Life is summed up in a relentless struggle for survival and, especially for animals, this means permanent daily battles with death, in a hostile environment in which everything that seems threatening or prey must be eliminated.
Most of animals can easily kill a human being by territorial defense, self-defense, heat, panic, such as African buffalo, elephants, cats and others, but even domesticated bulls can also be stupidly aggressive. However, some reasons, such as age, injury or hunger, can lead predators to approach men, whom they have a deep acestral fear, and to see them as an alternative source of protein. The consequence is that, some them, perhaps due intelligence or courage, may eventually kill a person and feed on him, realizing how fragile we are and then starting to kill people to feed, becoming serial killers, or man-eaters.
Generally, it is man himself, for various reasons, that destroys ecosystems in an uncontrollable manner, decreasing the amount of food available to prey and, consequently, to predators that lead some predators to start killing humans in order to survive.
1. Saltwater/Nile crocodile/Alligator/Caiman
Large crocodilians like alligators and crocodiles attack humans who wander too close to the river’s edge. Crocodiles kill by dragging their prey into the water and drowning them with a vicious death roll. Nile crocodiles have been found to attack 275–745 times a year in which 63% are fatal, compared to the Saltwater croc’s 30 attacks per year in which 50% are fatal. American alligators and black caimans are also responsible for a number of deaths each year. So if you live in Africa, Asia, or any other place home to large crocodilians, stay away from the water!
The panthera genus includes lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars and snow leopards who have been known to hunt and kill humans fairly often each year. While jaguars and snow leopards aren’t famous for killing that many humans, lions, tigers and leopards are the ones to watch out for.
It is estimated that tigers kill 50–60 people per year while lions kill around 100 people each year. Leopards on the other hand are more obscure as they attack at night but quite a few have been reportedly killed by these silent killers.
As a result of these attacks, workers often wear masks on the back of their heads which deters these felines who usually only attack if they can get an ambush. Another honorable mention would be the cougar who is not a panther.
3. Polar bear
While grizzlies and black bears seem to attack more people per year, this is because they actually live around humans and even then they rarely kill for food. Polar bears on the flip side are way more dangerous but live around relatively few people.
What makes polar bears so dangerous is the fact they are obligate carnivores and will hunt down prey unlike the grizzly and black bears who eat mostly plants. Polar bear who have no fear of humans due to little contact with them, have been known to hunt down people who enter their territory, tracking them down for many miles. But since few people stray into polar bear territory and bears prefer to stay away from large settlements, attacks are quite rare.
Hyenas are rather timid around humans compared to big cats but will still attack them. They have been known to attack people when other food is scarce and seem to target women, children and infirm men. Still, they are very capable of taking down an adult male human.
Large constricting snakes like pythons and anacondas have been known to attack humans on rare occasions. These large constricting snakes seem to usually target weaker people but healthy adults have been found to be consumed by them.
6. Komodo dragons
Attacks on humans by Komodo dragons are very rare since they live on isolated islands but they still regard us as prey. Still, these predators pack a punch and have been know to kill and consume people. They have also been known to dig up graves and devour corpses.
There are plenty of other animals that will eat humans if their an easy target, but it’s usually not worth it for then to bother with the hunting and killing us part – they just dig in on a body if they find one.
So there you have it! All the main animals that have been known to attack and kill humans like prey. There used to be more predators that hunted humans like wolves but guess what we humans did? We hunted them to the point where they feared us too much. So remember, if you’re exploring the African Savannah, Asian jungles, Canadian north or any other wilds, always watch your back!