It never fails that it is right about this time of year, as school starts to wind down and people start planning vacations, you see that first shark sighting. Social media will plaster pictures of schools of shark heading up the coast. Do you know the average number of people killed by sharks a year? 6. Only 6!
Scary Animals Are Not Necessarily Dangerous Animals
If you really want to let an animal scare you go with a hippopotamus, at least they are up to 500 kills per year. Crocodiles kill double that! But in the big scheme of things, are any of those numbers really that high? Our perception of dangerous animals leads us to fear things that maybe we shouldn’t and be less fearful of the things that we should.
Bill Gates provides us with a visual chart of the deadliest animals in the world. The top 2 outrank all the others by literally hundreds of thousands. Do you have a guess for what they are?
Unfortunately coming in at number two is humans. Number one is the teensy tiny scary mosquito.
Mosquitoes are the Deadliest Animals on Earth
With some conflicting data at hand, NASA reports that mosquitoes kill 2.7 million people per year with the diseases they carry while in 2015 Gates reported 830,000 — in either case, that number blows the other threats out of the water.
In 2016 the World Health Organization says that 445,000 people were killed by malaria alone. That leaves Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever, among others to make up the rest. Mosquitoes adapt very well to their surroundings, they reproduce quickly, and climate change is helping to broaden the areas that they can live in.
And most importantly, humans underestimate the danger mosquitoes present.
There are lots of ways that animals can kill us but mosquitoes have cornered the market. There is a constant fight against them. The Gates Foundation has spent millions for protection and education. Mosquito Squad partners with Malaria No More to fight the most deadly of all the mosquito-borne diseases. And yet still there’s so much more to be done.