The 10 most dangerous animals in the world

Number one is probably not what you think.
  • By: Compassion Canada

Children living in poverty face many risks, including a lack of education, nutrition and opportunities. However, especially for those living in rural areas, dangerous animals can pose a significant risk to children’s development, health and survival.

Families in extreme poverty often lack the safeguards that keep many of us safe from the world’s most dangerous animals, such as immediate access to health care and sanitation.

Can you guess what the most dangerous animal in the world is? Here’s a hint: It’s small, and it kills 14 times more people than the second most dangerous animal.


10) Lion: 250 deaths per year

A close up picture of a lion, one of the world's most dangerous animals.

The majestic African lion haunts our imagination, but deaths caused by lions are actually relatively rare, compared to the top killers.


9) Elephant: 500 deaths per year

A picture of a large elephant, one of the world's most dangerous animals.

Although herbivores, elephants will attack when aggressed or when their territory is infringed upon by humans.


9) Hippopotamus: 500 deaths per year (tied with the elephant)

A close up picture of a hippo with its mouth wide open. It's one of the world's most dangerous animals.

Hippos are famously territorial and will attack those trying to cross rivers in their domain.


8) Crocodile: 1,000 deaths per year

An alligator is half under-water. You can see its scale skin and yellow eyes. It is one of the world's most dangerous animals.

Crocodiles have one of the strongest bites on earth.


7) Ascaris roundworms: Tapeworm, roundworm and flatworm: 14,500 deaths per year total

A close-up picture of many yellow worms.

Tapeworms and roundworms are intestinal parasites that can be spread through food and water. Flatworms are spread through freshwater snails and cause 10,000 deaths per year alone.


6) Tsetse fly: 10,000 deaths per year

A close-up picture of the tsetse fly.

The tsetse fly spreads sleeping sickness which is responsible for the deaths of 10,000 people a year, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.


5) Assassin bugs: 12,000 deaths per year

A close-up picture of a bug on a green leaf. It's one of the world's most dangerous animals.

The aptly named assassin bug spreads the potentially fatal Chagas Disease, which is most common in Latin America.


4) Freshwater snails: 20,000 deaths per year

Freshwater snail underwater on a rock.

Surprisingly, freshwater snails rank because they are hosts to deadly parasites–particularly parasitic flatworms known as flukes.


3) Dog: 30,000 deaths per year

A picture of a dog surrounded by dunes and dry grass. It's black, brown and white.

Most of these deaths are from feral dogs and rabies. Many of them occur in India, where there are many stray dogs.


2) Snake: 100,000 deaths per year

A close-up of a snake on rocks. It is a light brown colour. It's one of the world's most dangerous animals.

Many of these deaths occur in South Asia and Africa and are especially common when immediate access to health care isn’t available.


1) Mosquito: 1,000,000 deaths per year

A close-up picture of a mosquito on someone's arm. It's one of the world's most dangerous animals.

By far, the biggest killer of humans is the tiny mosquito. They carry various diseases, including dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis—and malaria. Consequently, malaria accounts for at least 600,000 of these deaths each year. Tragically, the majority of these deaths are of children under the age of five.

But these deaths are preventable. With community education, medical treatment and bed nets, the number of deaths can be drastically reduced.


Want to fight the deadliest animal in the world with just $20? Give a mosquito net and help protect vulnerable children from mosquito-borne diseases.

Give a Mosquito Net

Compassion Canada is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering children to escape poverty by responding to their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.

Note: While humans are responsible for more deaths worldwide than any animal other than the mosquito, for the purposes of this article, we focused on creatures from the animal kingdom.

Source: gatesnotes,

*Updated: January 26, 2023