Top 10 Most Dangerous Animals in Africa
Africa is well known for its wonderful wildlife and powerful predators, and people flock from far and wide to enjoy all that the continent has to offer. However, there’s a darker side to the safaris and river cruises. Africa is teaming with terrifying creatures that can kill, and of course, being the Archivists that we are, we need to talk about them! Before we begin our countdown of the top ten most dangerous animals in Africa, it’s worth noting that the number of fatalities attributed to each creature varies between sources, and, once again, we’ve omitted humans from our list of killers.
Due to distressingly high poaching rates and ever-dwindling numbers in the wild, the average amount of attacks from these beasts has been decreasing and is down to just two attacks per year. Even though the likelihood of encountering a rhino in the wild is slim, you better be on guard if you do. Short-sighted, bad-tempered, with the ability to run at top speeds of up to 39 miles or 64 kilometers per hour and weighing up to 5,000 pounds or roughly 2,265 kilograms, your chances of surviving an attack from these killers are improbable.
9. Black Mamba
The annual death count for Africa’s biggest venomous snake, the Black Mamba, is widely debated, but tends to be blamed for hundreds of deaths every year, with a much more conservative estimate of less than 10. Without anti-venom, a bite is 100% fatal, and this life-saving liquid is widely unavailable across Africa. So if you decide to traverse through parts of Africa, it may be a good idea to plan ahead to know where the closest anti-venom is.
Although sharks aren’t technically in Africa, they do roam its coastline. Sharks don’t tend to attack humans out of instinct, but rather out of curiosity and to see if you're edible or not. Truth be told, they don't like what we taste like, but, for the unfortunate victims, even the smallest of shark bites can become deadly, so you might not survive being an appetizer. Of the few dozen shark attacks off the coast of Africa each year, around 25% are fatal.
Charmingly known by some as ‘the widow maker’, buffalo use extremely sharp horns to gore their victims, and boast a kill-count of around 200 human deaths annually. These lumbering creatures often travel in gangs - yes, gangs.. I know the visual is great isn't it Ahh, where was I? Yea, if you see one buffalo you can bet your bottom dollar that its friends are also nearby. Our advice? Don’t antagonize the buffalo.
Known to attack whilst defending their territory or their young, getting in the way of an elephant might easily result in you being squashed like a little bug. It’s estimated that this happens to around 500 people a year worldwide, with many of those deaths occurring in Africa. In Kenya alone, roughly 200 people have been killed in the last seven years. There have also been reports of elephants planning group revenge-attacks on villages, destroying everything in their paths. Interesting note, a group of elephants is called a parade.
Lions are thought to attack around 700 people across Africa per year, and many of those attacks unsurprisingly end in death. It’s not technically in a lion’s nature to attack a human - they’re more likely to do so if they’re sick or otherwise unable to hunt their usual prey. Though, once they’ve successfully hunted a human in a certain region or community, it’s more likely that they’ll try again. So, if your neighbor was recently a lion’s main course, you're probably on the dessert menu.
Although attacks by these prehistoric-looking predators are vastly under-reported due to them often occurring in small communities, it’s thought that attacks along the River Nile are the cause of several hundred killings alone every year. With a typical bite force of 5,000psi, a crocodile’s bite is considered to be the strongest of any animal - so if you find yourself in the jaws of one of these beasts, it’s probably the last thing you’ll ever see.
Hippos may seem docile, and even approachable, but don’t be fooled; these not-so-gentle-giants are responsible for around 2,900 deaths in Africa per year. Extremely territorial by nature, they will defend their homes and their young if they feel even the slightest bit threatened. And don’t let their seemingly unfit physique lull you into a false sense of security; hippos can run at over 19 miles or 32 kilometres per hour - which is essentially the top speed of most humans.
2. Puff adder
The second deadliest animal in Africa, the puff adder, is considered by many to be Africa’s most dangerous snake, responsible for up to 32,000 deaths per year. Found mainly in central and southern Africa, Bitis arietans mostly reside in grasslands. Camouflage and steadiness are their main methods of protection, which is why most attacks are due to accidentally stumbling into their territory. With their hypodermic needle-like fangs, Puff adder snakes have been known to pierce through thick leather, and their venom can cause death in as little as 30 minutes.
They may seem like nothing more than an annoying insect to most, but they’re by far the deadliest living thing on the planet outside of man himself. Although they’re tiny, mosquitoes are responsible for killing between 600,000 and one million people each year. Of these deaths, 90% are in sub-Sahara Africa, and most of them are children under the age of five. Malaria is the main-killer virus carried by these minuscule monsters, but they also spread other fatal diseases including dengue fever and encephalitis.
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