The beauty of Mother Nature is unquestionable. But for every cuddly puppy and cute kitten, she created a vicious, unrelenting killing machine - with man on the menu. So which murderous critters are amongst the world's deadliest animals? Check out our countdown of the dangerous animals which kill the most humans...

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16. Sharks

World's deadliest animals - shark

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After Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws, everyone was afraid to go in the water. Petrified of being torn apart by a Great White shark. A fin appearing out the sea, rows of razor-sharp teeth, cold black eyes. Then there was that terrifying music. Der de, der de… But it turns out sharks aren’t that deadly. Attacks are rare. There is 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark. And for every person killed by Jaws, humans slaughter at least 10-million sharks.

Body count: 10 a year

15. Bees

 

World's deadliest animals - bee

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Most humble bumblebees bob around, happily making honey, pollinating flowers. But if they fear they’re in danger, a bee give you a nasty sting. It’s rarely fatal. But a bee sting has been known to cause an allergic reaction. A sufferer can go into anaphylactic shock and die.

Body count: 53 a year

14. Jellyfish

Nature's deadliest jellyfish

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The most dangerous animal in the sea isn’t a shark, but a jellyfish. Most jellyfish stings are painful but not toxic. But a box jellyfish can be lethal. Their venom leads to paralysis, which often leads to drowning.

Body count: 100 a year

 13. Lions

World's deadliest animals - lion

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The undisputed King of the Jungle. A title won for their strength, speed and hunting prowess. They don’t normally prey on humans, but if you get too close…

Body count: 100 a year

 12. Elephants

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The largest land animal at 13-feet tall and weighing in at 15,000lb. An elephant can trample to death anyone that gets in their way.

Body count: 100 a year

 11. Hippos

World's deadliest animals - hippo

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The hippopotamus is the most dangerous animal in Africa. As herbivores, hippos aren’t Hungry, Hungry for humans. But while they appear docile, they’re bad-tempered and can launch aggressive unprovoked attacks.

Body count: 500 a year

10. Crocodile

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A prehistoric throwback related to dinosaurs. Killer crocs are one of nature’s more fearsome predators with enormous jaws, sharp teeth and powerful muscles. A crocodile will ambush its unsuspecting prey at speed, dragging it underwater until it drowns or bleeds to death. They dine on fish, birds, amphibians, small mammals – and humans who’ve wandered into croc-infested waters! They’ve even been captured on film fighting lions, elephants and even a bull shark. The shark lost.

Body count: 1,000 a year

 9. Tapeworm

World's deadliest animals - tapeworm

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Thankfully deadly tapeworm infections are rare in the UK. Adult worms can grow up to 9-metres. You can become infected by eating raw contaminated meat or fish.

Body count: 2,000 a year

8. Scorpions

World's deadliest animals - scorpian

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Around 25 species of scorpion have the ability to kill a human. The deathstalker scorpion is responsible for over 75% of scorpion related deaths each year. These deadly creatures are often found in shoes or clothes. So, if you plan on visiting northern Africa or the Middle East, be sure to check your shoes.

Body count: 5,000 a year

7. Freshwater snail

World's deadliest animals - fresh water snail

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These tiny, harmless-looking parasitic snails live in rivers and lakes in the sub-tropics. They cause the infection schistosomiasis by burrowing into the skin to lay their eggs.

Body count: 10,000 a year

6. Tstse Fly

World's deadliest animals - Tstse fly

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Found in Africa, Tstse flies spread sleeping sickness. When bitten by an infected fly, a victim can experience fever, swollen lymph glands, aching muscles and joints, headaches and irritability. As the disease takes hold it causes confusion, slurred speech, seizures and difficulty walking and talking. It can eventually can cause death.

Body Count: 10,000 a year

5. Dog

World's deadliest animals - dog

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Fido may not be man’s best friend after all! But we’re not talking vicious dog attacks – more Stephen King’s Cujo. Our canine pals are responsible for the spread of one of the world’s oldest fatal diseases – rabies.

Body Count: 25,000 a year

4. Snakes

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Many of us have a secret snakes phobia. The slithering hissing, not to mention those vicious-looking fangs. And perhaps we’re right to be afraid. There are around 600 venomous snakes in the world – 200 that can be harmful, even deadly, to humans. A viper, king cobra, black mamba to name a few.

Body Count: 50,000 a year

3. Humans

World's deadliest animals - humans

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A sad but necessary addition to the list. Through crime, murder and war, humans are responsible for nearly half a million deaths of their fellow man every year. When you add on deaths caused by two world wars, the holocaust and other mass genocides, that figure skyrockets.

Body count: 475,000 a year

Total body count: Approx 160 million since 1900

2. Rats

World's deadliest animals - rats

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Throughout history there have been three recorded plague pandemics. The most famous was the second – the ‘Black Death’ of the 14th – 17th centuries in Europe. It spread at terrifying speed – by rats carrying infected fleas. An estimated 25 million Europeans died between 1347 and 1352 alone – a third of the population.

Total body count: 75 to 200 million worldwide

1. Mosquitoes

World's deadliest animals - Mosquito

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So deadly, the Nazi’s planned on using them in nuclear attacks. A tiny bite from this creature is far deadlier than a crocodile attack or lion mauling. Mosquitoes spread the tropical disease malaria. It is estimated over 200 million people suffer from malaria each year – most of them in Africa. These days better diagnosis, pesticides and medication are helping reduce the number of deaths. But some scientists have calculated that malaria could have killed 54 billion of the 96 billion people who lived before 1900. There are more than 2,500 species of mosquitoes, found in over 100 countries. During peak breeding seasons they outnumber every other animal on Earth, except termites and ants. Terrifying.

Body count: 1 million a year

Total body count: Over 54 billion

 

Which of the world’s deadliest animals are you most afraid of?