What animal kills the most people?

Currently the mosquito kills more people every year than any other animal.

Here are some numbers:

  • over 5,000,000 people worldwide died every year at the height of the Black Death in 1349 (probably bubonic plague bacterium carried by rat fleas in turn carried by black rats), eventually killing 30% to 60% of all humans in Europe.
  • 1,200,000 people worldwide died in motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2004, as estimated by the WHO. 41,900 people in the US died in motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2007, according to the CDC.
  • 781,000 people worldwide die each year from malaria (from single-celled Plasmodium protists carried by mosquitoes) according to the WHO.
  • 20,000 to 94,000 people worldwide die each year from snakebites, according to Kasturiratne et. al.
  • 52,495 people in the US die from influenza (a virus) and pneumonia (most often caused by pneumococcus bacteria) in 2007, according to the CDC.
  • 34,598 people died from suicide in the US, and 18,009 people died from homicide in the US, in 2007 according to the CDC.

However, other animals kill far fewer people than you might think from popular stories and news coverage:

  • (?) Hippopotamus
  • 150 people in the US die each year from deer-vehicle collisions, according to a 2006 CNN report.
  • 34 people in the US died from dog attacks in 2010.
  • 3 people in North America per year were killed in bear attacks, on average, in the years 2000-2009.
  • 2 people worldwide per year were killed in wolf attacks, on average, in the years 2000-2009.

Either the common Mosquito or Rat, through carrying disease. Perhaps they are not directly responsible, but they are, nevertheless, responsible for most human deaths with the spread of plagues and diseases such as Malaria.