While animal attacks on people remain exceedingly rare, critter-human conflicts have seen an uptick over the past decade or so. Currently, animal attack-related injuries total around 1 billion a year in health care expenses — a stat that could perhaps increase due to climate change and increasing human encroachment upon wild spaces.
To help people find a safe, attack-free place to live or travel in the US, outdoor recreation site Outforia has analyzed which states experience the most and least “fatal animal attacks per year.” They formulated this study by analyzing CDC data on deadly interspecies encounters from 1999 to 2019.
Clocking in at No. 1 on the animal-attack scale was Texas with a staggering 520 deaths during those two decades — the equivalent of 26 animal-inflicted fatalities a year. California came in second, recording a total of 299 deaths during that time period, followed close behind by Florida at 247. Meanwhile, New York placed 10th with 124.
Population was a prevailing factor in the number of deaths, with the top three most populated US states boasting the greatest number of animal-related fatalities. By a similar token, Delaware, North Dakota and Rhode Island — three of the least populated US states — recorded the fewest animal attack-related injuries with zero each, per the study.
Unfortunately, the survey didn’t specify which particular animals were responsible for the most deaths in each state. However, the majority of animal-related deaths in the three frontrunners — Florida, California and Texas — was due to people getting “bitten or struck by other mammals,” which experts overwhelmingly attributed to dog attacks and car collisions with deer as well as livestock accidents, respectively. Indeed, a Washington Post graphic from 2015 shows that the South Atlantic region has about four times as many people as New England but approximately 12 times as many dog-induced deaths.
Meanwhile, another map by the WaPo showed that the south-central region encompassing Texas has the most “other mammal”-related fatalities, which correspond with a massive concentration of livestock operations in this region.
It appears that the deadliest animals in the US are generally not what you’d think. The biggest killers of US people in the animal kingdom are surprisingly deer, which cause 1.3 million traffic accidents per year, 200 of which prove fatal, Business Insider reported.
Buzzing at Bambi’s heels in second are bees and wasps, which kill 100 people annually, generally by triggering an allergic reaction with their stings. Per Outforia, bees and wasps were responsible for 666 deaths nationwide in the past two decades — over a third of all animal-inflicted deaths in the US during that period.
These were followed by dogs (30) and cows (25), the latter of which frequently trample and kick people both accidentally and on purpose. Ironically, rounding out the bottom of the deadly animals list are snakes, spiders, bears, alligators, crocodiles and sharks — which are perhaps closest to most people’s idea of a “dangerous creature.”