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February 25
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Between frightening movies like "Jaws" and tales about deadly animal encounters, some fear the wild animal kingdom because of potential danger, Phys.org reported.

According to a 2015 poll from Ipsos, about half of Americans said they were "absolutely terrified" of sharks, and almost 40% said they're scared to swim in the ocean because of sharks. But according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, there were only 11 shark-related fatalities world-wide in 2021. You're more likely to be killed by a falling coconut, the Australian Institute of Marine Science writes.

While larger animals like sharks or hippos may seem a likely culprit, the animal that kills the most humans per year is actually the mosquito.

Mosquitoes can transmit life-threatening diseases like malaria and dengue, and the World Health Organization estimates mosquitoes that carry these diseases kill 725,000 people a year.

Mosquitoes carry many threatening diseases, like chikungunya, dengue, lymphatic filariasis, Rift Valley fever, Yellow fever, Zika, malaria, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile fever, WHO reports. Other insects, like fleas, lice and ticks, also transmit similar diseases.

Mosquito deaths occur in some regions more than others. For example, African countries make up about 96% of malaria deaths, according to WHO.

Dengue, chikungunya and malaria are also prevalent in Southeast Asia.

After mosquitoes, these animals are most deadly to humans each year, according to Discover Wildlife:

  1. Freshwater snails: 200,000 deaths per year
  2. Saw-scaled viper: 138,000 deaths per year
  3. Assassin bugs: 10,000 deaths per year
  4. Scorpions: 2,600 deaths per year
  5. Ascaris roundworms: 2,500 deaths per year
  6. Saltwater crocodiles: 1,000 deaths per year
  7. Elephants: 500 deaths per year
  8. Hippopotamus: 500 deaths per year
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