10. CAPE BUFFALO
which number around 900,000 and are found in sub-Saharan Africa, are a relatively mild species when left alone, preferring to travel in massive herds to graze in early morning and late afternoon hours or to gather around watering holes to stay hydrated. However, if an individual (or its calf) is threatened or wounded, they become the incarnation of their nickname: Black Death.
4.Golden Poison Dart Frog
The poison dart is a large, diverse group of brightly colored frogs that live mostly in northern South america , of which only a handful of species are particularly dangerous to humans. The most deadly, the golden poison dark, inhabits the small range of rain forests along Colombia’s Pacific coast, and grows to around two inches long (roughly the size of a paper clip). Its poison, called batrachotoxin, is so potent that there’s enough in one frog to kill ten grown men, with only two micrograms—roughly the amount that would fit onto the head of a pin—needed to kill a single individual. But what makes the amphibian especially dangerous is that its poison glands are located beneath its skin, meaning a mere touch will cause trouble. Little wonder the indigenous Emberá people have laced the tips of their blow darts used for hunting with the frog’s toxin for centuries.
Often found floating (or moving at speeds close to five miles per hour) in the Indo-Pacific waters north of Australia, these transparent, nearly invisible invertebrates are considered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the most venomous marine animal in the world. Their namesake cubic frames contain up to 15 tentacles at the corners, with each growing as much as 10 feet long, all lined with thousands of stinging cells—known as nematocysts—that contain toxins that simultaneously attack the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. While antivenins do exist, the venom is so potent and overwhelming that many human victims, of the hundreds of reported fatal encounters each year, have been known to go into shock and drown or die of heart failure before reaching shore. Even if you are lucky enough to make it to the hospital and receive the antidote, survivors can sometimes experience considerable pain for weeks afterward and bear nasty scars from the creature’s tentacles.
Pufferfish, also known as blowfish, are located in tropical seas around the globe, especially around Japan, China, and the Philippines. Though they’re the second most poisonous vertebrate on the planet (after the golden arrow dart frog), they’re arguably more dangerous as their neurotoxin, called tetrodoxin, is found in the fish’s skin, muscle tissue, liver, kidneys, and gonads, all of which must be avoided—when preparing the creature for human consumption. Indeed, while wild encounters are certainly dangerous, the risk of death from a puffer fish increases when eating it in countries like Japan, where it is considered a delicacy known as fugu and can only be prepared by trained, licensed chefs—even then, accidental deaths from ingestion occur several times each year.
Surprised? After all, we’re animals too, and since we’ve been killing each other for 10,000 years, with the total deaths from war alone estimated at between 150 million and 1 billion (and that was a decade ago), it’s a no-brainer that we top the list. Though human beings are said to be living in the most peaceful period now than at any other time in our history, we still assault each other with incredibly high rates of senseless brutality, from gun violence in cities like Munich and Fort Lauderdale to terrorist attacks around the globe. We’re dangerous to other animals, too—think global warming and the destruction of forests and coral reefs. Given the threat we pose to countless other creatures—and the fact that we often act irrationally and have the capacity to annihilate our entire planet with a host of horrifying weapons like nuclear devices and genetically-modified superbugs—we are squarely atop the list as the most dangerous animal in the world.