Our world is far from safe. Indeed, accord­ing to the sta­tis­tics of the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion, more than 15 mil­lion peo­ple in the world die or are injured annu­al­ly from ani­mals and plants. We have pre­pared a list of the most dan­ger­ous ani­mals on the plan­et Earth.

most dangerous animals

An encounter with an ani­mal can often be fatal to a per­son. Who is to be feared the most?

1st place: Mosquitoes

The rat­ing of dead­ly crea­tures was head­ed by mos­qui­toes.
Mos­qui­toes (lat. Phle­botom­i­nae) are a sub­fam­i­ly of long-whiskered dipter­ous insects of the gnat com­plex. They are dis­trib­uted main­ly in the trop­ics and sub­trop­ics. Includes sev­er­al gen­era, notably Phle­boto­mus and Ser­gen­to­myia in the Old World and Lut­zomyia in the New World, which include a total of over 500 species. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of these gen­era are impor­tant as car­ri­ers of human and ani­mal dis­eases, in par­tic­u­lar — leish­ma­ni­a­sis, bar­tonel­losis and pap­pat­aci fever (mos­qui­to fever).


From the dis­eases car­ried by these insects, two mil­lion peo­ple die every year.



2nd place: Indian cobra (Naja naja)

Central Asian cobra

Every year around the world there are 50,000 bites by poi­so­nous snakes with a fatal out­come for humans. Asian cobras are respon­si­ble for the largest part of them. As a rule, snakes do not attack peo­ple first and bite when they are dis­turbed. On the ter­ri­to­ry of our coun­try there are 10 species of poi­so­nous snakes. The most dan­ger­ous are the bites of the Cen­tral Asian cobra, gyurza and efa.


In India, the spec­ta­cle snake is an object of rev­er­ent rev­er­ence and even almost super­sti­tious fear. She is wor­shiped and cajoled in every way. She even became one of the hero­ines in reli­gious leg­ends: “When the Bud­dha once wan­dered the earth and fell asleep under the rays of the mid­day sun, a cobra appeared, expand­ed its shield and blocked the face of God from the sun. Sat­is­fied with this, the god promised her extra­or­di­nary mer­cy, but for­got about his promise, and the snake was forced to remind him of this, since the vul­tures made ter­ri­ble dev­as­ta­tion among them at that time. In pro­tec­tion from these birds of prey, the Bud­dha gave gog­gles to the cobra, which kites are still afraid of. ”If a res­i­dent of Mal­abar finds a poi­so­nous snake in his house, he asks her in the most friend­ly way to leave. If this does not help at all, then he holds food in front of her to lure her out. And if she doesn’t leave even then, then he calls on the ser­vants of the deity, who, of course, for an appro­pri­ate reward, make touch­ing exhor­ta­tions to the snake, speak to the snake. Such rev­er­ence is not acci­den­tal. Not even because the Hin­dus con­sid­er the snake to be a deity. The Indi­an cobra (aka the spec­ta­cled snake and the naga) is very dan­ger­ous, and in no case should it be angered, then the snake becomes very aggres­sive and uncon­trol­lable. Indi­an cobra 1.4–1.81 m long, fiery yel­low, in cer­tain light with an ash-blue sheen. On the back of the head, a pat­tern resem­bling glass­es is clear­ly dis­tin­guished — a clear light pat­tern on the back of the neck, which becomes clear­ly vis­i­ble when the snake is defend­ing itself. The val­ue of the bright pat­tern on the dor­sal side of the snake is very great — it keeps the preda­tor from attack­ing, even if he man­aged to run to the snake from the rear. The ven­tral side is gray and often has wide black stripes on the front of the body. The round­ed and slight­ly blunt head smooth­ly merges into the body. The head is cov­ered with large shields, the upper jaw is armed with paired poi­so­nous fangs, fol­lowed by 1–3 more small teeth. Turk­menistan to the Caspi­an Sea. In the Himalayas, it is found up to a height of 2,500 m. A spec­ta­cled snake choos­es a place it likes and, if noth­ing forces it to leave, lives there through­out its life. Her favorite dwellings are aban­doned mounds of ter­mites, ruins, heaps of stones and wood, holes in clay walls. Until it is dis­turbed, the snake lies lazi­ly in front of the entrance to its dwelling, usu­al­ly bask­ing in the sun, and when a per­son appears, as a rule, it hides hasti­ly. Only brought to the extreme, she rush­es at the attack­er. The snake starts hunt­ing only in the late after­noon hours and often con­tin­ues to crawl late at night. There­fore, it can right­ful­ly be called a noc­tur­nal rep­tile. Cobra food con­sists exclu­sive­ly of small ani­mals, main­ly rep­tiles and amphib­ians: lizards, frogs and toads. She hunts mice, rats, insects. Often robs bird nests. The spec­ta­cled cobra should not be con­sid­ered slow and awk­ward. Maybe she is more clum­sy than some of her broth­ers, but still she climbs trees per­fect­ly and swims per­fect­ly, she can even dive. The spec­ta­cled snake has quite a few ene­mies, among which the first place belongs to the mon­goose. This small preda­tor fear­less­ly attacks snakes of any size. But for a per­son, an Indi­an snake is extreme­ly dan­ger­ous. Even with a bro­ken tooth, a snake can inflict injury, more­over, in place of bro­ken teeth, no less poi­so­nous sub­sti­tute teeth soon grow. Cobra ven­om of neu­ro­tox­ic action. A minute lat­er, com­plete paral­y­sis sets in. The ven­om of the spec­ta­cled cobra is so tox­ic that a chick­en bite dies after 4 min­utes, and a lab­o­ra­to­ry mouse after 2 min­utes. But a cobra nev­er bites a per­son with­out spe­cial need, and even if it makes a throw towards the ene­my, it often does not open its mouth (fake throw). Nev­er anger a cobra. Even if she is near­by, you should not beat the snake with a stick or throw any objects at it. This will only anger the rep­tile, and it will attack in self-defense.


The upper jaw is armed with paired poi­so­nous fangs, fol­lowed by 1–3 more small teeth. For humans, the Indi­an snake is extreme­ly dan­ger­ous.


3rd place: Australian Jellyfish (Sea Wasp)


Sea wasp (Chi­ronex fleck­eri) The coast of North­ern Aus­tralia is famous for its gor­geous beach­es and mag­nif­i­cent coral reefs. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of tourists from all over the world come here. But it is here that one of the most for­mi­da­ble ani­mals for humans lives. True, it looks quite harm­less: a small jel­ly­fish with elon­gat­ed ten­ta­cles. No won­der she was also called the sea wasp, ocean stinger or ghost­ly killer. The sea wasp appears off the north­ern coast of Aus­tralia between Octo­ber and March in calm weath­er at high tide. She comes here in search of food, for exam­ple, shrimps, which she loves very much. The sea wasp is almost invis­i­ble in the water, as it keeps in the shad­ed places of the coastal strip, and there­fore it is dif­fi­cult to pro­tect one­self from a col­li­sion with it. Every year about 20 peo­ple die from its poi­son. The poi­son is so tox­ic that one dose can kill 60 peo­ple at once. A study con­duct­ed on lab­o­ra­to­ry ani­mals showed that even small dos­es killed a guinea pig in 3 sec­onds. The bell of the Aus­tralian jel­ly­fish has a round­ed cubic shape. Four out­growths resem­bling “hands” depart from the low­er cor­ners. Each hand is divid­ed into sev­er­al fin­gers, from which hangs up to six­ty ten­ta­cles. Basi­cal­ly, the sea wasp is a small jel­ly­fish (com­pared to oth­er deep-seat­ed jel­ly­fish). The largest rep­re­sen­ta­tive of this fam­i­ly is the size of a bas­ket­ball, and the ten­ta­cles can grow up to 1.5 meters. The Aus­tralian jel­ly­fish began to be stud­ied rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly — only a cen­tu­ry ago. The sea wasp is con­sid­ered a rather mys­te­ri­ous ani­mal. For exam­ple, one of the mys­ter­ies over which zool­o­gists from all over the world are strug­gling is the pres­ence of eyes in the sea wasp. Every­thing would be fine, but it is absolute­ly incom­pre­hen­si­ble where the visu­al sig­nals go if this crea­ture has no brain … The Aus­tralian jel­ly­fish does not specif­i­cal­ly attack its prey. She stands still, wait­ing for a fish or crab to swim up to her. The vic­tim stum­bles upon one of the ten­ta­cles, and the jel­ly­fish imme­di­ate­ly deliv­ers fatal blows with the sting of its ten­ta­cles. In rela­tion to peo­ple, the jel­ly­fish is not aggres­sive, but any care­less touch threat­ens to cause trou­ble for a per­son. This is espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous when jel­ly­fish hide in shal­low water. If snakes and spi­ders bite their prey once and only in one place, then the sea wasp stings its prey sev­er­al times. This leads to exten­sive poi­son­ing. The human skin turns red, the bite site swells with light­ning speed. The body tem­per­a­ture ris­es sharply, and after a cou­ple of min­utes the ther­mome­ter “rolls over”, as with the most severe poi­son­ing. A vic­tim of the poi­son of a sea wasp expe­ri­ences excru­ci­at­ing pain, accom­pa­nied by loss of con­scious­ness. A per­son can die from paral­y­sis of the res­pi­ra­to­ry tract. Some­times death does not come imme­di­ate­ly. Ter­ri­ble pain can last 10–12 hours and be accom­pa­nied by heart fail­ure. In 2002, two scu­ba divers swam in the waters of the Pacif­ic Ocean. Hav­ing met an Aus­tralian jel­ly­fish, they decid­ed to play with it, not know­ing about its poi­so­nous prop­er­ties. Noth­ing good these games, of course, did not end. One died even less than thir­ty sec­onds after being stung by a sea wasp. The sec­ond received a small­er dose of poi­son, he even man­aged to swim to the shore. But he died an hour lat­er. Encoun­ters with a sea wasp can some­times be avoid­ed with­out even swim­ming into the depths. An 11-year-old girl, wan­der­ing through the water 10 meters from the shore, was stung in the leg and died a minute lat­er. The fact is that on a qui­et, cloud­less day, the tide often car­ries sea wasps to shal­low water or even to the sand; expe­ri­enced peo­ple do not bathe these days. Accord­ing to sta­tis­tics, the sea wasp is the most dan­ger­ous inhab­i­tant of the seas, even ahead of the shark. After all, after the shark attack, there were cas­es when peo­ple sur­vived. But after an injec­tion with a poi­so­nous thorn of an Aus­tralian jel­ly­fish, no one man­aged to sur­vive. Med­i­cine today is pow­er­less against the poi­son of the sea wasp.

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The poi­son is so tox­ic that one dose can kill 60 peo­ple at once. The sea wasp stings its prey in sev­er­al places at once, which leads to exten­sive infec­tion. Med­i­cine today is pow­er­less against the poi­son of the sea wasp.


4th place: Great White Shark


Since the time when a per­son decid­ed to explore the expans­es of the ocean, he con­sid­ers the shark ene­my num­ber one. Real sto­ries about these mon­sters are close­ly inter­twined with fan­ta­sy, sharks are sur­round­ed by a halo of omi­nous mys­tery. Mer­ci­less and dan­ger­ous killers — this is the rep­u­ta­tion that has been attached to the entire shark fam­i­ly. There are about 350 species of sharks, but less than half of them are involved in crimes against peo­ple. In third place in the list of can­ni­bal sharks is the ham­mer­head shark, the sec­ond is the tiger shark, and the great white shark is in the lead. This “queen of the oceans” has no equal in strength and blood­thirsti­ness. It is found in the mod­er­ate­ly warm waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, in the North Pacif­ic Ocean, as well as off the coast of Argenti­na, the Falk­land Islands, South Africa, South Aus­tralia, Tas­ma­nia, New Zealand, Chile , Peru and Ecuador. They are usu­al­ly found near the sea sur­face only in spring and sum­mer, that is, when the water is rich­est in plank­ton­ic food. The body of the white shark is cig­ar-shaped. The large sym­met­ri­cal cau­dal fin con­sists of a great­ly enlarged upper lobe and a small low­er lobe. The pec­toral fins are large, they serve to sup­port the front of the body, which, in their absence, would inevitably sink down when swim­ming. How often do they attack peo­ple? Opti­mists argue that the like­li­hood of being killed by light­ning or crushed by a car is much high­er than the like­li­hood of being hit by a shark. How­ev­er, despite this, dozens of peo­ple die from shark teeth every year. Offi­cial sta­tis­tics claim that from 30 to 200 peo­ple die every year from this preda­tor. What about unof­fi­cial? How many peo­ple who are con­sid­ered miss­ing after ship­wrecks fall into the jaws of sharks? Not only in the ocean do sharks attack peo­ple, but also near the shore, in shal­low water. They attack their prey regard­less of the weath­er. They can attack in calm weath­er and in a storm, in clear sun­shine or in heavy rain. If the con­stant food of the shark — fish or lob­sters, for some rea­son dis­ap­pear, then the shark, blind­ed by hunger, attacks any­one, be it a man or even a sperm whale. In prin­ci­ple, the shark eats rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle, but its promis­cu­ity in food is sim­ply amaz­ing. What was not found in shark stom­achs: tin cans, boots, hand grenades, horse­shoes. And once in the bel­ly of a shark they found a native drum weigh­ing about 7 kg. Nature has endowed sharks with the per­fect tool for killing. The jaws, seat­ed at the edges with point­ed teeth, have tremen­dous strength. In the mouth, there are up to a hun­dred teeth arranged in sev­er­al rows. As soon as the front teeth fall out, they are imme­di­ate­ly replaced by the back ones. Biol­o­gists man­aged to mea­sure the force with which the shark squeezes its jaws: this is, no less than hun­dreds of kilo­grams! She can eas­i­ly tear off a person’s leg, or even bite the body in half. When attack­ing, the shark first plunges its low­er teeth, impal­ing its prey as if on a fork. The upper jaws begin to shred the body at this time. That’s why there are so many deaths when peo­ple meet sharks. It is also dif­fi­cult to hide from the shark because it per­fect­ly smells its prey, rec­og­niz­ing smells at a great dis­tance. An impor­tant role in hunt­ing and vision. True, sharks are pret­ty short­sight­ed. How­ev­er, the clos­er to the vic­tim, the more the val­ue of this sense organ grows. For 3–4 meters, it is the eyes that guide the fur­ther actions of the shark. Much in the behav­ior of sharks remains incom­pre­hen­si­ble. Either she can swim past a blood­ied man, or she rush­es to attack an armed scu­ba div­er. It seems that some­times sharks fall into some kind of food fren­zy and, in a blind rage, pounce on any object that gets in its way. But in gen­er­al, the shark is very cau­tious. Hav­ing met an unfa­mil­iar object, she will first cir­cle around for a long time, find­ing out whether it is dan­ger­ous or not. The shark can stab its prey with its nose, check­ing again if it is edi­ble. Only after these pre­cau­tions does she rush to the prey. The pec­toral fins are low­ered, the nose is slight­ly raised, the back is hunched. A jerk — and the vic­tim is already in the teeth of a shark. Sophis­ti­cat­ed sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies have shown that a per­son abus­ing fish­ing leads to a decrease in the amount of food for sharks, and the lack of food is the main rea­son for their aggres­sive behav­ior towards swim­mers and surfers. The num­ber of col­li­sions is increas­ing due to the fact that more peo­ple go to the open sea, ignor­ing the warn­ings of the author­i­ties, and enter into shark habi­tats, which leads to skir­mish­es and col­li­sions with ani­mals. The data shows that 6 out of 10 attacks are pro­voked by peo­ple. For exam­ple, embold­ened scu­ba divers are increas­ing­ly try­ing to touch the shark. Very often there are attacks on fish­er­men who are try­ing to pull out the shark they have caught. Well, how do you get out alive from a fight with a shark? Here are some real life exam­ples. Richard Wat­ley, who was swim­ming, was attacked by a shark in mid-June 2005 in Alaba­ma. He was almost 100 meters from the shore when he felt a strong jolt in his thigh. He real­ized it was a shark and tried to escape. A sec­ond lat­er, the shark received a pow­er­ful punch in the nose — all that Richard was capa­ble of, he put into this blow. Hav­ing sent the preda­tor into a knock­down, Richard rushed with all his might to the sav­ing shore. But the shark quick­ly recov­ered and con­tin­ued to attack. How­ev­er, each of her attempts to attack end­ed in fail­ure: blows to the nose fol­lowed one after anoth­er, until Richard final­ly crawled ashore safe and sound. Inci­den­tal­ly, this was the first record­ed shark attack on a human in Alaba­ma in 25 years. So what? A pow­er­ful right hook to the nose of a shark — an effec­tive defense? In this case, of course, the per­son sur­vived, but in most cas­es, such blows will only annoy the shark, so if you see a shark, then you bet­ter freeze and wait for help. Yes, so far the shark is the num­ber one ene­my in the water for humans. But I would like to hope that in the near future a per­son will invent some kind of rem­e­dy against the attack of these blood­thirsty preda­tors. Then, per­haps, a person’s fear of this fish will dis­si­pate and he will appre­ci­ate these for­mi­da­ble hunters of our plan­et.

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Aggres­sive. They attack both at depth and in shal­low water. They have pow­er­ful jaws with sharp teeth. Not picky about food.


5th place: African lion


There is a lot of debate about whether the lion can be said to be the king of the beasts, because the lion is not the largest mem­ber of the cat fam­i­ly (the largest cat is the tiger). But still, when you meet him in nature, you expe­ri­ence a cer­tain thrill. A tru­ly pow­er­ful beast: pow­er­ful body, broad head, mus­cu­lar paws. A lion grows up to 2.5 m, and even a meter long tail. Males are 1.5 times larg­er than females. In addi­tion, the pride of males is a beau­ti­ful and thick mane. The col­or varies from light yel­low to dark brown. The lion is armed with claws, which can be almost 10 cm each. Lions live in Africa, in the south­ern region of the Sahara, in North­west­ern India. They used to be com­mon in Asia, but now there are very few lions left there. They live in savan­nahs, upland semi-deserts, river­ine forests and deserts. Once, a ranger in Kenya observed how only two lions hunt­ed a rhi­no, and the rhi­noc­er­os is con­sid­ered one of the most for­mi­da­ble ani­mals in Africa. Few preda­tors dare to mess with him, but those lions killed the rhi­noc­er­os in just 20 min­utes. At one time, the lion is able to eat up to 18 kg. This is not so much, con­sid­er­ing that a lion can not eat for a very long time — a whole week. At the same time, he absolute­ly does not lose strength. But if there is an oppor­tu­ni­ty, then he eats him­self to sati­ety. These for­mi­da­ble ani­mals hunt, main­ly in a whole group, togeth­er. This is done as fol­lows: the females hide in the grass not far from the graz­ing antelopes or zebras, and at this time the males slow­ly creep up to the herd. As the lions get clos­er, the herd begins to retreat. But the lions just need it. It just seems that the lions will not suc­ceed. Do not for­get that lioness­es are hid­ing in the bush­es. Males play only the role of beat­ers, tak­ing their vic­tims to the bush­es, where they are already wait­ing for them. Lioness­es rush at prey, try­ing to imme­di­ate­ly bite their throats. Usu­al­ly lions kill their prey quick­ly. This is not for human­i­tar­i­an rea­sons at all. It’s just that who kills quick­ly, he him­self is less at risk of being injured in a fight. So, the main role in the extrac­tion of food belongs to lioness­es. How­ev­er, despite this, only the lion has the right to be the first to taste food. The best pieces go to him. Every­thing that remains after is eat­en up by the rest of this large fam­i­ly. It’s just that the male has a great respon­si­bil­i­ty: it is the lion who pro­tects the pride. Giv­ing him the best pieces, the rest, as it were, are grate­ful for it. After all, noth­ing is more impor­tant for a fam­i­ly than vast ter­ri­to­ries with rich hunt­ing grounds, suf­fi­cient water and con­ve­nient shel­ter. What is the dan­ger to humans? Like many preda­tors, a lion on pur­pose almost nev­er attacks a per­son. You just have to be care­ful not to get caught in his eyes. It’s a preda­tor! You should not think that in cir­cus­es and zoos lions become tame cats. In Sergiev Posad, near Moscow, on the morn­ing of Sun­day, May 3, 2003, a lion and a lioness man­aged to escape from a cage in a cir­cus tent while feed­ing. Two train­ers tried to dri­ve them back into the cage, but the lions attacked one of them and ate him to death. Can­ni­bal lions are very scary for humans. True, cas­es of their can­ni­bal­ism are much less than, for exam­ple, among tigers. Over the past hun­dred years, 580 peo­ple have been killed by tigers and 210 by lions. The most famous case occurred dur­ing the con­struc­tion of the rail­way con­nect­ing Mom­basa and Nairo­bi: this con­struc­tion was par­a­lyzed for a long time because of a pair of lions. Every night they raid­ed the camp. In total, they killed 28 peo­ple. Can­ni­bals are, as a rule, old lions, expelled from the pride by stronger males. It is dif­fi­cult for them to hunt her­bi­vores, but a man is the eas­i­est prey for them. Since then, the lion begins to ter­ri­fy the sur­round­ing res­i­dents. In the fight against man-eat­ing lions, there is only one means — to destroy them. Hav­ing tast­ed human flesh once, the lion under­stands that a per­son is not so scary and very vul­ner­a­ble. So “either he us or we him.” But one should not encour­age hunt­ing for every­one, just because of the fear of the ani­mal. Remem­ber, the main thing: be care­ful, do not pro­voke a preda­tor, then the lion will not attack you.

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Armed with claws, which can be 10 cm each. Aggres­sive. Cas­es of can­ni­bal­ism have been record­ed.


6th place: Crocodile

Salt­ed croc­o­dile; Aus­tralian Salt­wa­ter croc­o­dile (salt­wa­ter croc­o­dile); Indo-Pacif­ic croc­o­dile; sea­far­ing croc­o­dile; under­wa­ter croc­o­dile (Croc­o­dy­lus poro­sus) — Aus­tralian Salt­wa­ter Croc­o­dile …


The combed croc­o­dile is called the king of rep­tiles and the storm of all liv­ing things. He was feared and admired at all times. What is the great­ness of this rep­tile, and why does a per­son, even today, in the age of new tech­nolo­gies, nev­er cease to expe­ri­ence pan­ic fear when meet­ing this ani­mal? The combed croc­o­dile is found in the trop­i­cal regions of Asia and in the waters of the Pacif­ic Ocean (from India to Aus­tralia). The most favorite place for combed croc­o­diles is the Palau arch­i­pel­ago. Here their num­ber is almost 2000 indi­vid­u­als. The large dis­tri­b­u­tion area is explained by the fact that combed croc­o­diles can move long dis­tances in the open sea. The mouth, equipped with 54 to 68 small but very sharp teeth, clos­es with great speed and force. They are very aggres­sive and often attack peo­ple.

Saltwater Crocodile


7th place: Elephant


The pub­li­ca­tion also advis­es stay­ing away from ele­phants, under whose mas­sive legs 600 peo­ple die every year.


An angry ele­phant tram­ples the ene­my, grabs it with its trunk and throws it, sweeps away every­thing in its path


8th place: Polar bears


The polar bear is the largest ter­res­tri­al mam­mal of the car­ni­vore order. Its length reach­es 3 m, weight up to 800 kg. Usu­al­ly males weigh 400–500 kg; body length 200–250 cm, height at the with­ers up to 160 cm. Females are notice­ably small­er (200–300 kg). The small­est bears are found in Sval­bard, the largest in the Bering Sea. The polar bear is dis­tin­guished from oth­er bears by its long neck and flat head. His skin is black. The coat col­or varies from white to yel­low­ish; in sum­mer, the fur may turn yel­low due to con­stant expo­sure to sun­light. The polar bear’s fur is devoid of pig­men­ta­tion, and the hairs are hol­low. There is a hypoth­e­sis that they act as light guides, absorb­ing ultra­vi­o­let rays; in any case, in ultra­vi­o­let pho­tog­ra­phy, the polar bear appears dark. Due to the struc­ture of the hairs, the polar bear can some­times “turn green”. This hap­pens in a hot cli­mate (in zoos), when micro­scop­ic algae grow inside the hairs.


On polar bears, occu­py­ing the 8th place in the rank­ing “Most Dan­ger­ous Ani­mals”, it is also bet­ter to admire from the side. These preda­tors are ready to tear apart any­one who approach­es their cubs.


All sens­es are high­ly devel­oped, espe­cial­ly sight and smell. A bear can see its prey for many kilo­me­ters. The bear is very curi­ous. He is attract­ed by every­thing new, the taste of which he cer­tain­ly checks.


9th place: African buffalo


The African buf­fa­lo kills more peo­ple in Africa every year than any oth­er preda­tor.



10th place: Arrow frogs and leaf climbers (Dendrobatidae and Phyllobates trinitatis)

It is impos­si­ble not to notice the frogs and leaf climbers in nature, as these are the most bright­ly col­ored amphib­ians on our earth. They live in the forests of South and Cen­tral Amer­i­ca. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the poi­son dart frog fam­i­ly live along the banks of rivers and streams, in the rain­forests of moun­tains and low­lands. Some spend most of their lives in trees. There are also those who live in open dry spaces, con­tent with the mois­ture of shad­ed areas of soil under stunt­ed plants. Unlike oth­er amphib­ians, poi­son dart frogs are only active dur­ing the day and sleep at night. As you know, dan­ger­ous poi­so­nous ani­mals have a bright skin, there­by ensur­ing safe­ty from preda­tors and warn­ing strangers. Dart frogs and leaf frogs are very bright­ly col­ored. These frogs are very poi­so­nous. They have the dead­liest poi­son. Espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous is the Ter­ri­ble Leaf Climber (Phyl­lo­bates ter­ri­bilis) from Venezuela. This inhab­i­tant of humid forests reach­es a length of 25 mm and is col­ored in gray-olive or brown­ish tones with dark spots. The abdomen of females is gold­en yel­low. This leaf climber is active dur­ing the day and preys on small insects, spi­ders and worms. About 130 species are includ­ed in the DREVOLAZ fam­i­ly (Den­dro­bati­dae), but among them there is not a sin­gle non-poi­so­nous frog. In poi­son dart frogs, the skin is pierced by glands that secrete micro­scop­ic pro­por­tions of poi­son, which are quite enough to kill a jaguar. This poi­son con­sists of about a hun­dred dif­fer­ent sub­stances. This is one of the strongest poi­sons of non-pro­tein nature. It is so dan­ger­ous that sci­en­tists have to wear thick gloves to han­dle it, as the poi­son can pen­e­trate through any cut or even scratch. The poi­son has a ter­ri­ble nerve-par­a­lyt­ic effect. As a result, car­diac arrhyth­mia occurs, lead­ing to car­diac arrest. In order for the poi­son to work, it is enough for it to enter the blood­stream through the mucous mem­brane or cracks in the skin. That is why no one dares to touch these frogs, except for the Indi­ans, who lubri­cate hunt­ing arrows with frog poi­son. Vac­cines against poi­son dart frogs have not been invent­ed. It is hard­ly pos­si­ble to stay alive after this poi­son enters the body. Each frog pro­duces enough of the tox­in that one dose can kill at least 10 peo­ple. In fact, dart frogs are a rare excep­tion in nature. Basi­cal­ly, the poi­son of liv­ing crea­tures that defend them­selves from preda­tors is rather weak — most often it comes down to “chem­i­cal defense” (like a lady­bug or a for­est bug). Anoth­er thing is with ani­mals that hunt large prey. They wait a long time and then rush to the vic­tim. They often have only one chance to take their prey, so the poi­son must be very strong and act instant­ly. Dart frogs do not prey on large ani­mals. Their main food is small insects, spi­ders and worms. Why they need such a strong poi­son is still unknown. Anoth­er inter­est­ing fact asso­ci­at­ed with these amphib­ians is that the poi­son dart frogs them­selves are not sen­si­tive to their poi­son. The ori­gin of their tox­in is also unclear. Cas­es are known when poi­son dart frogs grown in cap­tiv­i­ty lost their tox­i­c­i­ty. Appar­ent­ly, they need some spe­cial diet to main­tain the tox­in in the body. So, in the end, we repeat once again: the frogs of the dart frogs and leaf climbers are extreme­ly dan­ger­ous for humans. But by them­selves, these frogs do not throw them­selves at peo­ple, so there is no chance of being poi­soned by their poi­son, unless, of course, you your­self touch their skin. There­fore, the most impor­tant way to pro­tect your­self is very sim­ple — do not touch these frogs!

High­ly ven­omous and dan­ger­ous, the skin is rid­dled with glands that secrete micro­scop­ic amounts of ven­om suf­fi­cient to kill an adult jaguar. Vac­cines against dart frog ven­om have not been invent­ed.