Life is uncertain and death can come calling anytime, anywhere. There are so many ways we can die such as due to disease, infection, accident, homicide, suicide or simply old age. Another common way to die is when we are bitten by animals. This is not to be taken lightly, as thousands of people die every year due to animal bites or stings or subsequent infections. If you want to understand the risks involved, here’s a quick look at some animals that kill the most humans.
Reduviidae – Also known as Assassin Bugs, Reduviidae are a group of terrestrial ambush predators. These use their toxic saliva to liquefy the internal parts of their prey. The dissolved tissues are then sucked by the bug. There are several different species of Reduviidae and these can be found in most parts of the world. Some species suck blood of animals including humans. Reduviidae bite can result in potentially fatal trypanosomal Chagas disease. Around 12,000 people die every year due to this disease.
Freshwater snails – These are found in fresh water bodies such as rivers, lakes, pools, etc. Varied species of freshwater snails are spread across the world. Most of these snails consume algae, but there are also species that are filter feeders and detritivores. While freshwater snails don’t bite, they harbor various parasites that can cause infections in humans. The most common disease is Schistosomiasis, which is caused by parasitic flatworms named schistosomes. Globally, more than 20,000 human deaths are attributed to freshwater snails.
Dogs – They are called ‘man’s best friend’, but unfortunately they are also responsible for thousands of human deaths every year. The most common cause of death is rabies infection, which occurs when a human is bitten by a rabies infected dog. Lack of awareness about rabies and/or delay in seeking medical help usually causes death by rabies. As is common knowledge, timely vaccination is the only cure for rabies. Globally, more than 50,000 people die every year from dog bites.
Snakes – These creatures like to keep their distance from humans, but our paths cross nonetheless. Continued expansion of human settlements is one of the key reasons for snake and human contact. A bite from a venomous snake can kill within hours if proper medical treatment is not provided. As per estimates, more than 100,000 people die every year due to snake bites.
Mosquitoes – It’s the tiniest of human killers, but still manages to register the biggest score. Malaria is caused when the Plasmodium parasite is transferred into humans via mosquito bites. Malaria is treatable, but lack of timely diagnosis or medical care can lead to death. Globally, around 500,000 people die every year due to Malaria.