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These Are the Deadliest Animals on Earth

Whether you're traversing the African Savannah, exploring the rainforests of Latin America, or just city-hopping across Europe, you might encounter some pretty impressive animals. Even though it's always best to not get close to any wild animals, you definitely want to stay far away from the most dangerous animals on the planet.

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01Mosquitos

Portrait of a man getting swarmed by mosquitos VisualCommunications / Getty Images

Mosquitos themselves are little more than annoying insects, but the diseases they carry kill hundreds of thousands of people each year. Malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, and dengue fever are just a few diseases these tiny creatures can carry. It's best to check for specific precautions before traveling to any area where mosquitos live, but strong insect repellents and mosquito nets can help prevent you from getting bitten.

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02Tsetse Fly

Close up of a Tsetse fly on car window. Rwanda. Tsetse flies are known to transmit African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) to animals and human. stellalevi / Getty Images

Small but deadly, experts consider the tsetse fly the world's most dangerous fly. Tsetse flies bite and spread parasites called Trypanosomes which cause African sleeping sickness, which, if left untreated, can be fatal. If you're visiting Sub-Sarahan Africa, protect yourself by wearing light-colored clothing and avoiding bushes during the day.

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03Nile Crocodile

A crocodile basks in the shallows of Lake Chamo, at Nechisar National Park in southern Ethiopia. Joel Carillet / Getty Images

Nile crocodiles cause more human deaths annually than sharks which isn't surprising considering their enormous jaws and aggressive nature. These large reptiles live in Africa, and adults can weigh up to 1700 pounds. Of the larger animals, they cause the most human deaths on the continent. Stay away!

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04Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus by lesser flamingos, side view Darrell Gulin / Getty Images

With their sharp teeth (tusks) up to 20 inches long and weighing as much as 9,920 pounds, it's easy for hippos to crush humans to death. They're the most dangerous large animal in the world and account for approximately 500 deaths every year in Africa.

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05Black Mamba

Black Mamba Nicole_Marschall / Getty Images

Black mambas are shockingly quick when they decide to attack. In fact, they can move as fast as 12.5 miles per hour. These snakes prefer seclusion, but they'll attack viciously if they decide you're a threat. Be warned: multiple bites mean enough venom to cause death in 20 minutes.

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06Dog

Two barking mutt dogs near the fence, selective focus Ejla / Getty Images

Dogs might be man's best friend, but unfortunately, aggressive mauling kills thousands of people each year. It's best to avoid dogs you're not familiar with, even if they appear friendly at first. Warning signs include bared teeth, raised fur, and growling.

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07Elephant

An elephant bull kicking up sand as a warning after a mock charge Jami Tarris / Getty Images

Far more elephants are killed by people than the other way around. However, when threatened by poachers or tourists, elephants may attack by charging and trampling people. Before they charge, these giants flap their ears as if annoyed, but make no mistake: it's aggression.

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08Cape buffalo

Kruger National Park, South Africa - African buffalo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) Edwin Remsberg / Getty Images

Nicknamed the Black Death, the Cape buffalo is another large African mammal that is normally happy to graze in gentle herds. When threatened, however, young male buffalos will attack fearlessly, often from behind, killing hundreds of people each year.

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09Deer

Deer Crossing Road bobtphoto / Getty Images

Not deadly themselves, but their skittish nature means deer often get involved in serious auto accidents. In fact, collisions between cars and deer result in hundreds of human (and deer) fatalities a year, so it is best to stop if you catch one in your headlights.

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10Freshwater Snails

A pond snail floating on the surface of the water. Akchamczuk / Getty Images

Yet another transmitter of parasites, freshwater snails, harbor the parasitic worm that causes schistosomiasis. Every year, this disease infects nearly 250 million people in Asia, Africa, and South America. After contact with fresh water, the worms get lodged in the human body, causing symptoms from anemia and fatigue to fever and internal inflammation.

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11Funnel-Web Spider

Funnel-web spider (Atrax robustus), Australia Robin Smith / Getty Images

Found in Australia, the funnel-web spider is incredibly venomous. Their bites cause the human nervous system to break down and die in as little as 30 minutes. Their fangs are so large they can pierce shoes, and since the spiders often make their homes near humans, be sure to avoid them.

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12Scorpion Fish

Indian Lionfish, Pterois miles, Scorpaenidae, Myanmar, Andaman Sea, Indian Ocean Gerard Soury / Getty Images

Also known as rockfish or stonefish, the scorpion fish lives on the seafloor. The venom in their spines is extremely toxic, so be careful when swimming or snorkeling. Humans can die from the venom in less than an hour, so if you make contact, seek anti-venom immediately.

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13Lions

Lioness, attacking kudu prey. Etosha national park. Namibia. Martin Harvey / Getty Images

Lions view humans as potential prey, and they kill hundreds of people a year in Africa. Even though they spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping, they hunt in packs and easily bring down zebras and buffalo, so a human is easy pickings. When on safari, listen to your guides and leave the lions alone.

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14Scorpions

Scorpion kamil / Getty Images

Scorpions are yet another small but incredibly deadly animal. Even though only 30 of the 1,500 species of scorpions produce venom toxic enough to be fatal, it's best to avoid all scorpions to be on the safe side. In fact, scorpions are estimated to kill approximately 3,000 people a year.

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15Humans

People (motion blurred) crossing the street at the busy Gangnam shopping and business area of Seoul. The Gangnam District is the wealthiest neighborhood of Seoul and features in the worldwide hit 'Gangnam Style' by rapper, Psy. EschCollection / Getty Images

Wildlife might be deadly, but humans have been killing each other since their beginnings. More than 400,000 people die from homicides alone each year, and in some countries, it's the leading cause of death. In fact, more humans kill humans than any other animal except the mosquito. Be careful when you're traveling and ensure you speak to experienced guides and locals about how to keep yourself and others safe while abroad.

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