings can lead to excess swelling, pain and ultimately, death if the recipient is allergic to bee stings.

Yes, most deaths are due to allergies, but that shouldn’t water down how dangerous these animals can be. At least, no one knows they’re allergic to bee-sting until it’s too late, and their bite can be devastatingly painful, even if you’re not allergic. Hence, just avoid these winged scourges at all costs.

a hornet in the hand

Source by: Newsweek

Here are a few symptoms to look out for if you believe you are suffering an allergic reaction:

  • Red or white discoloration of the skin
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Hives on the skin
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shock

1. Dogs

a black dog

Source by: Forbes

Everyone is familiar with human’s best friends. It’s more likely you already have one in your home already.  But did you know that these humans’ cute and furry companions can be very dangerous, too?

First off, a report by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) shows that there are an estimated 5 million dog bites every year. To put that in context, that’s about a bite for every 70 Americans, which is relatively more than any other animal on this list.

the head of a black and white dog

Source by: Heritagedaily

What’s even more disturbing is that 20% of these bites are so severe that victims often require immediate medical attention afterward.

When next time you feel the need to pet a random dog on a leash, no matter how cute, remember that a full third of all dog bites potentially become infected.

So, it might be wiser to simply wave at or admire that furry pooch from afar than to risk a deadly encounter with Campylobacter infection.

Conclusion

two lions on the grass

Source by: Npr

And that’s a wrap on 10 of the most dangerous animals in the United States. It’s a long shortlist. Now you know better than to get on the wrong sides of any of the listed animals. In fact, you don’t want to encounter some at all.

However, do note that some numbers are harder to get an accurate read on than others, so these are, for the most part, rough estimates – sometimes very rough. And the list is representative of different kinds of deadly animals, but it’s by no means exhaustive.

If you’re a big fan of any of the listed animals, while we may not advice you to house any of these animals, you could get animatronic products or puppets of any of your favorite animals. They are charming and, of course, not dangerous at all.

Do you know any other dangerous animals? Tell us in the comments section!

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