Want to Meet the World's Most Lethal Animals? Go Here

Sometimes, animals can be completely unpredictable. A family on safari found that out the moment a lion approached their car door…and then opened it.

If the idea of a lion hopping in the passenger seat of your car gives you pause, how would you feel getting close to one of these predators, poisoners and otherwise deadly animals? 

Polar Bear in the wild [Churchill, Manitoba]

Destination | Churchill, Manitoba
Animal | Polar Bear
Tourists to Churchill and nearby Wapusk National Park of Canada are taught not to mess around when it comes to northern Canada’s wildlife. This goes double for the polar bears that flood the town each fall as they wait for Hudson Bay to freeze over. When you tour the Arctic, you are instructed to stay far away or get up close to the polar bears in a specially designed Tundra Buggy. Visitors who tent overnight at Wapusk National Park must do so with a licensed guide and need to stay in tents protected by elephant-strength electric fences. 

Box Jellyfish [Great Barrier Reef, Australia]

Destination | Northern Australia
Animal | Box Jellyfish
The box jellyfish is one of Australia’s most dangerous animals. If you’re in deep water, you’ll probably drown before you can be rescued. If you’re lucky enough to be pulled out, the severe pain can send you into shock, keep you from breathing, or stop your heart. Unlike other jellies, the box jellyfish has eyes and can propel itself. This means if something is moving, it will come try to eat it. Your best bet for avoiding stings is to stay out of water during the November – April wet season and always swim with others. Common white vinegar is the first line of defense when you’ve gotten any kind of jelly fish sting including the deadly box jellyfish. 

Deathstalker [Negev Desert, Israel]

Destination | North Africa
Animal | Deathstalker
With a name like deathstalker, this scorpion is pretty self-explanatory. Its straw yellow and blends into the earth until it reaches out to lash you with its blue-tipped stinger. Children in the North African and the Middle Eastern regions where the scorpion lives are particularly susceptible to its venom and are more likely to die than adults. If you come in contact with a Deathstalker, you’ve got to be rushed to the ER right away for an anti-venom. Even strong, healthy adults will suffer for months after the bite with joint pain, severe headaches and drowsiness. 

Rhinoceros at Kruger National Park [Limpopo, South Africa]

Destination | Africa and Asia
Animal | Rhino
Rhinos can’t see very well, so if you startle them by standing too close, they will lash out. Big teeth, bigger horns and a whole lot of body weight to back them up make rhinos a fearsome opponent when they are scared or angry. Don’t get anywhere near this big animal. Even though it munches on grass like a horse or a zebra, you don’t want to underestimate its ability to kill or maim you.  

Cape Buffalo in the wild [Serengeti National Park, Africa]

Destination | Africa
Animal | Cape Buffalo
People have been trying to domesticate Cape buffalo for centuries and have met with little success. This big, horned creature is strong enough to flip over cars and kill lions. They travel in herds and if you upset one buffalo, the others will come to its rescue. Hunters, hikers and wildlife viewers have got to be especially careful around Cape buffalo. If they are angry, they will sometimes lie in wait to ambush you. They also have good memories and will come after you later if you’ve harmed them or their calves. 

Grizzly bears at Brooks Falls [Katmai National Park, Alaska]

Destination | North America
Animal | Grizzly Bear
Meeting a grizzly bear in the woods can be a bit freaky if not downright dangerous. It depends on how both you and the bear react. Protect yourself from bears by traveling in groups, singing, shaking bear bells or otherwise making a lot of noise. Don’t approach bears and keep your food bearproofed in a secure chest or a bear bag. If you are traveling through Alaska, British Columbia or other areas with large grizzly populations it’s a good idea to bring bear spray and know how to use it. Stay alert and back away when you see a grizzly. 

Siafu Ants [Congo, Africa]

Destination | East Africa
Animal | Siafu Ants
Ever wanted to make your dream of being eaten by ants a reality? Ok, just kidding, but seriously, siafu ants are intimidating and deadly when they work together to take down large pray. While they could “eat” a human, it would take some doing and the human in question would already have to be in pretty bad shape. The jaws of siafu ants are so strong that East African Maasai people traditionally used the ants to stitch up wounds. As the ants bit the flesh, they’d break off the ant body and leave the jaws pinching things back into place. 

Stonefish hiding in coral reef [Australia]

Destination | Australia, Oceania
Animal | Stonefish
Australian wildlife is famous for being deadly, but stonefish are one of the most poisonous animals on the planet. Underwater, they look just like the rock that surrounds it. When disturbed, the fish secrets neuro-toxins from its spines. It’s safe to say, you do not want to step on this creature while in the water, or even playing on the beach. When you are swimming around the Great Barrier Reef, keep your feet up both to protect the coral and to protect yourself from the stonefish lying in wait on the coral.  

Carpet Viper (Echis carinatus) [Mangaon, Raigad, Maharashtra, India]

Destination | Northern Africa, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka
Animal | Carpet Viper
Yikes, snake bites. Yikes, snake bites that cause you to bleed out of all your pores and lose kidney function. Luckily the carpet viper’s anti-venom works quite well – especially on strong, healthy adults.  Even so, you do not want to mess with this snake. It whips through the sand in a motion called sidewinding, which makes it fast and unpredictable. Most carpet viper deaths occur because the victim is far from medical care. If you are exploring remote areas, beware.  

Brazilian Wandering Spider, World

Destination | Central and South America
Animal | Brazilian Wandering Spider
Wandering spiders have some of the spider family’s most deadly venom, although an anti-venom is available. What makes these spiders tricky besides their size and their hairy legs, is their vast range. They don’t maintain a web, they walk in search of food. This means that the spider could end up in your house, car, boot, wherever. If you are traveling through the tropics, empty out your boots and check before you reach your hands into dark corners and boxes. 

Looking for more deadly encounters? Here’s Where You’ll Find the World’s Most Dangerous Creatures


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Carmen Fifield

The delight of finding an unknown park, a captivating history museum or a fantastic desert means exploration is never far from Carmen Fifield’s mind. Carmen’s favorite travel memories include biking to historic sites on the island of Guernsey, huffing and puffing up the stairs to the Great Wall of China and eating the most delicious crab cake ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Carmen’s Favorite Travel Tip: Say goodbye to airplane food and tuck some fruit and your favorite sandwich into your carry-on.