Survival Survival Skills

100 Bad Ways to Die

Nile Crocodile
The Nile Crocodile is the largest croc in Africa and can grow to more than 18 feet in length. These crocs are known for ambushing prey such as zebras and gazelles, along the river's edge, but they've also been known to attack humans. Photo: bobisbob
King Cobra
The King Cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world and can grow up to 18 feet in length. Each year about 50,000 people die from snake bites in India and the King Cobra is one of the lead contributors to this death toll. Photo: Hari Prasad
When people talk about dangerous African rhinos they're talking about black or white rhinos. They're big, fast, built like a tank and armed with dagger-like horns. You do not want to get one of these big boys angry. Photo: Frank Vassen
Inland Taipan or Fierce Snake
This Australia native is the most venomous land snake on earth. The venom delivered in a single Taipan bite is enough to kill up to 12,000 guinea pigs. The Taipan's venom is 50 times as toxic as a cobra's and can kill an adult human in less than 45 minutes. Photo: xlerate
Bengal Tiger
Bengal tigers can grow to massive sizes, with one big cat for Nepal officially weighing 857 pounds. Even with their large size, Bengal tigers are stealthy and lightning fast. Some notorious tigers in India have killed hundreds of people. Photo: Koshyk
Blue Krait
The Blue Krait can be found in Southeast Asia and Indonesia and is a highly venomous snake. Fortunately, it's nocturnal and usually docile during the daylight hours, but Blue Kraits have been known to attack when startled. The majority of its bites are fatal.
Whitetail Deer
Whitetails kill far more people than any other game animal in North America due to car accidents. But from time to time, deer attack people as well. This usually occurs in the rut when bucks are super aggressive and looking for a fight. Photo: emery_way
Shortfin Mako
Makos are sleek, powerful killers and known to be ferocious fighters. They can grow to be 13 feet long, can swim up to 22 mph and can jump 20 feet out of the air. They also sport a mouthful of nasty teeth that are visible even when their mouths are closed.
Russell's Viper
This snake, also known as Daboia, is found throughout Asia. It is one of the four most venomous snakes in India and kills more people than almost any other snake in the world. It can grow up to five feet long and its Hindi name means "The Lurker." Photo: Jwinius
Saw-Scaled viper
This is a highly venomous viper snake found in the Middle East and Asia. The snake is usually nocturnal and is known for hiding under rocks and fallen logs. When a threat gets too close, they make a sizzling sound as a warning. Photo: TimVickers
According to National Geographic, at least 500 people are killed by elephants each year, and the numbers are going up. There's not much you can do against an angry charging elephant, unless you have a really, really big gun. Photo: Stuart Bassil
New research has suggested that lions in certain areas have incorporated humans as a part of their regular diet. This means that lion attacks in some reaches of Africa are not the exception, but the rule. While accurate numbers of lion-related deaths are hard to come by, the figures range in the hundreds each year. Photo: Corey Leopold
Australian Brown Snake
The Australian Brown is an extremely venomous snake from Australia, and just 1/14,000 of an ounce of its venom is enough to kill a human. Symptoms of a brown snake bite include: abdominal pain, breathing and swallowing difficulty, convulsions and renal failure. These snakes are known for being startled easily and are not afraid to attack any potential threats. Photo: Rob Ahern
Hyenas are Africa's most common large carnivore and can be a nasty quarry. They run in packs and are mostly scavengers, however they are also skilled hunters and have been known to kill people. Photo: appenz
Tiger Snake
The Tiger snake, found in Australia, has a very potent neurotoxic venom, which can cause paralysis or death in only 30 minutes. It's estimated that about 60 percent of its bites are fatal. Photo: benjamint444
Hippos have been said to kill more people than any other big game animal in Africa. They look slow and docile, but hippos have incredibly powerful jaws and can turn aggressive in a flash. In 2003 the former Miss South Africa was attacked and gored by a hippo while paddling down a river. Photo: nilsrinaldi
Mexican Beaded Lizard
This is one of the few venomous lizards in the world. But luckily the Mexican Beaded Lizard doesn't usually attack people unless it is provoked. It lives in Guatemala and Mexico and can grow up to two feet in length. Photo: PiccoloNamek
Black Mamba
Black mambas are typically brown, but they get their name from the blackness of the inside of their mouths. They're found in eastern Africa and live in rocky hills and savannas. They can grow up to 14 feet long and they are one of the fastest snakes in the world: they can slither along at up to 12.5 miles per hour. Black mambas are highly venomous and if not treated, their bites are fatal almost 100 percent of the time.
Puff Adder
The puff adder is a venomous viper species found in Arabia and Africa. It has a short stocky body compared to most snakes and a blunt nose. The puff adder has long fangs that sink its venom deep into its victims. It is responsible for more snakebite deaths in Africa than almost any other snake.
Cape Buffalo
They don't call the cape buffalo the Black Death for nothing. Big buffs are tough to kill and are known for charging when wounded or threatened. Photo: fwooper
Leopards are not as big as lions or tigers, but they're still considered one of the world's most dangerous animals. They are lightning fast and regularly charge instead of running away when wounded. Sick or wounded leopards also target humans as easy prey instead of hunting wild animals, inspiring the proverb: "He who dines with the leopard is liable to be eaten." Photo: Caelio
Polar Bear
Since polar bears live in remote areas, human attacks are a fairly rare occurrence (there are several cases of zoo polar bears attacking visitors). However many experts say polar bears are the most dangerous bear species. They are opportunistic killers and are bigger and more powerful than grizzly bears. Photo: Connormah
A single piranha is not much to be concerned about, but when a school of piranhas breaks into a feeding frenzy, it's time to get out of the water. Although the tales of piranhas devouring a human in seconds are greatly exaggerated, the fish have attacked swimmers and bathers in South America. Photo: alexdi
Eurasian Wolves
The Eurasian wolf is a subspecies of the Gray Wolf, and today its main home range is central Asia. They form smaller packs than wolves in North America, and while wolf attacks are an extreme rarity in the U.S., throughout history wolves have killed hundreds of people in Europe and Asia. Photo: wolf_kolmarden
Sloth Bears
The sloth bear may not look like a killer, but it's been known to attack people unprovoked, often mauling its victims badly around the face and neck. The species is native to India. Photo: kelson
Australian Box Jellyfish
This jellyfish, also known as the "sea wasp," is the most venomous sea creature known to man. Although it's hard to imagine that such a frail-looking creature could be deadly, each of its tentacles is full of enough venom to kill several people. Through the years the species has killed thousands of people. Photo: Japon
Saltwater Crocodile
The saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile on the planet and can grow to more than 23 feet in length. This is plenty large enough to make an easy meal out of a human. More than 2,000 people are killed by crocs each year. Saltwater crocs are found ranging from northern Australia to southeast Asia.
Poison dart frog
This little frog is native to the rainforests of South America. They vary greatly in color and level of toxicity. The most venomous frogs have venom that is strong enough to kill 10 men. They're called dart frogs because natives used the frogs' poison to tip their darts. Photo: liquidghoul
Blue-Ringed Octopus
This octopus is about the size of a a golf ball but it carries enough poison to kill 26 adult humans. It's considered to be one of the most venomous animals in the world. The blue-ringed octopus can be found in the Pacific Ocean ranging from Japan south to Australia. Photo: Jens Petersen
The stonefish is the most venomous fish in the world, storing toxins in its many spines. Symptoms from a stonefish sting include: shock, paralysis and tissue death. They live in tropical marine waters in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Death Adder
There are seven different species of these Australian snakes. A death adder's bite causes paralysis and can completely shutdown the respiratory system in just six hours. Their tail looks wormlike and they use it to attract prey animals. Photo: Petra Karstedt
Komodo Dragon
Komodo Dragons have been around for millions of years and closely resemble dinosaurs. They can grow 10 feet long and weigh 300 pounds, making them the heaviest lizards on earth. They have deadly saliva that is full of bacteria. Dragons will bite their prey once and then let it go instead of struggling to kill it. Then they'll follow their wounded prey and wait for it to die of blood poisoning. It's estimated that about 2,500 people have been attacked by Komodo Dragons in the wild.
This fish has venomous spines, but for the most part, the venom is not fatal to humans. However it can cause vomiting, headaches and breathing difficulties. The fish is found in Indo-Pacific waters, but has recently made its way to the U.S. coasts. Photo: Jens Petersen
Asian Black Bear
Asian black bears, relatives to our American black bear, are generally herbivorous. But they have been known to violently maul people when provoked. Photo: Guerin Nicolas
Cudas can cruise at up to 25 mph and are armed with rows of piercing teeth. Occasionally barracudas leap out of the water and pierce unsuspecting fishermen. Some barracuda species can grow up to six feet in length. Photo: petersbar
Moray Eels
Moray eels can grow 13 feet long and spend most of their time lurking on the ocean floor. They attack humans out of self defense or when they mistake arms or legs for prey species. Typically these attacks are not fatal. Photo: Jens Petersen
Eastern Green Mamba
The green mamba isn't as well-known as the black mamba and it's smaller and less aggressive than its notorious relative. But a green mamba's bite can still be fatal to people and it can grow to six feet long. Photo: Danleo
Whitetip Shark
The oceanic whitetip swims warm deep ocean waters, but hangs out near the surface looking for food. Whitetips are known for being thrown into feeding frenzies that can mean certain death for an unlucky swimmer. Photo: oldakQuill
Sand Tiger Shark
Because sand tigers inhabit shallow waters, human encounters are not uncommon. They have violent-looking teeth for piercing their prey. These sharks are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Photo: Richard Ling
This small green venomous snake is found in Africa. Its bite can cause internal bleeding, external bleeding, headaches and even mental disorders. The boomslang's venom works slowly, which causes some victims to underestimate the seriousness of the bite. Photo: william warby
Cone Shell
This sea snail from the Australian coast has harpoons filled with lethal venom. While it looks like a totally harmless creature, the Cone Shell has been known to kill people.
Bottlenose Dolphins
Bottlenose dolphins can grow 14 feet long and weigh 1,100 pounds. They're smart and extremely strong swimmers. Despite their friendly looks, dolphins can be aggressive and sometimes beat up and kill harbor porpoises. Dolphins aren't usually a threat to people, but male dolphins do sometimes attack people out of jealousy when females are around.
Beaked Sea Snake
The snake is found in the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and seas around Australia. It has extremely powerful venom: four times stronger than a cobra's. It can grow up to five feet long and and its venom is strong enough to kill 50 people. Photo: insatiable
Jaguars are not known for attacking humans–in fact, they're rarely seen by humans. But the jaguar is still an apex predator and an expert at stalking and ambushing. Jaguars also have the most powerful bite out of any big cat. Photo: MarcusObal
Egyptian Cobra
This cobra isn't as big as the King Cobra, but its deadly none-the-less. This iconic snake's venom is strong enough to kill an elephant in only three hours. Bites to humans cause paralysis and death due to respiratory failure. Photo:
Gaboon Viper
This African viper is known for its extremely long fangs. The snakes grow to about five feet in length and with each bite they deliver a huge dose of venom. But despite their terrifying appearance, the snakes are not overly aggressive compared to other large venomous snakes. Photo: Brimac
Puffer fish
The puffer fish doesn't look very threatening, but keep your distance–it's one of the most poisonous animals on the planet. A sting from a puffer fish will result in difficulty breathing and possible death. Amazingly, some people eat these fish, but if the dish is prepared incorrectly it can be fatal.
Fat-tailed Scorpion
This is one of the deadliest scorpions on Earth, and they're found in the Middle East and Africa. They grow to about four inches long and are responsible for several deaths every year. Photo:ChrisO
Funnel Web Spider
This Australian spider has nasty fangs than can penetrate a shoe. They are known for being aggressive when provoked. Their venom is strong enough to kill a child in only 15 minutes. The spiders earned their name because they build funnel like burrows from their webs. Photo: Kim
Electric eel
This species is actually a knifefish, not an eel. The fish can pack powerful electric shocks producing up to 500 volts at a time. This shock could be deadly to an adult human. Photo: Stevenj
Here are 50 bad boys–and girls–that may ruin an otherwise grand day outdoors. Avoid them at all costs, or pay a painful price. Yellow jackets nesting belowground can number in the thousands. Disturb them and they'll swarm, attack and ruin your day–and quite possibly your life.
Wild hogs get a lot of press for being big, bad and abundant. They deserve the hype, and are equipped to put a "hurtin' on ya"–as they say in wild pig country.
There are more than 1,500 species of scorpion worldwide. Not so many are in the U.S., but they pack a wallop of a sting and are of the stuff of nightmares.
Ah, the python. Though hit hard by winter's severity in South Florida last year, they're still are slithering along just fine, thank you very much. Well over 100,000 are still flourishing in the wilds of the Sunshine State, and they stretch to more then 18 feet long.
Black bear numbers have surged in recent years, and they are currently in a woodlot near you. One recently was discovered only a few miles from New York City.
Other shark species get more press, but bull sharks are big, abundant and are certified man-eaters.
The hag moth, or "monkey slug," caterpillar is about a half-inch long and looks harmless enough. But don't touch it–it packs a powerful sting.
The American alligator has a much larger population distribution than many people believe, extending from Mexico along the Gulf Coast states up through the Carolinas. Everywhere they are a potential hazard, as any toothy lizard that grows to half a ton would be.
Rattlesnakes have a much larger range than many people realize. Some variety of rattlesnake is found in almost every state, and in Canadian provinces as well. Watch your step!
Cougar populations are increasing annually, and hikers and mountain bikers regularly encounter them. Watch your back!
The brown recluse spider is a bad dude that doesn't get nearly enough press. Its bite eats away human flesh, and can take many weeks to recover from. The spider is commonly found in cabins and older homes, places where people live. Shake your clothes out before putting them on, and don't reach into dark cabin corners.
Portuguese man-of-war are beautiful and commonly wash up on U.S. beaches. Their long tentacles are poisonous, however, and can make a day at the beach a real pain.
The distinctive and beautiful saddleback caterpillar has stinging hairs all over its body, especially on the "horns" that poke out at either end. Their hairs can inject venom from poison sacs carried at their base, and the very painful sting can cause humans problems for days. They're common throughout the eastern U.S. from summer into fall.
The cottonmouth water moccasin is one of the more aggressive venomous snakes in the U.S. Abundant throughout the Southeast–living near lakes and rivers, creeks, bogs and marshes–the moccasin is a fearsome snake.
The America bison isn't common, but in places like Yellowstone National Park, the animals injure more people annually than bears. Death is not uncommon when tourists having a Kodak moment get too close to a one-ton bull.
Tarantulas look more dangerous than they really are, but their bite is painful, and campers in arid areas are wise to check their clothing and shoes before dressing for a day outdoors.
Coastal fishermen commonly catch stingrays while fishing bait on bottom. Most are easily released by cutting the fishing line, but watch that tail. The stinger is large and the tail extremely flexible. The sting is excruciatingly painful, but can be quickly neutralized by pouring hot water into the wound. On a boat, the water jet outflow from an outboard is a serviceable hot water antidote.
African bees have invaded much of the Southern U.S., pushing out native honeybees. They're extremely aggressive, attack in large swarms and can be deadly.
South America isn't the only place where anacondas live. They're in South Florida, too, like the python. Because of its size and enormous water habitat, the Sunshine State is destined to have the big reptiles for a long time to come.
The woolly, pussycat-like appearance of the puss caterpillar belies the numerous sharp, venom-laden spines hidden beneath its luxuriant coat of soft hairs. Because these caterpillars appear as innocuous pieces of fluff, children and adults are easily tempted to pick them up. These innocent-looking critters have the power to make grown men cry in agony. Its sting can trigger an immediate onset of excruciating, unrelenting pain, radiating to the lymph nodes in the armpit or groin, and then to the chest. Though only rarely representing a true medical emergency, these symptoms have the feel of a genuine, serious, life-threatening event. As a result, it is common for victims of puss caterpillar stings to seek medical assistance at hospital emergency rooms.
Although revered almost everywhere they thrive, a bull moose weighing a ton or more is nothing to mess with. Hikers and fishermen commonly encounter moose, and while rarely does danger ensue, do not get between a bull and a cow, or between a cow and a calf. Keep your distance.
Black widow spider bites are severe and the insects are common throughout much of the world and all of the United States. Its bite is 15 times more severe than that of a rattlesnake, but deaths are few. Most at risk are children and people in ill health.
Rare is the U.S. citizen who encounters a great white shark, but one bite can ruin your day. This famed star from the movie Jaws is a showstopper, with weights pushing two tons and lengths three times the height of a man.
Copperheads account for more than one-third of all venomous snake bites in the U.S., but the odds of dying from a copperhead bite is only one in about 5,000. Still, beware of this beautifully colored reptile, found from Mexico to Illinois, New York to Florida.
The three-quarter-inch-long spiny oak caterpillar comes in a wide variety of colors, and ranges from Quebec to Florida, Texas to Missouri. Its spines have poison and some people stung by them have a severe allergic reaction. Place tape on a sting area to remove the spines, and put ice on the site to reduce pain and swelling. If an allergic reaction continues, seek medical attention immediately.
Every outdoorsman tangles with mosquitoes, but be warned that they are responsible for more deaths worldwide than any other bug or animal. In the U.S., disease is rarely spread by mosquitoes. Still, West Nile virus, encephalitis and other deadly diseases are transmitted to humans via mosquito bites.
Gila monster bites are rare, occurring mostly in very arid states of the Southwest. But the rugged-looking lizards have neurotoxic venom–like a cobra's–and that's nothing to fool around with.
The mud dauber is a large wasp with a stinger, but it's a solitary and non-aggressive bug that rarely pesters humans. But mud daubers do pose a danger, however, when they build their mud nests in aircraft vents. More than one small airplane has suddenly fallen from the sky because a fuel line was clogged by a dauber den.
The smeared dagger moth caterpillar has an ominous name, and it packs a painful sting in its hairs. It can vary in color, but look for yellow patches along each side and raised red spots on its back. The smeared dagger moth caterpillar is known as the smartweed caterpillar, for one of its preferred host plants. It inhabits beaches and marshes from Florida to Texas to California.
Thankfully the American crocodile has a limited range, primarily wild areas in South Florida. They're extremely aggressive, and in Everglades National Park have been known to steal and eat sportfish hooked and played by anglers.
Gray wolf populations have boomed in recent years, and many outdoorsmen believe that one day gray wolves may be as common as black bears throughout much of America. Today, the Rocky Mountain West, Canada, Alaska, parts of the extreme northern Midwest and Northeast are where they're prevalent. In packs, they are fearsome.
Several varieties of coral snake inhabit the U.S., mostly in extreme southern climates. Bites are rare but dangerous–the neurotoxic venom is the same as a cobra's.
Ticks are common almost everywhere in the U.S., and their bites are a nuisance, and can spread dreaded diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
Hornets have good-size nests and, if disturbed, will swarm, attack and sting. The potential for disaster is great, and they should be avoided when possible.
No predator is more fearsome-looking than a hammerhead shark. This proven man-eater is unpredictable, abundant and grows huge, commonly weighing up to 1,000 pounds and growing 15 feet or more.
Aahhhh, the little coyote. Chilling to hear at dawn and dusk as they yodel and chase deer. But in big packs, at night, if you're camped outdoors–well–watch your back.
Boa constrictors are popular pets, but when they get too big and owners release them into the wild, they are a potential problem. Plenty of them are found living wild, big and free in South Florida, roaming right beside pythons and anacondas.
The io moth caterpillar is another little bugger full of stingers that can be a real pain. Allergic reactions can occur, and medical attention needed. It's commonly found from Florida and Texas and up to Canada. It feeds on a wide variety of trees, plants and grass. Leave it alone!
Every farmer will tell you to "stay outta the bees." They make delicious honey, but have the potential to swarm, sting and send you to an early grave.
The beautiful and big tiger shark can eat a man whole. Even juveniles are dangerous, and can take 50-pound bites of meat from a target. They weigh up to nearly a ton, are found worldwide, and in the U.S. are seen from New England through Florida, the Gulf Coast and California.
Wasps of various types are common throughout America, and they sting people daily. Because big nests are common, and are often found in old buildings, boat dock areas and cabins, potential for multiple stings is very real and very dangerous.
While the spines from almost any catfish can cause a nasty, painful wound, the marine gafftopsail catfish has especially venomous dorsal and pectoral fin spines. Fishermen often catch "gafftops", and handling them is not advised. Some people who cut lines and have the fish land on a dock or boat kick them back into the water, but a fish spine can penetrate their shoe and result in a painful sting. Medical treatment is sometimes needed, and an allergic reaction can occur.
Everyone knows that bumblebees–those black-and-yellow buzzers–have stingers, but rarely do they seem life-threatening. But if you stumble upon a nest and rock their cradle, they turn ugly fast and multiple stings are the result.
Raccoons have that cute face and cuddly look, but trust them not. In many regions, especially Florida and the Deep South, the vast majority of raccoons are rabid, and in urban areas they are unafraid of man. Watch your pets, too, as a big coon can make quick work of most dogs and, of course, cats. They are tough, fast and have a mouth full of bad teeth.
Fire ants are tiny wingless wasps that have a potent venomous stinger and mandibles with poison, too. One ant is a pain, but they swarm fast and bite often. Allergic reactions are common, and deaths have resulted, with some cases showing victims with more than 3,000 stings.
Feral or wild dogs are a serious problem throughout the United States. Once a dog "goes wild" and has pups, after a generation or two, well, they're wolves that look like Fido. They're smart, aggressive and rarely fearful of man. Mostly they prey on deer and small game animals, but don't corner them or disturb them when over a "kill."
The botfly is so small, it uses a common house fly as a larval host. But they stick to people, too, and are plenty yucky when discovered emerging through your hide. They won't likely kill you, but you may want to die when having one extracted.
The stinging rose caterpillar is commonly found on rose, apple, cherry, oak, hickory and dogwood trees from New York to Illinois, Texas to Florida. Its black-tipped spines have poison glands at their base, and when touched cause pain described as some of the most severe from caterpillars in North America. Colors vary from yellow to red.
Brown widow spiders have venom twice as potent as a black widow's venom. However, they do not inject as much venom as a black widow, are very timid and do not defend their web. The brown widow is also slightly smaller than the black widow. It ranges through the South, and has been found in Australia, South Africa, Cyprus and Japan.
Walk carefully in grizzly country. Sows and cubs are out-and-about throughout much of the northern Rocky Mountains during summer. Steer clear of them. Click here to view the aftermath of some of the Deadliest Bugs >>

There are a lot of things that can kill you in the outdoors if you’re not careful. This list includes everything from dangerous big game to small snakes and spiders.