Unfortunately, real life tigers are no Tony the Tiger. While the above tiger cub looks innocent as can be, these felines are notorious for ᴍᴀᴜʟɪɴɢ an astonishing amount of humans. Tigers of the World estimates that tigers are responsible for nearly 373,000 human ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜs between 1800 and 2009. Most ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs occur on zookeepers, likely because of combination of two factors: instinct, and the boredom caused by captivity.
The spots of the leopard make it such a beautiful crᴇᴀᴛure, but along with tigers, lions, and cheetahs, these felines are not afraid to sᴛʀɪᴋᴇ. Leopard’s view direct eye contact as a challenge and will sᴜꜰꜰᴏᴄᴀᴛᴇ their prey. In 2012, one leopard was suspected of ᴇᴀᴛɪɴɢ 15 people in Nepal—including a 4-year-old boy the animal dragged into the jungle.
As the fastest animal on land, it’s a no-brainer that the cheetah can be one ᴅᴇᴀᴅly crᴇᴀᴛure when it wants to be. While they have the ability to maim, cheetahs are actually very shy crᴇᴀᴛures, and has caused few reported human ꜰᴀᴛᴀʟities. However, seeing as you won’t be able to outrun them, it’s probably better safe than sorry to keep your distance—and a lot of it, at that.
4. Polar Bears
A cute bear rolling around in the snow is nothing but cute… right? Nope! Polar bears are the most carnivorous members of the bear family, and the most likely to stalk a human as food, too. There have been nearly 70 confirmed polar bear ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs in the last century, and while it seems like a low number for 100 years, it’s only because polar bears are not that accessible to humans. Get rid of the sea ice, however, and we might be headed for some real trouble.
Sure, full-grown sharks aren’t exactly “cute,” per se. But baby sharks? No question—they’re adorable. (Exhibit A: this little fella above.) But that doesn’t mean they’re not ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs. On average, there are around 80 shark ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs every year and five human ꜰᴀᴛᴀʟities. While they are many other things in life more likely to ᴋɪʟʟ humans, sharks are one of the most common animals to do so.
From circuses to Disney, elephants are depicted as animals who live for fun. However, they’re actually more ᴅᴇᴀᴅly than they are entertaining. One study by an Animal Kingdom worker concluded that people are three times more likely to be ᴋɪʟʟed while working with elephants than being on the front-line as a police officer. Their incredible strength combined with sudden outbursts of anger make this animal one of the ᴅᴇᴀᴅliest on earth.
It’s pretty obvious that lions are some ꜰɪᴇʀᴄᴇ crᴇᴀᴛures. (They’re not “king of the jungle” for no reason, after all.) However, when looking at a tiny lion cub, it’s nearly impossible not to smile. What can we say? The Lion King made lion cubs look friendly! Plus, look at that little face! Don’t you just want to skip the little fella up? On average, lions ᴋɪʟʟ about 250 people annually.
Chimpanzees have an affectionate and needy side as infants, which can make them appear cute and child-like to the average person. However, by age five, chimpanzees are stronger than most human adults. Their natural aggressive nature has led to many critical and ꜰᴀᴛᴀʟ ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs—especially to those who try to keep chimps as pets.
Along with other large animals, like elephants and hippopotamuses, rhinos are also considered one of the most ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs animals in Africa. Their poor sight make them even more ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs since they cannot tell if a passerby poses a thrᴇᴀᴛ or not—often leading them to ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ innocent bystanders.
While hyenas often sound like they’re laughing, coming across one of these crᴇᴀᴛures is no laughing matter. Zoologist Stephen Brend told the BBC that hyenas have jaws as powerful as grᴇᴀᴛ white sharks, and they devour every bit of their prey (yes, even the ʙᴏɴᴇs). In fact, hyenas are known to ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ the homeless in Ethiopia—and even, on one occasion, ʀɪᴘᴘᴇᴅ ᴏꜰꜰ the scalp of one man while he was sleeping.
Three Little Pigs made it clear how big and bad wolves can be—and that popular fictional interpretation isn’t far from reality. Due to their pack hunting tactics, wolves can pretty much overtake any enemy. Luckily, however, while ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs have happened over the years, there have been no human ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜs recorded in North America from wolves during the past century.