Deadliest Animals in US May Shock You

Animals like cows, horses killed 576 people from 2008 to 2015
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2018 2:04 PM CST
Deadliest Animals in US May Shock You
The eyes of a killer.   (Getty Images/stefbennett)

In the real world, fatal animal encounters are more My Girl than Jaws. The New York Times reports researchers—in a study published in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine—found hornets, wasps, and bees killed 478 people between 2008 and 2015. That's 29.7% of the 1,610 people killed by animals during that period. It's also the reason Dr. Jared Forrester, the study's lead author, says in a press release that it's "critical" EpiPens and other epinephrine auto-injectors be affordable; their price has quadrupled in recent years. Dogs were also responsible for a high number of human deaths—272 people, including 95 children under 10—during the study period. The fatality rate in dog attacks for children under 4 was nearly quadruple that of other age groups. "It's usually family dogs or dogs known to the children who are doing the killing," Forrester tells the Times.

Surprisingly, neither dogs nor stinging insects were the deadliest group of animals in the study. That honor goes to pigs, cows, and horses. A category called "other mammals," mostly comprised of farm animals, was responsible for 576 deaths—or 36% of all animal-caused deaths between 2008 and 2015, Science Alert reports. "Preventing potentially fatal farm animal encounters should be a better promoted and supported public health initiative," Forrester says. Overall, 72% of animal victims were men, and most were between the ages of 35 and 64. Fatal animal attacks were most common in the Southeast and least common in the Northeast. Animal-caused fatalities haven't increased since the last study, but they haven't declined either. And that's concerning to researchers, who say these types of deaths should be preventable. (Read about recent animal attacks here.)

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