Australia is known for its deadly snakes, spiders, and other giant creepy crawlies. However, snakes and bugs are not among the most dangerous animals in the Australian wilderness. In fact, the animal that poses the biggest risk to our lives is, surprisingly, a common farm animal.
According to a recent report by ABC Science, horses and cows are the most dangerous animal in Australia. From 2008 to 2017, cows and horses topped the charts, killing 77 people total.
Horses (including ponies and donkeys) were overall the deadliest animals, causing the most deaths, primarily through fall-related accidents. Cows (including bulls and cattle/ bovine) were a close second, with deaths being the result of motor vehicle accidents, or by crushing or piercing.
When you look further into the statistics, it’s easy to understand how so many incidents involving cows could occur. As of June 2018, there were about 24 million cows in Australia. Although we typically do not think of livestock as being lethal or overly dangerous, accidents are bound to happen when there are so many cows in one country.
The general category of “mammals” are responsible for the killing of 60 people in that same 10-year period. This category does not include smaller animals such as dogs or rats, so we can only assume the mammals that fall into this category are kangaroos or drop bears. Kangaroos are known for their boxing instincts, but really, humans should fear a kangaroo kick. Their powerful hind legs with long, sharp claws can be very damaging to humans and other animals.
Other surprising killers on the list include dogs, which were responsible for 22 deaths from 2008 to 2017. Most likely these were from attacks, with the deaths occurring in children under the age of four and in elderly people. Owners of dangerous dogs have to ensure their dogs do not attack the public. In Victoria, owners can be jailed up to 10 years if their dog kills someone, or for up to five years if their dog puts someone’s life in danger.
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Other notable honorees include animals that we commonly associate with Australia, including hornets, wasps, and bees killing 27 people. Snakes and lizards killed 23 people, and crocodiles killed 17 people. It all goes to show that it’s a wild world out there.