While I love to write about paranormal and supernatural beings, the natural wildlife is also fascinating, and just as dangerous. Below are the Top 9 Deadliest African Animals ((non-human), based on the likelihood of surviving a hostile encounter with one. Guess which animal is responsible for the most human deaths…
9) Cape Buffalo. They’re bovines, but definitely not domesticated. Visualise a cow on steroids. These grass grazers have a quick temper with lots of muscle to back it up, and a glare that threatens a good stamping-on if you get any closer. They kill around 200 people every year by charging and goring. They’re seldom alone, and travel in large herds. Even lions are wary about taking on this big beast.
8) Puff Adder. While not the biggest or most venomous, the Puff Adder still manages to be Africa’s deadliest snake, being responsible for the most snake-related human fatalities. Its venom can kill a man with one bite. Most bites occur when a person steps on the well-camouflaged snake, so watch where you put your feet.
7) Lion. It may be called the King, but I wouldn’t start practising your bows and curtsies just yet. If you’re out on safari in one of sub-Saharan Africa’s game parks, stay in the vehicle. Seriously. While lions are fairly lazy (they lounge around for about 20 hours a day!), they can still surprise you. This is especially true if the lion is a sick, solitary male looking for an easy snack. In fact, the man-eating lions of Tsavo (the inspiration for a new book I’m writing) were two male lions, one of whom had dental problems and relied on soft, easy human meat for a significant portion of its’ diet.
6) Great White Shark. Just that name brings flashbacks of the Jaws movies, but the reality is these sharks are only responsible for about one death a year off the coast of South Africa. While I wouldn’t personally attempt to swim with sharks (some people do), I wouldn’t be overly paranoid about the possibility either. The statistics are in your favour that you’ll survive an ocean swim… probably.
5) Nile Crocodile. It looks nasty and has been around for at least 200 million years, but these lethal looking critters aren’t nearly as dangerous as some of the other beasts on this list. Although they can be found in most major rivers and many lakes in Africa, only large crocs (at least 3m, or 10 feet, long) are likely to even think of attacking humans. That said, you might still want to avoid washing clothes on the riverbank.
4) The Black Mamba. Just the name is enough to make us shiver. Ironically, this snake isn’t even black. It’s brown in colour, but Brown Mamba doesn’t sound nearly as cool. With a length of 2.5m (8ft), this is the largest venomous snake in Africa. And its bite packs a punch: one strike delivers enough neuro- and cardio-toxic venom to kill 12 men within the hour! Your chances of survival without anti-venom? About… zero.
3) Elephant. Well, what did you expect? These things are huge – 5.5 tonnes of hugeness. And when an elephant charges, everything in the way is going to get flattened, including people. However this is not a terribly common occurrence, so don’t be scared about driving through game parks. However elephants do become more aggressive when approached too closely (especially if there are baby elephants in the herd), so keep some distance. Random fact: an elephant’s trunk has more than 40,000 muscles.
2) Hippos. Yup, those fat, water horses may look peacefully playful in cartoons, but watch out, ‘cause those big babies are bad. Aggressive when defending their territory, hippos can quite easily crunch up a crocodile. After grazing on grassy slopes all night, the hippo is usually in a hurry to get into the water and will run over anyone in its way. It’s not just their big feet you want to avoid: their canines are 50 cm (20 inches) long! The hippo kills more people in Africa than any other large animal.
But the winner for the most dangerous non-human African animal goes to (drum roll please)…
1) The Mosquito. That’s right: the most dangerous African beast is a small insect. These little bloodsuckers only live about 2 weeks but they make the best of it. Mosquitos spread several diseases including malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever. Malaria alone kills over a million Africans per year.
All this just goes to show that you don’t have to be big to be lethal.
Have you ever encountered any of these Top 9 Most Dangerous? Leave a comment and let us know what happened!