Home AnimalsThe Deadliest Animals In The United States
AnimalsBy Joe Burgett -

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via O.S. Fisher/Shutterstock.com]

American Bison

  • Attacks Per Year: A Few Hundred
  • Deaths Per Year: Less Than 10

The American Bison or Buffalo has lived alongside or around humans for hundreds of years. This is especially true of the Mid-Western and Central United States, where they lived among Native Americans for potentially thousands of years. This is why they seem to tolerate the presence of people, especially if they are not armed or trying to come after them. Experts say to stay at least 15 to 20 feet away from them at all times, and they likely won’t care that you’re there.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Greg and Jan Ritchie/Shutterstock.com]
If this boundary is passed, they become territorial and aggressive. Many people do not realize this, which leads to bison attacking humans across the United States each year. They seem to be the most aggressive around Yellowstone National Park, where they injure more people annually than any other animal. They’ll even walk in the middle of roads and come up to cars as well. They rank among the deadliest animals in the United States due to this. However, while they do attack a lot, they do not kill as many. Their attacks are often meant as warnings and will gore people less than headbutting them.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Ryan M. Bolton/Shutterstock.com]

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

  • Attacks Per Year: A Few Hundred
  • Deaths Per Year: Less Than 5 to 10

Snakebites in the United States are rarely fatal due to antivenom that tends to be at every Emergency Room and even most normal clinics. Especially those in rural areas where snakes might commonly show up. One of the most common snakes a person might run into is the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. They are poor climbers and tend to hang around on the ground, often blending in with their surroundings. This is pretty much how humans come across them.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Steve Byland/Shutterstock.com]
We might step on one accidentally. If they see a human coming, they will rattle as a warning. If you stay away, you’re good, but if you don’t, they will attack in defense. They also stand their ground against humans and don’t just slither away, making them even more dangerous. They rank among the deadliest animals in the United States because their venom can easily kill a person. It will usually take several hours, however. In just Arizona, there are 350 snakebites annually and this rattlesnake makes up most of those as well as most of the snakebite deaths.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Monterey County Weekly]


  • Attacks Per Year: Between 11 & 40
  • Deaths Per Year: Less Than 5

Bears are found in multiple areas around the United States. Depending on your location, you might see a normal Brown Bear, Black Bear, and sometimes in a rare case, a Polar Bear. In North America, you’re unlikely to ever be attacked by a bear unless you go into their territory and cause problems. Some bears are not all that aggressive while others are. Typically, Brown Bears will leave you alone even if you’re in their eye-line.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock.com]
Black Bears tend to be a little more aggressive and territorial. They are also slightly better runners and, while they still weigh several hundreds of pounds, still weigh less than most Brown Bears. That gives them more freedom to chase humans along with other animals down. While bears do not tend to choose humans for their next meal nor do they love attacking them, the reason they do attack is almost always out of threat or self-defense. Don’t put them in either position and you’ll be fine.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock.com]


  • Attacks Per Year: 25 to 40
  • Deaths Per Year: Less Than 5

On both coasts and even around the Gulf of Mexico, shark attacks happen every single year. Since humans do not often get in the water year-round on the Eastern section of the country, most attacks tend to happen on the West Coast. We’re in the ocean more there, so it makes sense. There are roughly 25 to 40 shark attacks each year in the United States, with most of them being unprovoked. This means that a shark went after a human just because or they were simply hungry.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via New York Post]
Others are provoked, meaning we were putting the shark in a defensive position and it attacked as a result. In spite of the attack rate, they kill less than 5 people annually. Most of the time, however, they’ll bite large chunks or full limbs off though. On top of this, the most common attacks happen to surfers than any other. Often due to surfers appearing like a manatee from the shark’s point of view. Sharks are killers and clearly one of the deadliest animals in the United States.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Fredy Thuerig/Shutterstock.com]


  • Attacks Per Year: Dozens
  • Deaths Per Year: Around 22

You might not realize it, but Cows can be cold-blooded killers. To be fair, it’s not like we humans treat them any better, right? In any case, cows do not usually attack humans. When they do, it’s often out of fear or threat. Sometimes it might happen if they are attacked first. The most common issue might occur when milking a cow, where they might kick a person if they milk them in a bad way. In spite of all of these particular issues, the most dangerous cow is one that happens to be protecting its calf.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Hans Engbers/Shutterstock.com]
Studies have shown mother cows of newborn calves will attack humans or other creatures for little to no reason. This might be due to a hormonal imbalance. Yet others believe it’s instinct on behalf of the mother cow, where she protects her child from anything that can resemble a threat. There are dozens of cow attacks every year and up to 22 deaths annually from them on average! Although weird, these usually docile creatures are among the deadliest animals in the United States.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Rattiya Thongdumhyu/Shutterstock.com]


  • Attacks Per Year: Around 1,000
  • Deaths Per Year: Roughly 17

While it would be wrong to say that a tapeworm “attacks” a human being or another animal, they kinda do. They find their way into a living creature’s body either from water or meat that they consume. Your dog might have often been infected with “worms” in its life. Yet humans are not much different. You’d assume that this would be an issue in less-developed nations or for possibly tribal people in South America and Africa.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Juan Gaertner/Shutterstock.com]
However, tapeworms affect around 1,000 people in just the United States every single year. On top of this, tapeworms can kill a human being too. The National Institutes of Health wanted to see how the problem affected Americans. Which pushed them to conduct a 13-year study from 1990 to 2002. In that time, they recorded 221 deaths confirmed to be related to tapeworms. That is an average of 17 per year! While they are not normal animals, tapeworms are clearly one of the deadliest animals in the United States today!

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Sushaaa/Shutterstock.com]

Hornets, Wasps, Bees

  • Attacks Per Year: Several Thousand
  • Deaths Per Year: Around 65

While we could have picked any single one of these, they all involve the same method of affecting humans, their sting. More often than not, they do not randomly attack humans. It’s usually out of threat or assumed invasion. The problem is that some like to build nests around homes, which is where humans come across them the most. There are times that they will be in woodland areas and humans might come across them there too.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Cornel Constantin/Shutterstock.com]
In fact, that is where the biggest threat tends to be, as there tend to be much larger nests in those areas. That results in multiple stings rather than just one or two from an experience one might have around their residence. Deaths to humans can happen more often when they are stung repeatedly like this. Of course, those allergic to their venom can die from it too. The CDC reports that from 2000 to 2017, they found that 1,109 people died from these stings in America, which is around 65 annually. Making them some of the deadliest animals in the United States.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock.com]


  • Attacks Per Year: Hundreds Of Thousands
  • Deaths Per Year: Around 17

When we reference “Dogs,” we’re specifically referencing your common dog in America. This does not equate to other dog species outside the United States, like the Wild Dogs of Africa. They are said to be “man’s best friend,” but dogs are not always going to get along with humans. They bite sometimes by accident, other times due to being threatened. There are also times when they are infected with rabies and attack as a result. Considering that messes with their mind, it makes sense.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Ron Reznick – Digital-Images.net]
There are thousands of dogs all over the country, both on the street and in homes. Thus, there is a much larger chance that someone will be attacked by a dog versus most other animals. The CDC reports that there are at least 4.7 million dog bites reported annually in America. This might not be considered an “attack,” so we’ll adjust for that and say violent attacks happen in the hundreds of thousands. Out of all those attacks, around 17 are fatal. Making dogs one of the deadliest animals in the United States.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Reinhold Leitner/Shutterstock.com]


  • Attacks Per Year: A Few Dozen
  • Deaths Per Year: Around 120 to 200

Attacks by deer are not rare but also not commonplace. Truly, even the most alpha Buck will more likely run away from a human than actually attack them. However, straight-up attacks do still happen. Due to humans moving closer and closer into regular deer habitats, they have been forced to adjust to living around us. That is often why an attack would even happen at all, otherwise, humans would rarely ever come across one.

The Deadliest Animals In The United States
[Image via Lux Blue/Shutterstock.com]
While straight-up attacks are not massive, deer actually do kill more humans every year than most of the animals on this list combined. Remember that close proximity issue? Due to this, deer often run out in the middle of roads. For our part as humans, we try to avoid them and that can lead to bad and/or fatal car accidents. We might even hit the deer, then still die from the crash that can cause. They are responsible for around 120 to 200 human deaths annually, and several million dollars worth of property damage.



American Association of Poison Control Centers

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

American College of Medical Toxicology

National Institutes of Health

Texas A&M University

Colorado State University

Yellowstone National Park

The U.S. National Park Service

National Geographic



Sun-Sentinel Newspaper

Live Science

Arizona Snake Fence