Photo: Rostislav Stach/Shutterstock

These 10 States Have the Most Fatal Wild Animal Attacks in the Country

United States Wildlife News
by Olivia Harden Sep 7, 2021

While we can admire the beauty of animals that nature has to offer from a distance, it’s important to remember that those same wild animals can be as dangerous as they are mesmerizing. Animals kill more than 400 people in the US each year. Some states are more prone to animal attacks than others, especially ones with large human populations or levels of tourism that encroach on public lands where certain types of animals live. The outdoors site Outforia looked at public animal attacks data logged on Wikipedia over the last 50 years to find which places see the most deadly animal attacks — and which animals have historically done the attacking.

In 20 years, Delaware, North Dakota, and Rhode Island haven’t had a single death from an animal attack (keep in mind Delaware and Rhode Island are also the smallest and least populated states in the US, while North Dakota is the fourth least populous state). Comparatively, 520 deaths from animal attacks happened in Texas over the same 20 years, which is an average of 26 deaths per year. California has the next highest with 299 deaths, and Florida was third with 247 deaths.

The data set Outforia used has natural limitations. For one, it uses Wikipedia. Jack Berryman of Utah State University conducted a study in 2019 of people who were injured or killed each year by wildlife. He found that 47,000 people south medical attention after being attacked or bitten by wildlife each year, and about eight people died each year. Taking into account wildlife collisions with cars and aircraft, as well as zoonotic disease in the pre-COVID study, about 174,000 people were injured or sickened by wildlife each year, and about 700 were killed. With Outforia’s data limitation in mind, the informal study is still an interesting look at where wildlife and humans have deadly interactions.

These are the top 10 most deadly states for animal attacks from 1999 to 2019:

  1. Texas: 520 deaths
  2. California: 299 deaths
  3. Florida: 247 deaths
  4. North Carolina: 180 deaths
  5. Tennessee: 170 deaths
  6. Georgia: 161 deaths
  7. Ohio: 161 deaths
  8. Pennsylvania: 148 deaths
  9. Michigan: 138 deaths
  10. New York: 124 deaths

Outforia’s study also found the top predators since 1970. Brown bears, which are found throughout the northern US, are responsible for 70 deaths. Sharks follow the bears, killing 57 people in the US. Even though these statistics may make some want to stay out of nature, attacks are still far and few between when you consider the number of people who’ve been enjoying the outdoors all these years. Shark attacks, for example, are extremely rare, and there are plenty of ways to keep you and your loved ones safe while enjoying the ocean. Tied for second place is deadly snakes like the rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths, which are particularly prevalent across the southern portion of the US.

These are the most dangerous animals in the US by the number of deaths since 1970:

  1. Brown Bears: 70 deaths
  2. Sharks: 57 deaths
  3. Snakes: 57 deaths
  4. Black Bears: 54 deaths
  5. Alligators: 33 deaths
  6. Cougars: 16 deaths
  7. Polar bears: 10 deaths
  8. Wolves: 2 deaths

Be sure to be aware of your surroundings and admire from a distance.

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