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Deadliest Animals in the USA by Death Toll

Close up of curious white cow in bunch of cows. Image via depositphotos.

Getting up close and personal to wildlife is an incredible experience, but getting too close can be dangerous. This list of animals that cause the most amounts of deaths in the U.S. is your daily reminder to keep a respectful distance from nature’s creatures.

#1 White-tailed Deer

Baby Mule Deer
Baby Mule Deer. Image by Schlag via Depositphotos

You probably didn’t expect bambi to be at the top of this list, but these creatures are not only one of the cutest animals, they’re also one of the also one of the “deadliest.” Not directly through attacks, but deer are responsible for the most wildlife-related deaths in the U.S. due to vehicle collisions. It’s estimated that deer cause over 200 fatalities annually through car accidents.

#2 Domestic Dog

Chihuahua puppy.
Chihuahua puppy. Image by FotoJagodka via Depositphotos

Dogs are responsible for an estimated 30 to 50 deaths annually in the U.S. through attacks. The fatalities can occur across various breeds, with incidents often involving children or the elderly. This frightening number highlights how crucial responsible dog ownership is and the importance of proper socialization of doggos, especially in breeds known to have an aggressive streak.

#3 Africanized Honey Bee

Africanized honey bees
Image by jamesgroup via Depositphotos

Despite their tiny size, Africanized Bees cause an alarming amount of fatalities. Known as “killer bees,” these insects are more aggressive than other bee species and contribute to the average of 62 deaths annually from bee, wasp, and hornet stings in the U.S., often due to allergic reactions. In other words, danger isn’t necessarily correlated to an animal’s size.

#4 Cows

Cow looking at the camera. Image by Claudio Schwarz via Unsplash.

Cows are adorable farm animals – how can we not associate them with the picturesque view of them grazing in a vast meadow? Despite this peaceful reputation, the truth is that cattle kill more people in the U.S. than sharks and bears combined! Bulls, particularly in agricultural settings, can be highly dangerous. On average, cows or other cattle cause about 20 deaths per year, usually through stomping accidents.

#5 Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake
Head of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus). Image via Depositphotos

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is the largest kind of rattlesnake, and also the most venomous snake in the U.S. This venomous snake is responsible for the highest number of snakebite fatalities in the U.S. Luckily, deaths from snakebites are rare, thanks to effective medical treatment, but you should be extremely cautious in areas where they can be found.

#6 American Bison

Bison, often called buffalo, are the largest land mammals in North America. Image created by Amy King using Midjourney

Bison, particularly in national parks where they are often encountered by tourists, can be dangerous. While fatalities are extremely rare, there have been instances where bison have charged and injured or killed people who ventured too close. That being said, it should be underlined that such fatalities typically occur when people don’t follow guidelines of keeping their distance.

#7 Western Black Widow

black widow bite
Black Widow spider outdoors on a web. Image via Depositphotos

This spider is responsible for the majority of serious spider bite cases in the U.S. Fatalities are very rare due to effective antivenoms, but its venom is dangerous, especially to vulnerable individuals.

#8 Grizzly Bear

Grizzly bear. Image by Simon Hurry via Pexels.

Grizzly bear attacks are rare but can be fatal. In the U.S., particularly in Alaska and parts of the Rocky Mountains, there are a few fatalities each decade resulting from grizzly bear encounters. Remember that the majority of bear attacks are defensive, occurring when a bear feels threatened, especially if cubs are present.

#9 American Alligator

By Gareth Rasberry – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Fatal alligator attacks are rare in the U.S., but they do occur, with a small number of deaths attributed to alligator attacks over recent decades, primarily in the southeastern United States. These incidents often involve alligators that have become accustomed to human presence, sometimes due to being fed, which leads them to associate humans with food.

#10 Mountain Lion

mountain lion
Image by marcelo recabal via Pixabay

Also known as cougars or pumas, mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare, with fewer than a dozen fatalities in North America over the last 100 years.

#11 Great White Shark

Great White Shark
Great White Shark with mouth open. Image via Depositphotos

Shark attacks are rare, and fatal attacks are even rarer. The Great White Shark, though not common in U.S. waters, is responsible for the majority of shark attack fatalities worldwide, with shark-related fatalities in the U.S. averaging less than one per year.

Wrapping Up

Alligator. Image via Depositphotos.

In the grand scheme of things, the amounts of deaths caused by these animals are quite small. Nevertheless, it does teach us a vital lesson about staying vigilant and above all to respect your local wildlife.

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