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The Most Dangerous Animals in the African Wild

Updated on November 18, 2011

The Most Dangerous Animals in the African Wild

Africa is a huge continent. It has a very temperate climate which gives a scorching hot across the equator with very little rain or shelter from the sun. Surprising in this area there are such a varied range of natural terrains, including the likes of the grass plains, desert, or even volcanic craters.

Much of these areas are untamed by humans and the natural order of life continues how it has done for many thousands of years. Any human away from the safety of his or her defences is at real risk of the wild. If you were to step into the middle of the Serengeti with nothing on your back your chance of survival is pretty close to zero. Towns and cities have developed in more stable areas; but human beings are curious by nature and want to see the wild. They go on safaris through these dangerous plains and stay in hotels right in the middle of the bush.

As rare as it is for something to go wrong, things do happen occasionally so if you are planning to go to any area of the world that is largely in the control of the wildlife please take extra care; ensure you have a tour guide who knows how to get you out of trouble and make sure you look after yourself.

When faced with a deadly animal of Africa there is often not much you can do besides trying to bluff your way out of the situation or to run. The best thing is to avoid any situation ever arising and to do that just use common sense. Don’t go walking through the game reserves. If your car breaks down stay with it, you are safer inside it than outside. Make sure you use an official game reserve driver. They know where they are going, and how to resolve a lot of problems. Most importantly they always keep a radio with them and communicate with all other local drivers if you get into a spot of trouble. Always make sure your driver tells your lodge which route he is taking you on. If you don’t return they can send out a search party, and they will then know where to look for you.

Africa is bustling with life. There are so many different species of wildlife that come in all shapes and sizes. Compiling a list of the most dangerous is not easy. A large proportion of animals could kill you in the wild; so just because it doesn’t make my list below doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you!

Black Mamba
These snakes are one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. It is known for being one of the snakes that doesn’t show any fear. It will not hesitate to strike. Adults can reach around eight foot long, and they can strike at a speed of around twenty kilometres per hour. They are actually an olive brown colour but their mouths are a jet black which is shown when they attack. They hold enough venom to strike twelve times in a row; and each time they release enough venom to kill a dozen men. Without anti-venom you will die very quickly.

Cape buffalo
These beasts are said to have killed more game hunters than any other animal. They charge at humans and gore their victims to death. They never keep alone, and if you see one you know there will be more. They weigh over 700kg and even Lions don’t dare attack them. They are responsible for at least 200 deaths per year. Really keep clear of these beasts.

These beautiful cats are not the biggest threat in the wild as they are usually pretty scared of humans but they do often attack if they fear for their young, or if you are small and look like a meal to them. You can usually frighten them off by throwing objects at them or with loud noises. If they happen to attack you just aim for their nose or pull their ears. It will scare them enough to run away.

This prehistoric creature is the ultimate killer. It is responsible for between 600 and 800 fatalities every year. It is truly a master at the kill. It will approach you and you won’t even realise it. It will launch at you out water with terrifying speed and latch on. It will hold you tight and do a death roll, spinning you around, disorientating you and biting into you. To avoid don’t swim in areas where there is even a chance of a crocodile.

These creatures are usually very friendly but be warned they can turn in a second. Especially in the wild when they sense you as a threat. They weight on average over six tones and their tough skin and large tusks can do huge amounts of damage. They are responsible for up to 500 deaths a year. To avoid a problem try to avoid getting to close, don’t startle the elephant and watch cautiously. If a large elephant faces you, and all the other elephants behind it also turn towards you start to worry. If they flap their ears close to their skin it means they are preparing to charge. Get out of there quick.

The central and western African Gorillas are as big as humans. They can weigh up to 600lbs and often move up to 25mph. They are faster, bigger and defiantly stronger than humans. Trying to escape is not easy. Like most animals noise can scare them away so making a loud racket would help. Jumping into water would also startle them.

These huge beasts are very dangerous. Not only do they have a mouth that opens to over four feet; but they run faster than human’s on land, and are very territorial. If you block a Hippo’s path back to water he is going to trample you. They will charge and trample over anything with huge speed especially if you block their line of sight to their calves. Just keep a watchful eye out and don’t approach to close at all. Stay at least 50metres away at all times even from your car. They have the body power to seriously damage cars and occupants.

These are some of the most intriguing and dangerous creatures in Africa. They will kill a man and eat a man. Sick lions are most responsible for human deaths. They range in size and strength and often the females are more responsible for the kills. They stalk their prey, hiding in tall grasses, then ambush when they have a clear line of site. The biggest way to protect yourself from a Lion attack is to ensure you always stay in your vehicle. They usually kill by strangulation, and they are only active for four hours every day. The rest of the time they relax and rest. Lions have no fear. They will attack elephants, and only a crocodile would dare attack it.

The Mosquito is the smallest killer in Africa. Maybe we think of it as a little pest that bites us occasionally leaving an enflamed mark but what we don’t realise is that there is an exchange taking place. The mosquito will take some of your blood, and in the process the disease he or she is carrying will be transmitted into you. In Europe or America this is not so much a problem as they don’t carry anything fatal; but in Africa it is a different story. They carry Malaria, Elephantiasis, yellow fever, dengue fever and the West Nile virus. All of these are really nasty and Mosquito’s are believed to be the cause of at least two million deaths a year. That equates to at least one death every fifteen seconds. To prevent these little killers make sure you sleep in Mosquito nets; and use combative sprays to protect the skin.

Puff Adder
These snakes are the deadliest snake in Africa. They are responsible for more deaths than any other snake. They are fairly fat snakes; and reach a length of around one metre. They have colour patterns that blend into dense growth very well. People will often step on them by accident as they walk. They have incredibly large fangs, and can inject enough venom to kill a man in a single bite. If you get a bite you need help as soon as possible; even if they venom doesn’t kill you the infection and gangrene you will catch will.

Rhinos are very angry animals. If you get to close; and they feel you are a threat, they will charge. They are very aggressive and when you charge they will go for you in a straight line. If you ever are faced with this situation either hold your ground and jump at the last moment or zig zag left and right as they will struggle to manoeuvre. They are more of threat when you see multiple Rhinos move into a defensive position. This means they put their backsides together and look out in different directions as if scanning the area.

Scorpions are little devils. There are over 1500 species in the world, but only 25 are regarded as being a serious threat to human life. Unfortunately some of those are found in Africa. Scorpions paralyse their prey with their venom which is released through its tail; and one of the African varieties actually spins its venom up to a metre so you have to be particularly careful. If the venom doesn’t kill you it will weaken you enough for other predators to get in. Scorpions are responsible for around 1750 deaths every year. Scorpions do tend to become more active at night; so be sure to be extra vigilant at night. Check your bedding before you sleep and if you are roughing it in the wild wear socks!

Spotted Hyena
These little carnivores don’t usually consider humans as prey when they are solo; but then among friends they will try. They are very agile and fairly fast. If they chase you make a lot of noise to scare them and try throwing objects at them. A weapon discharge should care them enough to stop them. Usually your driver will carry a gun if you are on a safari. These Hyenas don’t kill many humans, but they do kill a small amount every year.


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    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 

      5 years ago from New York

      Really? Cheetahs? They are very fearful of humans. Unless you are trying to catch one or measure 3 feet tall you have little to worry about.

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 

      7 years ago from Mason City

      A real great article. I enjoyed reading about all of the interesting animals. Great advice for anyone to follow who plans on going to Africa. Very informative.

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image


      7 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      A great read full of wonderful information. I truly enjoyed it. Voted up.

    • ContentVista profile image


      7 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Nice article..!! Interesting read..!!


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