- Bas Leenders/Flickr
The world is obsessed with sharks. Just look at the popularity of horror flicks like Jaws and the less critically-acclaimed but surprisingly popular movie, Sharknado.
But when Bill Gates posted an infographic ranking the world’s deadliest animals to his blog in 2014, one statistic really caught our eye: Crocodiles are 100 times deadlier than sharks.
Numbers of fatal encounters with wildlife are extremely hard to tabulate, given that most places have inadequate reporting. But according to wildlife ecologist James Perran Ross of the University of Florida, officials estimate that crocs kill about 1,000 people per year – 100 times more than the 10 people sharks kill per year.
Here’s why crocodiles are much deadlier than sharks.
While both animals are carnivorous ambush predators that sit and wait until the perfect meal comes around, the motivation and method of their attack is much different.
- Ravi Jandhyala/Flickr
Sharks, on the other hand, are easier to fight off because they are just as scared of us as we are of them. If they encounter a human, they’ll typically give an exploratory bite and then move on, allowing a window for escape.
Sharks are also much less likely to attack humans in general. Of the 375 different species of sharks, only about 30 have reportedly attacked humans. And of these, only about 12 are considered to be dangerous when they encounter humans.
- Enrique Calvo/Reuters
This difference may stem from the fact that crocodiles are extremely territorial, and will kill any intruders, including humans. Sharks, on the other hand, tend to be loners, roaming the vast ocean in search of food and places to hide.
There’s also the fact that crocodiles breathe air, so they can run onto land to snatch an unsuspecting bystander and submerge them underwater to kill them. Sharks have to rely on their prey already being in the water, a place you’re much less likely to be.
Crocs can also hide underwater for up to two hours, giving you little notice that they’re lurking. Sharks have that giant dorsal fin that sticks out of the water, giving you the universal warning sign that it’s time to get out of there, and fast.
- Esin Üstün/Flickr
There’s also the simple fact that shark attacks are extremely rare. You’re more likely to be struck by lightening or get stung by a bee than to be attacked by a shark.
But sharks and crocs aside, there’s actually one animal that’s even deadlier than the rest. And you may be surprised to find out which animal it is. Check out the video below to see the answer (it’s not humans).