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They don't look as scary as a snake or a bear, but these animals are surprisingly deadly  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

Big snakes, scary alligators, wild bears – they all grab our attention for their dangerous appearance. But some of America's most deadly creatures are unexpectedly less terrifying.

These creatures are much more common than the animals traditionally thought of as dangerous. But their prevalence is part of why the following animals kill so many people.

Whether they typically kill through accidents, attacks or allergies, the following five animals deserve just as much attention and caution as some "scarier" critters:

They don't make the list because they attack – deer are dangerous to humans primarily because of vehicle crashes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 211 people died in 2017 after their vehicle collided with an animal. Previous data suggests that about three-quarters of those crashes were likely caused by deer, the organization reported in December 2018.

One reason deer are so dangerous to drivers: "They are kind of oblivious," Emily Flinn, a research scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, told the Springfield News-Leader in 2015. That's especially true during mating season, when the males in particular are more focused on reproducing than safety, the paper reported.

More than a third of U.S. households include at least one dog, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. And while it might be unsettling to think of man's best friend as a danger, dog bites are a legitimate health risk, according to the CDC. 

Dogs were responsible for more than a million emergency room visits between 2010 and 2014, a December 2018 study published by Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open found. In that analysis, 6.1 deaths occurred for every 10,000 dog bites.

That's not to say dogs are inherently dangerous and should be avoided – the CDC has a number of tips to stay safe. Especially important: Don't let small kids play unsupervised with any dog and be extra cautious around unfamiliar dogs

Many studies on animal-related deaths have found that farm animals are responsible for a large portion of fatalities. 

When looking at work-related animal deaths, a 2001 study from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services researches found that cattle and horses were responsible for well over half of 350 fatalities between 1992-1997. 

Those deaths were caused by a wide variety of incidents – falling off the animal and being trampled were two of the ways that a horse, mule or cattle death occurred, the study found.

Bees aren't as innocent as some of the other animals on this list, but they may be underestimated.

Bees rank highly across animal-related death research, prompting an Indiana University professor to label them "America’s most lethal animal" in 2015.

"Yet among nonhuman animals, the creatures that cause more American deaths than any other are bees and wasps. In a typical year, nearly 100 American deaths are caused by bee stings," Richard Gunderman wrote.

That number is likely an underestimate, he said, claiming many bee-related deaths are often misattributed to other health conditions, like a heart attack or sun stroke. 

While a typical sting is unlikely to cause serious harm to many people, about 2 million Americans are allergic to the venom of stinging bugs, including bees, according to WebMD – that allergy can prove deadly in some cases. 

Just because the small, creepy-crawly insect or spider isn't venomous doesn't necessarily mean it can't kill you. A 2015 Washington Post analysis found that "Non-venomous arthropods" – including insects like ants – kill nine people each year. To put that number in perspective, the same analysis found that sharks kill about one person per year.

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