Friday, July 29, 2005

And now for something completely different

From one of my favorite sites, Live Science:

Top 10 Deadliest Animals

10. Poison Dart Frog: Just like you've seen on late night bad cable movies, some tribes in rainforests (the Choco Indians) actually do dip their arrowheads in frog poison to make deadly weapons (Darts shot through blowguns), which is probably how these frogs, aka phylobates terriblis, came to be called poison dart frogs. Poison dart frogs are bright yellow, and the poison they produce, batrachotoxin, is a slimy neurotoxin that oozes from their backs, where it successfully discourages would-be predators. The bad news is that the neurotoxin is so deadly that the amount produced by a single frog could reportedly kill 10 humans or 20,000 mice. the good news is that the toxin isn't very effective at penetrating human skin, so you'd be unlikely to die if you touched one of these critters by accident, unless you had an open cut on yoru hand or decided to lick your hand after handling one (yeah, right...yuck!). It's best to avoid all small colorful frogs in the wild, though, as most of them produce toxins of one sort or another. However, if you're into vivariums and take 'em home to keep as pets, they lose their toxicity...unless you also bring an unending supply of a certain ant that's an essential component of their diet in the wild.

9. Cape Buffalo: Fight or flight may be the human response to fear, but the Cape Buffalo's response is C-H-A-R-G-E! The average cape buffalo weighs in at around 1500 pounds, and sometimes they're much heavier. As if that weren't enough, they also have two big, sharp, pointed horns on the top of their heads. A single charging cape buffalo is dangerous, but if a herd of thousands stampedes in your're a goner. Cape buffalos have reportedly killed more big game hunters in Africa than any other African animal.

8. Polar Bear: Polar bears are BIG. Adult males average 8-11 feet long and usually weigh between 500 and 1100 pounds, although they can weigh as much as 1600 pounds; females are smaller, averaging 6-8 feet long and weighing between 350-600 pounds. Females usually give birth to twins, but unlike humans, gestation is just 2 months and the newborns are tiny: 12-14 inches long, weighing in at just over a pound each. (UNFAIR!) Polar bears have a sense of smell that's a hundred times better than ours, and they can run at up to 40 mph (but only for short distances). When mad, they hiss like cats!

7. Elephant: Elephants are the second tallest animals on earth, growing up to 13 feet tall, and they can weigh as much as a school bus (10,000 to 14,000 pounds, i.e., 5-7 tons). They often live for over 60 years. Female elephants have big babies (thank goodness some other species do!): after a gestation of 21.5 months, the average birthweight of a newborn is 265 pounds. Elephants are generally good natured, but elephant-human conflicts reportedly result in over 500 human deaths each year, worldwide.

6. Australian Saltwater Crocodile: Also known as the Maneating Crocodile, the Australian Saltwater Crocodile is the largest living reptile. Females grow up to 10 feet long and adult males are usually between 10 1/2 and 19 feet long, although males as long as 27 feet (!!!) have been documented. This is reportedly one of the most aggressive and dangerous tyupes of crocodile, and will eat almost anything it can catch, including humans. Although it'll eat humans, one website stated that more people are killed each year by vending machines than by Australian Saltwater Crocs. NOTE: I was curious to see this statistic, as I'd recently read the same thing regarding sharks. Soooooooooo, I wondered, how dangerous are vending machines? According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, "there were 37 known vending machine fatalities between 1978 and 1995, for an average of 2.18 deaths per year by vending machine." CPSC also reported 113 injuries by vending machine since 1978, all as a result of consumers rocking or tilting the machines in an attempt to obtain free soda or money.

5. African Lion: Males average 4 feet tall at the shoulder, 8 1/2 feet long (not including the tail), and weigh an average of 450 pounds. Females are much smaller, usually weighing less than 300 pounds. Lifespan in the wild is 15-18 years. African lions are reported to be almost perfect hunters.

4. Great White Shark: They get BIG: the average size is 10-15 feet long, but they've been found up to 21 feet long and weighing over 5,000 pounds (that's 2 1/2 tons!). Their mouths average 3-4 feet wide and contain about 3,000 teeth. Great whites are thought to be able to live 30-40 yers. They're called apex predators, meaning they're at the top of the food chain; they have no natural predators. They have an amazing sense of smell, and can reportedly smell a single drop of blood in 25 gallons of water (leading me to think sympathetic thoughts for the anonymous, underpaid research assistants stuck with the groundwork on establishing that particular statistic beyond a reasonable doubt). As fearsome as they are, Great whites have reportedly been responsible for just 64 deaths, worldwide, since 1876. They've also reportedly been responsible for 212 recorded non-fatal attacks worldwide.

3. Australian Box Jellyfish: This creature, aka the Sea Wasp, is pale blue and transparent, and therefore almost invisible in the water. With a "head" approximately the size of a salad-bowl, it can have up to 60 tentacles. The tentacles are long (approximately 15 feet each) and each tentacle has 5,000 stsinging cells with enough toxin to kill 60 humans. The stings reportedly cause excruiating pain, usually followed by death within 2-3 minutes.

2. Asian Cobra: This is the snake that's most often used by snake charmers. It's found mostly in India and Pakistan, where it's valued for eating rodents that feed on crops. It's not the most venomous snake in the world; in fact, it doesn't even make the top 10 list for venomous snakes. At a maximum length of about 6 feet, it's also not one of the biggest. Nevertheless, the Asian Cobra is definitely one of the deadliest snakes in the world, reportedly responsible for a majority of the 50,000 deaths reported annually, worldwide, by snakebite.

1. Mosquito: Mosquito-borne diseases kill more people each year than any other single factor: worldwide, over 2 million people die annually. Malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis are some of the diseases than can be transmitted to humans via mosquitoes; they're also a vector by which heartworms are transmitted to cats and dogs. There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes worldwide, with approximately 170 species in North America. Mosquitoes are OLD; they're estimated to have been around for 100 million years, or rather, the species is estimated to have been around that long, individual mosquitoes live from a couple of days to a month, depending on the species. Only the females bite.

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Sam said...

Hmmm... how ironic to find that the deadliest creature to man is one of the smallest creatures and so abundant. To find that it's the female of the species that causes all the trouble somehow doesn't surprise me that much, LOL!

Robin said...

I notice they don't have humans on that list.

Marc said...

"Hell has no wrath like a woman scorned".....

Yes, once scorned, a woman can be classified as a "man eater".....
I thought for sure, Lawyers would be on their cousin, The Termite, they will happiply eat you out of house and home!

Marc :)

Paul said...

There is some television show doing computer generated fights between these animals--lion v. tiger, saltwater crocodile v. great white, rhino v. elephant. I had read recently that more people in Africa were killed by hippos than any othe large animal--especially women laundering clothes in rivers. Hemingway agrees on the buffalo. I have to go now, my National Geographic is here.

Lily said...

Eeew.... I hate the "state bird" lol (You can only get that if you've lived in Minnesota lol)


Paul said...

paulmcs...c'est moi

emmapeeldallas said...

Aha...I wondered who that was! Thanks!


sierrajazz said...

I don't have cable but bet this is much more informative than Animal World, Animal Kingdom or those other cable shows... so now I know where to come to get the latest of the animal world. Very interesting, always good to know what can kill you.

cheryl said...

INTERESTING SITE/ All the above are deadly! I got bit by the brown recluse spider, on my face, I looked like I was beaten with an ugly stick! Thats what I am scared of! olollol