9 most Deadliest Mammals In The World

Mammals are the soft, cuddly creatures of the animal
kingdom. Often, mammals are the animals people are
most familiar with. They are employed as working
animals in the fields, as guards and companions in
homes, and their visages inspire the stuffed animals on
the beds and in the arms of young children. Some
mammals, however, can kill.
The reality is that most of the world’s roughly 5,000
mammals are smaller than people. They would just as
soon run away and hide rather than attack a human
being. Yet lions, tigers, bears, and others are known for
being ferocious and vicious, especially when hungry or
provoked. These and other mammals are featured in
fairytales and children’s stories that emphasize the
violence they are capable of.
But what about the others, the “domesticated” and
“tame” ones? Are they capable of horrific violence as
well? The answers may surprise you.

Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris )

For more than 12,000 years it has lived with humans as a
hunting companion, protector, object of scorn or
adoration, and friend. The dog evolved from the gray
wolf into more than 400 distinct breeds. Human beings
have played a major role in creating dogs that fulfill
distinct societal needs. Dogs are regarded differently in
different parts of the world. Characteristics of loyalty,
friendship, protectiveness, and affection have earned
dogs an important position in Western society, and in
the United States and Europe the care and feeding of
dogs has become a multibillion-dollar business. Western
civilization has given the relationship between human
and dog great importance, but, in some of the
developing nations and in many areas of Asia, dogs are
not held in the same esteem. In some areas of the world,
dogs are used as guards or beasts of burden or even for
food, whereas in the United States and Europe dogs are
protected and admired. In ancient Egypt during the days
of the pharaohs, dogs were considered to be sacred.
Despite the close association between dogs and
humans, dog attacks on humans are fairly common.
Between 1982 and 2013, some 466 people were killed by
dogs in Canada and the United States. Over the same
period, there were more than 4,100 dog attacks in the
region, which resulted in more than 2,400 cases of


A forest deer

8Lions (Panthera leo)

Lions prey on a large variety of animals ranging in size
from rodents and baboons to water buffalo and
hippopotamuses, but they predominantly hunt medium-
to large-sized hoofed animals such as wildebeests,
zebras, and antelopes. Prey preferences vary
geographically as well as between neighboring prides.
Lions are known to take elephants and giraffes, but only
if the individual is young or especially sick. They readily
eat any meat they can find, including carrion and fresh
kills that they scavenge or forcefully steal from hyenas,
cheetahs, or wild dogs. Lionesses living in open savanna
do most of the hunting, whereas males typically
appropriate their meals from the female’s kills. However,
male lions are also adept hunters, and in some areas
they hunt frequently. Pride males in scrub or wooded
habitat spend less time with the females and hunt most
of their own meals. Nomadic males must always secure
their own food.
Though a group of hunting lions is potentially nature’s
most formidable predatory force on land, a high
proportion of their hunts fail. The cats pay no attention
to the wind’s direction (which can carry their scent to
their prey), and they tire after running short distances.
Typically, they stalk prey from nearby cover and then
burst forth to run it down in a short, rapid rush. After
leaping on the prey, the lion lunges at its neck and bites
until the animal has been strangled. Other members of
the pride quickly crowd around to feed on the kill,
usually fighting for access. Hunts are sometimes
conducted in groups, with members of a pride encircling
a herd or approaching it from opposite directions, then
closing in for a kill in the resulting panic. The cats
typically gorge themselves and then rest for several
days in its vicinity. An adult male can consume more
than 34 kg (75 pounds) of meat at a single meal and rest
for a week before resuming the hunt. If prey is abundant,
both sexes typically spend 21 to 22 hours a day resting,
sleeping, or sitting, and hunt for only 2 or 3 hours a day.
Nature reported that 871 people in Tanzania were
attacked by lions between 1990 and 2005. One of the
most frightening series of attacks took place Kenya in
1898 in which two lions killed dozens of railway workers
before the pair were shot. Between 1932 and 1947,
perhaps as many as 1,500 people were killed by an
aggressive pride of lions near the town of Njombe,
Tanzania. Today, lions kill approximately 100 people per
year in Tanzania.

7Bears (Family Ursidae)

Although clumsy in appearance, bears can move
surprisingly fast, even through dense cover that would
seriously impede a human or a horse. Their senses of
sight and hearing, however, are poorly developed, and
most hunting is done by smell. Some, such as black and
spectacled bears, are strong climbers, and all are strong
swimmers, most notably the polar bear. Bears do not
generally communicate by sound and usually are quiet,
but they do growl at times when feeding, when being
challenged by another bear or by humans, and when
competing for mates.
Except for the carnivorous polar bear and the vegetarian
giant panda, bears are omnivorous, consuming many
items that may seem small for an animal of such large
size. Ants, bees, seeds of trees, roots, nuts, berries,
insect larvae such as grubs, and even the dainty
dogtooth violet are eaten. Many bears relish honey, and
the sun bear is sometimes called the “honey bear”
because of this. Prey taken by bears includes rodents,
fish, deer, pigs, and seals. Grizzlies (North American
subspecies of the brown bear, Ursus arctos ) are known
for their skillful fishing during the spawning runs of
salmon. The polar bear’s diet is dictated by the Arctic
environment, as little vegetation grows within its range.
The Asian sloth bear ( Melursus ursinus) delights
especially in raiding and destroying termite nests,
sucking up termites and larvae with its funnel-like lips.
The giant panda has a special bone formation of the
forefoot that functions as a sixth digit; it is opposable to
the other five and thus is useful in handling bamboo.
If captured when young, bears can be tamed quite easily
and are commonly used in circus animal acts. This has
often caused people to consider bears as tame and
harmless rather than as potentially dangerous creatures
deserving wariness and respect. This mistake has
frequently resulted in tragedy for both humans and
bears. Grizzly and polar bears are the most dangerous,
but Eurasian brown bears and American black bears
have also been known to attack humans. Some species
depredate livestock on occasion, and some bears, such
as Asiatic and American black bears, may destroy fruit
or other crops, especially corn.

6Hippopotamuses ( Hippopotamus amphibius)

Hippopotamus is Greek for “river horse,” and the animal
has been known since ancient times. Hippopotamuses
are often seen basking on the banks or sleeping in the
waters of rivers, lakes, and swamps next to grasslands.
The hippopotamus has a bulky body on stumpy legs, an
enormous head, a short tail, and four toes on each foot.
Each toe has a nail-like hoof.
Hippos are well adapted to aquatic life. The ears, eyes,
and nostrils are located high on the head so that the
rest of the body may remain submerged. The ears and
nostrils can be folded shut to keep out water. The body
is so dense that they can walk underwater, where they
can hold their breath for five minutes. Although often
seen basking in the sun, hippos lose water rapidly
through the skin and become dehydrated without
periodic dips. They must also retreat to the water to
keep cool, for they do not sweat. Numerous skin glands
release a pinkish “lotion,” which led to the ancient myth
that hippos sweat blood; this pigment actually acts as a
sunblock, filtering out ultraviolet radiation.
Accounts recording the number of human deaths per
year by hippo attack range from about 500 to about
3,000. It is thought that hippo attacks on small boats are
antipredator behavior, with the hippos mistaking them
for crocodiles. As a result, hippos have long had a
largely undeserved reputation as aggressive animals.
Cows live in “schools,” but they are not permanently
associated with other cows, though sometimes they
maintain bonds with offspring for some years. Longevity
is up to 49 years in captivity but rarely more than 40 in
the wild.

5Tigers (Panthera tigris)

The tiger is the largest member of the cat family
(Felidae), rivaled only by the lion ( Panthera leo ) in
strength and ferocity. Ranging from the Russian Far East
through parts of North Korea, China, India, and
Southeast Asia to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, all
six remaining subspecies are endangered. The Siberian,
or Amur, tiger ( P. tigris altaica) is the largest, measuring
up to 4 meters (13 feet) in total length and weighing up
to 300 kg (660 pounds). The Indian, or Bengal, tiger ( P.
tigris tigris) is the most numerous and accounts for about
half of the total tiger population.
Next to the elephant and the lion, no wild animal is so
frequently portrayed in Asian art and lore. The persistent
practices of using tiger parts as talismans, tonics, or
medicine, despite all scientific evidence contrary to their
efficacy, are manifestations of beliefs that emanate from
the aura of the tiger and the awe that it has inspired for
millennia. Certain animist communities still worship the
tiger. Every 12th year of the Chinese calendar is the year
of the tiger, and children born in it are considered
especially lucky and powerful. In Hindu mythology the
tiger is the vahana (“vehicle”) of the goddess Durga.
Tigers are represented on seals from the ancient Indus
civilization. The greatest of the Gupta emperors of
ancient India, Samudra, minted special gold coins
depicting him slaying tigers. Tippu Sultan even vented
his frustration at his inability to defeat the British by
ordering a special life-size toy, replete with sound, of a
tiger mauling a British soldier.
In India, tigers have a history of attacking human
visitors to zoos who either enter or place their hands
into tiger enclosures. Tigers are also known to attack
people in the wild, especially in the Sundarbans, a
region of forests and swampland straddling the border
between India and Bangladesh. By some accounts, 50 to
250 people per year are killed in the Sundarbans by

4Horses ( Equus caballus )

The relationship of the horse to humans has been
unique. The horse is a partner and friend. It has plowed
fields and brought in the harvest, hauled goods and
conveyed passengers, followed game and tracked cattle,
and carried combatants into battle and adventurers to
unknown lands. It has provided recreation in the form of
jousts, tournaments, carousels, and the sport of riding.
The influence of the horse is expressed in the English
language in such terms as chivalry and cavalier (coming
from the Latin caballarius , “horseman”), which connote
honor, respect, good manners, and straightforwardness.
The horse is the “proudest conquest of Man,” according
to the French zoologist Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de
Buffon. Its place was at its master’s side in the graves of
the Scythian kings or in the tombs of the pharaohs.
Many early human cultures were centered on possession
of the horse. Superstition read meaning into the colors
of the horse, and a horse’s head suspended near a grave
or sanctuary or on the gables of a house conferred
supernatural powers on the place. Greek mythology
created the centaur, the most obvious symbol of the
oneness of horse and rider. White stallions were the
supreme sacrifice to the gods, and the Greek general
Xenophon recorded that “gods and heroes are depicted
on well-trained horses.”
Despite being held in such high esteem, horses kill
roughly 100 people in the United States each year in
riding accidents and other equestrian-related activities.
Matched against horse ridership (some 7 million or so),
the risk of death is very small, however.

3Deer (Order Artiodactyla)

Worldwide, deer make up any of 43 species of hoofed
ruminants in the order Artiodactyla, notable for having
two large and two small hooves on each foot and also
for having antlers in the males of most species and in
the females of one species. Deer are native to all
continents except Australia and Antarctica, and many
species have been widely introduced beyond their
original habitats as game animals. One species, the
reindeer (also known as the caribou), has been
domesticated. Some swamp and island species are
endangered, but most continental species are flourishing
under protection and good management. Deer, when
granted some protection, readily exploit man-made
disturbances caused by agriculture, forestry, and
urbanization. White-tailed deer, normally a cherished
North American game animal, have even become pests in
suburbs and cities in the United States and Canada.
Still, deer are common residents in urban and suburban
landscapes, and unwary deer frequently cause
automobile accidents on roads. According to one major
insurance provider, hundreds of thousands of deer-
vehicle accidents happen in the United States each year,
resulting in millions of dollars of damage to cars and
trucks and about 200 deaths.

2Elephants (Family Elephantidae)

Elephants are the largest living land animals. They are
known by their long trunk (elongated upper lip and
nose), columnar legs, and huge heads with temporal
glands and wide, flat ears. Elephants are grayish to
brown in color, and their body hair is sparse and coarse.
They are found most often in savannas, grasslands, and
forests but occupy a wide range of habitats, including
deserts, swamps, and highlands in tropical and
subtropical regions of Africa and Asia. The three living
species of elephants are related to prehistoric woolly
mammoths and mastodons. The African savanna, or
bush, elephant ( Loxodonta africana ) weighs up to 8,000
kg (9 tons) and stands 3 to 4 meters (10 to 13 feet) at
the shoulder. The African forest elephant (Loxodonta
cyclotis ), which lives in rainforests, was recognized as a
separate species in 2000 and is smaller than the savanna
elephant. It has slender, downward-pointing tusks. The
common belief that there existed “pygmy” and “water”
elephants has no basis; they are probably varieties of
the African forest elephants. The Asian elephant (Elephas
maximus) weighs about 5,500 kg and has a shoulder
height of up to 3.5 meters.
For many centuries the Asian elephant has been
important as a ceremonial and draft animal. Technically,
elephants have not been domesticated, for they have not
been subjected to selective breeding for “improvement”
of traits desired by humans, as has been the practice
with cattle, horses, and dogs. Historical records of
tamed Asian elephants date to the Indus civilization. At
Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, Pakistan, soapstone
carvings depict elephants with cloth on their backs,
which indicates use by humans. Mahouts and oozies
(elephant trainers in India and Myanmar, respectively)
are skilled people who remain in direct contact with the
animals for many years. The handlers take care of all the
elephants’ needs, and the bond between man and beast
becomes very strong. Hastividyarama, an age-old
handbook for elephant tamers, spells out prescribed
training procedures in detail and is still used today in
some parts of Asia. Commanded by its mahout, the
elephant was once basic to Southeast Asian logging
operations. It remains a symbol of power and pageantry
but has been largely supplanted by machinery. At the
beginning of the 21st century, Thailand and Myanmar
each had about 5,000 captive elephants employed in
traditional roles intermingled with modern use as tourist
Human deaths due to elephants range from about 100 to
more than 500 per year. Elephants have been known to
raid villages or croplands in South Asia, and sometimes
gore or step on humans that get in the way. Their sheer
size and weight is enough to deliver a lethal blow from
one strike.

1Human beings (Homo sapiens )

Human beings are culture-bearing primates that are both
anatomically similar and closely related to the other
great apes. They are distinguished from other great apes
by a more highly developed brain and a resultant
capacity for articulate speech and abstract reasoning. In
addition, human beings display a marked erectness of
body carriage that frees the hands for use as
manipulative members. Some of these characteristics,
however, are not entirely unique to humans. The gap in
cognition, as in anatomy, between humans and the other
great apes (orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees) is
much less than was once thought, as these primates
have been shown to possess a variety of advanced
cognitive abilities formerly believed to be restricted to
One thing that cannot be argued is that human beings
are the world’s most efficient killers of other humans.
Globally, an estimated 56 million people die per year
when all causes of death are considered. Roughly
526,000 people are killed by armed violence. Roughly
75% of these deaths are classified as intentional
homicides. In addition, some 54,000 humans succumb to
unintentional violent deaths, and 55,000 people die per
year as a result of war and


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