11 Animals More Likely to Kill You Than Sharks

Don't be so scared of this guy; it's the other animals in this roundup you should be worried about. bryan scott photography/Flickr

Sharks are kinda scary. In the water they're faster than us, can appear from what seems like out of nowhere in an instant, and pack a solid bite. It's easy to get nervous when you're in the dark ocean and unsure what's swimming by with a toothy grin. But sharks aren't the animals you should be most afraid of — in fact, when you compare the number of deaths from sharks to an array of other animals, it's clear there are many other animals more likely to cause your demise.

Mosquitoes

Mosquito silhouette on human skin at sunset
Mosquitoes' saliva makes it easier for them to get to our blood and it makes us itch. mycteria/Shutterstock

655,000 people killed each year, primarily in Africa, through the little buggers spreading malaria left and right.

Hippos

hippo in water with mouth open
The hippo has an impressive set of teeth. Karel Bartik/Shutterstock

2,900 people are killed by these moody mammals annually in Africa. That roly-poly exterior is just to lure you in.

Deer

deer in road
Deer can dart across the road quickly. Tom Reichner/Shutterstock

130 people killed across the U.S. by deer, almost exclusively because drivers hit the deers with their cars. That saying "a deer in the headlights" came about for a reason.

Bees

bee on clover
Bees have far more important work to do than to sting you. Tambako the Jaguar/flickr

478 people between 2008 and 2015 in the U.S. because of an allergic reaction from being stung by either bees, wasps or hornets.

Dogs

dog growling
You might not want to pet every dog you meet. Verkhovynets Taras/Shutterstock

272 people were killed between 2008 and 2015 in the U.S. (Fido isn't always your best friend.)

Ants

closeup of red ant on leaf
Small but mighty, ants can pack a dangerous bite. skynetphoto/Shutterstock

20-50 people are killed each year in Africa from ants. They may be small but dozens, hundreds, even thousands of stinging ants can add up.

Jellyfish

jellyfish
Not all jellyfish are dangerous to humans, but some have incredibly potent venom. Baishev/Shutterstock

20-40 people per year die in the Philippines alone from anaphylaxis caused by the stings.

Cows

two cows
You may just want to admire cows from the other side of the fence. thka/Shutterstock

22 people are killed in the U.S. every year from these seemingly docile creatures. They're fun to pet, but getting kicked in the head by one ... not as fun.

Horses

horse kicking
Hanging out with a horse? Stay away from those back legs...and those teeth. Rita Kochmarjova/Shutterstock

20 people die each year thanks to our equine friends. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 72 people die every year from "other manmals" — that includes horses, cattle and pigs.

Spiders

black widow spider
Spiders can be deadly, particularly the black widow spider. Sari ONeal/Shutterstock

6 people die in the U.S. every year from spider bites.

Snakes

rattlesnake
If you see a rattlesnake when hiking or camping, obviously leave it alone. Brent Myers/flickr

6 people die from venomous snake bites each year in the U.S., which isn't a whole lot considering what a common sight they are in popular hiking and camping areas.

Sharks

shark swimming
Sharks have a lethal reputation, but are responsible for fewer deaths than you think. Allan Lee/flickr

<1 person is killed each year in the U.S. and fewer than six worldwide are killed by sharks. From 2006 to 2010, there were just three fatalities from shark attacks in the U.S.

Granted if you're swimming with bull sharks, you're more likely to die by shark attack at that moment than a cow. But most of us aren't in the water with sharks as often as we find ourselves next to a cow on a visit to a farm or at a petting zoo. And we certainly are around bees and ants a whole lot more often than sharks. But if you find yourself swimming in the ocean — or even some rivers — you're probably nearer to sharks than you realize. With millions upon millions of beach-goers and surfers taking to the water every day, only a small handful are ever bitten or killed by sharks. So if you find yourself harboring feelings of fear or even hatred of sharks, you might want to take a step back and gain a little perspective. They aren't nearly as deadly as you might think.