Image: via Gyrzzl

Tsunamis, earthquakes and other violent natural disasters can all wreak havoc and cause untold destruction – sometimes at a great cost to humanity. Thankfully, there are usually warning signs before one of these catastrophic events hits – through animal behavior, perhaps, or changes to the environment. And it’s well worth knowing what you should be looking out for even when you’re simply exploring the natural world. After all, being aware of the true meaning of those square waves may just save your life.

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40. A rapid fall in sea level can mean a tsunami is on the way


If you’re at the ocean’s edge and you see the water retreating from the beach at a faster rate than usual, it’s time to make a move. Urgently head away from the shore, as the sea’s sudden outflow is very likely a signal that a tsunami is imminent – and your survival may well depend on how quickly you react.

Image: R. A. Kearton/Getty Images

39. Surges in rivers or streams can also be a precursor to a tsunami

Usually when we think of tsunamis, we picture devastatingly tall waves crashing onto the sea shore. As it happens, though, signs of such a natural disaster can actually be seen further inland. If the water in a creek or river suddenly surges – either in the direction of the sea or away from it – this could mean that a tsunami will soon hit a nearby beach. And, once again, you should move quickly to elevated land far from the scene.

Image: Kengi/CC0 1.0

38. Strangely shaped tree? Time to flee

If you come across trees that look like the letter “J” growing on an incline, then take care, as this may indicate that the ground beneath your feet is unstable. This in turn suggests that a dangerous landslip is on the cards. And while it’s hard to predict exactly when such a calamity may occur, it’s nonetheless best to keep your wits about you.

Image: USO/Getty Images

37. Wild waves and ocean debris on the move? There may be a rip current


If you’re at the beach and you witness choppy waves forming into channels, you’d best stay out of the water – particularly if seaweed and other materials are being carried out to the horizon. Such a sight could mean that there’s a rip current strong enough to carry you far from the shore and into the middle of the ocean.

Image: Sean Skinner/Getty Images

36. If animals are coming straight at you, it could be a sign of fire

If you’re hiking through the woods and wild animals start heading towards you rather than avoiding you, it’s time to wake up. You see, most feral creatures are usually happy to give humans a wide berth. If they’re coming in your direction, by contrast, there’s every chance that they’re fleeing from a wildfire – and you’d be well advised to do the same.

Image: Peter Berglund/Getty Images

35. A sudden rising sea level may also be the prelude to a tsunami


We’ve seen that a sudden drop in sea level may mean a tsunami will soon hit the coast. But you certainly shouldn’t ignore an unexpected rise in the waters, either. Once again, you see, this phenomenon could indicate that a tsunami is coming your way, so head away from the area.

Image: David Castro/EyeEm/Getty Images

34. Bugs can warn that there’s a storm coming

Can bugs be the harbingers of doom? Well, it seems so, as some species appear to sense the imminent arrival of a storm and adjust by becoming much less active. Yes, when scientists tested true armyworm moths, cucurbit beetles and potato aphids for their reactions to severe weather, those experiments provided evidence that the phenomenon is real. So if the insects around you seem torpid, be warned – and head for shelter.

Image: Everjean

33. Hair standing on end? Move lightning fast


If you’re out and about and you notice that your hair is standing up from your scalp, stop for a second, as it may well mean that a lightning storm is on its way. And if lightning does come, stay away from trees or other tall objects and crouch down to minimize your risk of being struck. In the 30 years up to 2018, an average of 43 people were killed by lightning annually in the U.S., meaning you’d be wise not to underestimate the risk.

Image: Jeff Rotman/Getty Images

32. If sharks retreat to deeper water, you should take note

If you’re sailing and can see sharks around, keep an eye on their movements – and not only to avoid a nasty bite. After all, if those fearsome creatures suddenly turn tail and make for deeper water, they may be anticipating the arrival of a hurricane. That in turn is a sign for you to head back to harbor pronto and warn those back on shore.

Image: Nikolas Noonan

31. Cloud bands can indicate an imminent tornado


When you see clouds that have formed into strips that hang low in the sky, it’s wise to pay attention. Why? Well, this arrangement – which is known by meteorologists as inflow bands – suggests that severe weather is coming towards you. And that may even include a tornado, so either get well away from the area or take shelter.

Image: Hannes Flo

30. Stay away from green water

If you see a green covering that gives off an unsavory odor on a lake or in the sea, steer clear, as that gunk is probably an algal bloom. Algal blooms often occur when there is an excess of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, and they may just be toxic. In fact, it’s impossible to tell whether such a boost in algae is hazardous without carrying out some scientific analysis, so it’s best to simply avoid it altogether.

Image: Mark Eastment Photography/Getty Images

29. Birds take flight before a storm


We’re not talking about just any old bird fleeing when a storm threatens. No, we’re specifically referring to golden-winged warblers – and they’d be flying separately rather than in a flock. How do we know? Well, when scientists were studying these birds in the hills of Tennessee in 2013, all of the avians suddenly disappeared. And as it turned out, a storm building nearly 600 miles away seemed to be the cause of the warblers’ flight.

Image: Swaminathan

28. Beware of green skies

Blue skies, grey skies and even black skies are common enough. But green skies? Yes, they can occur, and when they do, they’re often before thunderstorms – or sometimes hailstones or even a tornado. Experts remain unsure as to the cause of this phenomenon, but the vibrant color could be caused by rays from the sun that mix with blue light from storm clouds.

Image: Joel Sharpe/Getty Images

27. Repeated wave surges suggest a tsunami is on the way


When you observe unusual and repeated wave surges crashing onto the beach, take note – whether those swells come at intervals of five minutes or 60. You see, this could mean that a tsunami is heading from the ocean towards the shore, and so it’s naturally time to evacuate to the nearest high ground you can find.

Image: Michel Griffon/CC BY-SA 3.0

26. Square waves mean danger

Square waves on the sea sound unlikely, but they really do occur when two separate wave patterns collide. It’s a fascinating sight, too, if you’re lucky enough to witness it from the shore. But don’t be tempted to get in the water. You see, these bizarre waves mean that the sea is being driven by cross-currents that pose a drowning risk even for strong swimmers.

Image: Marc Guitard/Getty Images

25. The distant roar of water should be cause for alarm


If there’s been heavy rain over a prolonged period and you hear a roaring sound in the distance, listen carefully, as you may be hearing the turbulent noise of a flash flood heading in your direction. And if that is indeed what the din appears to be, then there’s not a moment to lose. You need to move away from the scene as quickly as you can, as flash floods can be lethal.

Image: Anna Gorin/Getty Images

24. Listen to the snow to avoid an avalanche

Winter sports may be particularly fun on snowy mountains, but naturally such terrain comes with the potential risk of an avalanche. Once again, though, there are precautions that you can take. If you walk across a snow field, for example, pay attention to the noise that you hear as you step on the surface. And if those sounds from the ground have a hollow quality, then look for cracks around your footprint, as these can be signs that an avalanche is due.

Image: Justin1569/CC BY-SA 3.0

23. Take shelter if you see a funnel cloud


Conically shaped funnel clouds are typically associated with severe storms, meaning you should be careful if you spot one in the sky. And you ought to be especially worried if the cloud starts to turn on its axis, as that could herald its transformation into a tornado. Strangely, though, it’s only warm funnel clouds that are potentially hazardous; cold ones, by contrast, are harmless.

Image: Lauren “Lolly” Weinhold

22. Avoid trees with gaping holes

While the concept of killer trees sounds a bit like the premise of a ludicrous horror movie, they really can cause fatalities if they unexpectedly topple. But how can you tell if a tree may be about to collapse? Well, the answer is to look out for splits in the trunk or large patches without bark. Those signs indicate that the wood is diseased and that the tree may fall in high winds as a consequence.

Image: Sharon Mollerus

21. Leaves droop before a storm


This warning may sound like nothing more than a bit of folklore, but there’s actually scientific evidence to show that tree leaves droop and turn over in the breeze when a storm is on the horizon. You see, a sudden increase in humidity normally takes place just before extreme weather sets in, and that dampness in the air is what makes the leaves wilt.

Image: texaus1

20. Air smells different? A storm is coming

If the air suddenly has a markedly different smell, that may suggest a storm with thunder and heavy rain is on the way. Interestingly, that odor – which may remind you of chlorine – comes from the ozone that is created by the chemical reactions involved in thunderstorms. So, if you catch a whiff of such an aroma, it’s time to find shelter.

Image: David DeHetre/CC BY-SA 2.0

19. A halo around the Sun or Moon could be a bad sign down on Earth


If you see a strange circle around the Sun or the Moon, severe weather could be on its way. You see, these halo-like rings are caused by the ice crystals in particularly high cirrus clouds, with these crystals then casting off the Moon’s or the Sun’s light in a way that creates an eerie glow. Since cirrus clouds often precede severe weather, though, it could be time to dig out your waterproof protection.

Image: jasleen_kaur

18. Cracks in your house walls may mean that a sinkhole will open

Some old homes have cracks in their interior walls that have been there for years and are probably nothing to worry about. But if you spot new fissures or old ones starting to widen, then this definitely should be a cause for concern. Potentially, a sinkhole may be about to open near your house – especially if you’re in an area with plenty of limestone. So, if you’re worried about the state of your walls, call a surveyor in to have a look at your abode as soon as possible.

Image: Atmospheric Research

17. Bulges or cracks in the ground mean things aren’t sound


Look out for bulges or cracks below foot when you’re outdoors, and take note if you spot any that have recently appeared. These anomalies may appear in the sidewalk or on the road as well as on open ground, and rather worryingly they could be evidence that there’s a landslide waiting to happen nearby. Make sure that you and your loved ones are safe, then, before informing the authorities.

Image: John Finney Photography/Getty Images

16. Dark skies and high wind speeds are your cues to get to safety

It may sound obvious, but if the sky abruptly goes dark and a high wind takes hold, then a storm is coming. And, of course, the sound of distant thunder will only serve to confirm your suspicions. Remember, you can find out how close a storm is by measuring the seconds between seeing lightning and hearing a thunderclap; each five-second period represents about a mile.

Image: Christoph Kehl

15. You may be able to taste lightning


Obviously, the main danger in a thunderstorm is lightning, which can kill. Fortunately, though, there are warning signs that indicate a lightning strike is impending. For instance, you may well be able to taste what seems like metal. Your palms may become clammy, too, or you may feel pinpricks on your skin. If this happens, it’s time to get away from tall objects and head indoors.

Image: Monika Katic/EyeEm/Getty Images

14. A growing ocean swell can mean a hurricane is on the way

If the ocean swell has increased noticeably – perhaps to around 6 feet or so – a hurricane may be coming in your direction. You should know, though, that this initial swell can happen up to three days before the hurricane actually hits the coast. And as the natural disaster nears, sea waters may go on to rise to more than 15 feet.

Image: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)

13. A wall cloud may usher in a tornado


A wall cloud – sometimes called a pedestal cloud – is an intriguing and spectacular phenomenon that can extend for up to five miles. But don’t spend too long gazing up at the sky in awe, as a storm is likely coming in. And if a wall cloud starts to revolve, it really is time to get out of the way, as it means a tornado is highly likely.

Image: Michal Klajban

12. Rising or falling stream levels can signal a landslide

If you’re out in the wilderness and see a creek where the water is either quickly rising or falling, pay attention. These fluctuations are a sign that there may be a landslide on the way. And if the waters turn muddy, that’s further evidence a disaster is imminent – so move out of the area as quickly as you can.

Image: Pattys-photos

11. White clouds in a blue sky may not be as peaceful as you think


What’s happening above you in the skies can often offer clues to impending changes in the weather. And one thing to look out for is the rapid development of intensely white clouds in a clear – and often blue – sky. You see, these cumulonimbus formations could be proof that there’s a thunderstorm coming.

Image: Heroris Maulidio/500px/Getty Images

10. Earth tremors could mean that a volcano is about to blow

One of the most destructive forces in nature is a volcanic eruption, as the citizens of Pompeii found out to their cost in 79 A.D. How do you avoid the same grisly fate? Well, for starters, watch out for minor earth tremors – especially if they’re happening near an active volcano.

Image: James St. John

9. Large hailstones but no rain? A tornado could be brewing


Hailstones are usually formed in cumulonimbus clouds and can come in at as much as 6 inches wide. These solid chunks are often associated with thunder, too, and are caused by the skywards movement of air and drops in temperature that storms create. If you see hailstones but no rain, however, that’s often an indicator that a tornado is coming.

Image: Thorpeland Photography/Getty Images

8. Catfish may predict earthquakes

Earthquake prediction is a tricky business, and scientists are constantly working to improve their forecasting ability. Somewhat unusually, though, experts have even turned to animals in a bid to preempt potentially destructive earth tremors. Yes, researchers have monitored catfish in tanks to see if they react to the movement of the ground. And, rather incredibly, it turns out that the fish were more restless around 70 percent of the time when seismic activity was high.

Image: Jean-Charles Gigonnet/EyeEm/Getty Images

7. Sounds like a runaway train is approaching? That could in fact be a tornado


If you hear a loud noise approaching – perhaps one that reminds you of a speeding train or a jet taking off – then it may mean that a tornado is coming. In fact, the stronger the din, the closer the tornado is likely to be. That sound is created by the violently whirling air at the core of the weather phenomenon.

Image: Cindy Biell/EyeEm/Getty Images

6. Dogs get antsy before a storm

Interestingly, many dog owners have seen that their pets get edgy when there is a storm approaching. But how exactly can your pooch sense an approaching spell of severe weather? Well, some researchers believe that dogs can sense the plummeting atmospheric pressure that usually occurs when a storm is on its way – and without the use of a barometer.

Image: allanswart/Getty Images

5. Minor tremors may mean a major quake


Experts can monitor seismic activity with sophisticated equipment, but predicting when a large earthquake will hit is not an exact science. One warning sign to watch for, though, is a series of small-scale tremors. These may be barely perceptible or strong enough to clatter your crockery; in any case, they could be a sign that a major quake is just around the corner.

Image: William Jones-Warner/Getty Images

4. Busy bees becoming more frantic shows rain is on the way

We have China’s Jiangxi Agricultural University to thank for research that suggests bees can anticipate rainstorms. Yes, after academics at the institution monitored 300 bees for a month, they found that the insects increase their work activity the day before wet weather comes. That way, the creatures can collect enough nectar to last them through the rainy period. Talk about bee-ing clever…

Image: bones64

3. Don’t walk on gray ice


The lure of venturing onto a frozen lake or river may be practically irresistible – especially if you’ve been itching to try out a new pair of skates. Unless the ice has previously been tested by someone who knows what they’re doing, though, it’s best to avoid the temptation. And one thing you should never do is to step onto ice that has a grayish hue. If you do, you’ll be highly likely to go straight through into the freezing water below.

Image: Grigoris Siamidis/NurPhoto via Getty Images

2. Dead fish could mean a poisonous danger

If you’re on the coast of Texas, Florida or Mexico and see numbers of dead fish on the beach, watch out, as these ocean-dwellers may have been killed by what’s called a red tide. This phenomenon sees scarlet-colored algal scum floating on top of the water, and it’s caused by a toxic micro-organism called Karenia brevis. So, while swimming into a red tide isn’t typically lethal, you should still beware of doing so, as the effects could lead to unpleasant vomiting and breathing problems.

Image: plizzba

1. Fleeing toads? Take heed


Yes, it seems that the common toad may be able to predict an impending earthquake. How do we know this? Well, in 2009 a biologist was studying toads in Italy when almost all of them upped and left their normal habitat. Members of the species stopped mating, too, even though it was breeding season. Then, three days later, a serious earthquake hit the city of L’Aquila some 45 miles away. As yet, though, science has no firm explanation as to just how the creatures may have known that the natural disaster was coming.

Image: Twitter/DUPAN

As these warning signs tell us, then, the natural world can be a pretty terrifying place. And you need to have your wits about you to stay safe. But there are a host of creatures that you might want to avoid, too. From the great white shark to the humble cow, here are 40 of planet Earth’s most dangerous animals.

Image: James Gritz/Getty Images

40. Wolf (Canis iupus)


Though wolves can pose a risk, they usually avoid human contact. But starvation, confrontation or even rabies can override their innate fear of humans. Furthermore, these canines are aggressive hunters – capable of exerting a bite force of up to 1,200 pounds if they feel under threat. And in terms of risks to us, experts estimate that wolves are responsible for ten human deaths a year on average.

Image: Ian Waldie/Getty Images

39. Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

Reaching lengths of more than 20 feet and weighing up to 2,200 pounds, saltwater crocodiles are deadly survivors from a prehistoric age and they aggressively prey on humans foolish enough to wander into in their patch. Hugely fast and powerful, there is only one way to avoid attack: stay away. Far away. We hear Norway’s nice at this time of year.

Image: Gilles San Martin

38. Africanized honeybee (Apis mellifera)


Cross-breeding African and European bees created what people have since affectionately nicknamed the “killer bee.” And they’ve worked hard to live up to their reputation. These stinging machines inject a venom which can lead to a number of ailments including diarrhea, vomiting and even renal failure. In addition, they have been known to chase victims nearly half a kilometre and have killed around 1,000 humans, according to the Smithsonian Institution.

Image: yokeetod/Getty Images

37. Shocking pink dragon millipede (Desmoxytes purpurosea)

If you ever happen to visit Thailand, be on the look-out for this particular creepy crawler. Though it’s only an inch long, the shocking pink dragon millipede can certainly pack a punch. It has glands which emit an almond-like odor which actually contains potassium cyanide and can kill a human being.

Image: Anna Phillips/Getty Images

36. Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)


With 300 serrated teeth and a mouth like the gateway to hell, the great white shark was made all the more infamous by the movie Jaws. But the real-life version almost lives up to its fictional portrayal. It’s the shark species responsible for attacking the most humans to date – with 272 recorded encounters by 2012.

Image: fhm/Getty Images

35. Bulldog ant (Myrmecia pyriformis)

The bulldog ant is officially the most dangerous creature of its kind in the world, according to Guinness World Records. These ferocious little creatures sink their toothed jaws into their victims and then hold on – administering a venomous sting several times over. And their poison is powerful enough to kill a human being in only 15 minutes.

Image: Pavel Kirillov

34. Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria fera)


Brazilian wandering spiders are actually found in several Latin American countries including Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. And they are an arachnophobe’s worse nightmare: a large and fiercely territorial creature with a Greek name meaning “murderer.” Indeed, experts consider them to be among the world’s most dangerous spiders owing to their fearless nature and neurotoxic bite. Victims may face excessive pain and respiratory problems followed by death in the absence of immediate medical treatment.

Image: Tammy616/Getty Images

33. Cone snail

The cone snail is a slinking horror – creeping across the ocean floor with paralytic venom that is 1,000 times more powerful than morphine. Apparently, it hunts fish using a biological harpoon to inject its poison. Despite the relative rarity of cone snail poisoning, their toxin has claimed 27 human lives, according to Lewis Goldfrank’s book Goldfrank’s Toxicologic Emergencies.

Image: Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

32. Yellow-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis platurus)


Have you been bitten by something in the sea with no obvious side effects? Seek medical help quickly, since the yellow-bellied sea snake’s highly potent and slow-acting venom can turn into an organ-failing, muscle-destroying agent of paralysis that has been known to kill. Its bite actually contains multiple venom types – including a number of neurotoxins and isotoxins.

Image: Byrdyak/Getty Images

31. Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)

When grizzly bears get into contact with humans, they can be a real and very dangerous threat. Growing up to nearly three meters long and weighing nearly 500 pounds on average, grizzlies are unstoppable mountains of muscle. Furthermore, their bite can be more powerful than that of a tiger and their jaws have apparently been strong enough to crush human skulls in the past.

Image: Ian Waldie/Getty Images

30. Sydney funnel-web spider (Atrax robustus)


Spiders are nightmare-inducing for many people, but this one has fangs bigger than some snakes do and they are hard enough to pierce through shoes and toenails. The Sydney funnel-web spider is an eight-legged terror capable of bringing death through respiratory failure. Apparently, its neurotoxic bite has been known to have killed a child in 15 minutes.

Image: Michele D’Amico supersky77/Getty Images

29. Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)

Africa’s black mamba is apparently the second longest venomous snake species in the world. To begin with, its bite poisons victims every single time, and each attack injects around 120 milligrams of venom – when only up to 15 milligrams is needed to kill a human. And if you try to run, good luck – they are the fastest terrestrial snake in the world.

Image: Rodrigo Friscione/Getty Images

28. Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)


Move aside Jaws, there’s a new game in town. Tiger sharks are not picky eaters and will take a bite out of anything – including humans. Although it’s reckoned that they have killed fewer people than the great white, they have also attacked less of them, too.

Image: Ian Waldie/Getty Images

27. Common death adder (Acanthopis antarcticus)

With a name like this, it’s not going to be cuddly. The death adder lives up to its billing, with a paralytic bite that shuts down its victim’s breathing system if left untreated. And before the availability of a working anti-venom, around 50 percent of bite sufferers died. Oh, and it’s also the fastest-striking snake in the world.

Image: Kristian Bell/Getty Images

26. Mulga snake (Pseudechis australis)


Unlike many other snakes, which don’t tend to attack unless deliberately or unwittingly provoked, the mulga snake has been known to bite victims while they sleep. Often, it doesn’t just bite, but has a good old chew in order to inject more nerve- and muscle-dissolving venom. And to make things even worse, the wound bleeds profusely, too.

Image: s1murg/Getty Images

25. Bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

With dagger-like teeth, a quick temper, and – most importantly – its preference for shallow water, the bull shark is considered more dangerous to humans than both the tiger and great white shark. Quick to bite swimmers partly due to its keenness at swimming in shallow waters, around 30 percent of its attacks are fatal.

Image: Henning Visser/Getty Images

24. Lion (Panthera leo)


The king of the beasts is up to 500 pounds of predatory cat with teeth like daggers and eviscerating claws. To put that into perspective, they compete with crocodiles for prey – but that’s not all. They also have the occasional propensity for killing humans, and have deliberately targeted them in the past. Indeed, statistics published in Nature from Tanzania found that lions attacked 563 people over 15 years from 1990.

Image: MinoZig

23. Deathstalker scorpion (Leiurus quinquestriatus)

Scorpions have a particularly dangerous reputation, and it’s widely believed that these arachnidas are responsible for roughly 1,000 deaths each year in Mexico alone. Deathstalkers are among the most lethal of their breed – with a tiny sting which paralyzes its victims and can cause respiratory and heart failure.

Image: semet/Getty Images

22. Blue-ringed octopus (Genus hapalochlaena)


One of the deadliest creatures in the world, if you were bitten by the blue-ringed octopus you might not even notice it until the blindness, complete paralysis and respiratory failure kick in. The venom administered by its often-painless bite is so powerful that it can kill in minutes – and there’s no known anti-venom.

Image: Stephen Frink/Getty Images

21. Pufferfish (Tetraodontidae family)

They might look like amusing grumpy balloons, but the tetrodoxin venom produced by pufferfish is no laughing matter. Each one carries enough of the stuff to kill 30 people and it’s 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. Interestingly, pufferfish is actually a delicacy, but it can be a deadly one if it’s not properly prepared.

Image: BlackAperture/Getty Images

20. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus)


It’s no secret that climate change is threatening the environment of polar bears. However, studies show it’s also adversely affecting their behavior as well. The melting of the Arctic sea ice is increasingly putting these hungry beasts into contact with humans. And given that polar bears can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and potentially measure three meters, they aren’t to be scoffed at.

Image: Busakorn Pongparnit/Getty Images

19. Tiger (Panthera tigris)

Although lions are known as the king of the beasts, tigers are also a solid contender to the crown. They’re larger on average, just as deadly and their dwindling habitat again puts them into conflict with people. The Guinness World Records lists one Bengal tigress known as the Champawat Tiger as the deadliest of the species. This one animal was apparently responsible for approximately 436 fatalities before it was brought down in 1907.

Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

18. Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)


The portly hippopotamus may look cuddly, but leave your first impressions at the door. Hippos are believed to be the most dangerous land mammal in Africa, and are known to have a short fuse and a tendency to capsize boats. The animal’s combination of sheer power, unpredictability and aggression leads to an estimated 500 deaths a year, though some experts believe the number could be as high as 3000.

Image: Auscape/Getty Images

17. Box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri)

Looking as beautiful as it does alien, the box jellyfish is the world’s most venomous creature. Incredibly, it is believed to cause up to 40 deaths annually in the Philippines alone, according to the U.S. National Science Foundation. The creature’s translucent body makes it almost invisible in the water and its stinging tentacles can inject enough venom to kill you in just two minutes.

Image: Picture by Tambako the Jaguar/Getty Images

16. Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta)


Spotted hyenas are known for their laughter-like call and their propensity for scavenging. But with jaws powerful enough to crush bone and stomachs strong enough to digest it, they’re also dangerous predators. They’ve even been known to take to urban environments to prey on the homeless in places such as the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa – where up to 1,000 of them live.

Image: guenterguni/Getty Images

15. Elephants (Elephantidae)

Renowned for their intelligence and potential for empathy, elephants are beautiful creatures. But given that human habitation is overlapping with the elephants’ own and they are being increasingly poached, clashes are becoming more common. And according to National Geographic, these beasts kill around 500 people every year.

Image: MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

14. Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas)


Sailors used to fear giant squid, but the real terror of the sea is a fair bit smaller. Meet the Humboldt squid, aka the “red devil” on account of the sinister red color it flashes when it’s exited or angry. They attack prey – including humans – in packs of up to 1,200 individuals. The worst is their beak, which diver Scott Cassell told the Telegraph can “mechanically amputate your hand.”

Image: Picture by Tambako the Jaguar/Getty Images

13. Golden poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis)

Everything about the tiny golden poison dart frog screams “don’t touch me” – including its bright titular warning color. That’s good advice too, since the frog’s skin secretes a heart-restricting alkaloid toxin. In fact, its body contains enough of it to kill two African elephants, 10,000 mice or up to 20 humans.

Image: Westend61/Getty Images

12. Deer (Cervidae family)


Deer – yes, the frolicking animal popularized by Bambi – made the list of the world’s deadliest animals. But it’s not because of direct attacks or acts of aggression on their part. Instead, it is their presence near roads which leads to numerous road accidents annually. Apparently, there are some 200 deaths every year across America due to vehicle collisions with deer, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Image: ROBERT STYPPA/Getty Images

11. Coastal taipan (Oxyuranus acutellatus)

One of the deadliest snakes worldwide – thank you Australia – the coastal taipan’s venom is highly toxic. In fact, without antivenom there’s been only one known survivor, and the toxin turned the victim’s blood temporarily black. Its neurotoxic poison attacks the nervous system and prevents the body from being able to clot blood – meaning someone who is stung can die in as little as half an hour.

Image: USO/Getty Images

10. Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)


Chimps are our closest genetic relatives in the animal kingdom, but they are also much more powerful than us. They’re aggressive, smart and their different types of muscle tissues make them stronger than humans. But once more, habitat loss incites wild chimpanzees to turn on people, and a number of attacks on babies in particular have even been recorded.

Image: kristianbell/Getty Images

9. Tiger snake (Notechis scutatus)

You know a snake is going to be a bad-ass when it’s named after a ferocious giant cat. Characterized by the striped patterns on its body, the tiger snake’s neurotoxin causes numbness, sweating, paralysis, and, if it’s untreated, the venom has a 40-60 percent chance of killing you.

Image: Kagenmi/Getty Images

8. Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia)


Asian giant hornets are fierce, ill-tempered and indiscriminate in their attacks. Their potent two-inch stingers inject a necrotising venom that can destroy cell tissue and even haemorrhage skin. Victims then face the threat of multiple organ failure. It’s no surprise, then, that Asian giant hornets kill 40 people a year, according to experts.

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7. Cattle (Bos taurus)

No, you haven’t stumbled on a different list. Believe it or not, cattle are one of the deadliest creatures in the world. It’s not surprising when you think about it; a small cow breed can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds. Incredibly, they are the most dangerous animal in Britain and for the 15 years from 2000 they killed 74 people, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

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6. Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)


There’s no doubt that dogs have earned their title of man’s best friend since their early domestication. They’re loyal and unconditionally loving companions to many of us, but everyone gets ill sometimes. And while aggressive encounters don’t often end fatally, dogs sick from rabies claim up to 35,000 lives annually through disease transference, according to Business Insider.

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5. Tsetse fly (genus Glossina)

Incredibly, one of the most dangerous creatures in the world is no bigger than a common housefly. Africa’s tsetse fly is a blood-sucking insect that presents a real danger via the parasites which they carry. To be more specific, they transmit trypanosomes which cause a condition called sleeping sickness. This ailment attacks the brain along with the nervous system and can lead to lethargy and death if it goes untreated.

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4. Tapeworm (Cestoda)


The idea of having another creature invade your body is terrifying – but that’s exactly what tapeworms do. These parasites can be found in meat that is either undercooked or prepared in a dirty environment. And the danger they pose is real; these parasitic worms cause the deaths of around 2,000 people per year, according to CNET.

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3. Freshwater Snail (Gastropoda)

One of the most unassuming killers on this list, the common freshwater snail is host to a horrifying surprise. These gastropods spread disease by releasing parasites into fresh water and can cause a condition known as schistosomiasis. This can lead to infected intestines, pain in the abdomen and, if humans have been infected for a while, bladder cancer or kidney failure. Apparently, up to 200,000 people die from the illness each year.

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2. Kissing bug (Rhodnius)


The kissing bug’s amorous name actually comes from its penchant of biting snoozing people on the lips. The potentially deadly result, a parasitic disease called Changas, kills 10,000 people annually and led to its other nickname: the assassin bug. Some victims experience mild symptoms, but others suffer heart failure up to 30 years after the initial infection.

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1. Mosquito (Culicidae family)

Yes, the common mosquito is the world’s deadliest insect. The creature’s penchant for bloodsucking makes it a conduit for all kinds of illnesses. A particular threat is malaria, and the mosquito is apparently responsible for around one million deaths a year just through transmitting this one illness.