Only a small number of animal species are capable of bringing down a human one-on-one. An even smaller number of species deliberately seek to harm humans. Whenever we hear on the news that some beast decided to eat someone, or attack a person for invading its territory, a certain type of fascination occurs. This fascination can also be accompanied with total surprise, should the animal under discussion belong to a species generally thought to be of little or no threat to a human being. This list presents ten instances of people who were killed by such animals, cases that made the headlines and that prove to us that, as far as some species are concerned, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to their temper and their ability to harm us.
10. Assaulted by an angry beaver
In Europe, the beaver was excessively hunted for a long time, and in some countries the species became extinct. Recently, the number of beavers has been on the rise due to hunting bans as their territories becoming increasingly overlapped with private properties. In Belarus, for instance, the beavers have become surprisingly territorial, and a number of attacks on humans have lately made the headlines, one of which resulted in a death. In 2013, a man died as a result of a beaver attack: the animal’s sharp teeth severed an artery in the victim’s leg, which led to the latter’s demise shortly after. The victim was a 60-year old fisherman who wanted to photograph the animal, thinking, as most of us would, that the rodent had no intention whatsoever to launch any type of offensive. A word of warning from experts warns us that beavers are likely to feel threatened during the daytime and outside of the water, as these mammals are most comfortable at night and when they have a water source nearby to offer the chance for a hasty retreat.
9. Kicked to death by a domestic ostrich
Out of all the birds, the cassowary of Australia and New Guinea is considered the only species that has the power and determination to kill an adult human being; however, its larger African cousin, the ostrich, is not to be underestimated. In 2000, in Louisiana, an old farmer was attacked and killed by one of the ostriches his son kept on his farm. It is believed that the attack came from the fact that the animal, a male ostrich surrounded by a harem of three females, suddenly felt that his mates were threatened by the farmer’s presence, who entered the enclosure. The bird then proceeded to protect his family by unleashing a series of powerful kicks at the unsuspecting 90-year old intruder and his wife, the former succumbing to his wounds and the latter being left in critical condition. The sheriff’s deputies promptly shot the animal after the farmer’s corpse was discovered.
8. Bombarded by a monkey
In 2009, a Thai man who trained a rhesus macaque to pick coconuts for him so he could sell them and make a profit was killed by his pet in what can be considered an act of animal revenge. Sources say that Leilit Janchoom, aged 48 at the time of the incident, was a cruel man who used abusive methods for training and punishing the poor primate. As a result of the constant maltreatment, the monkey – locally known as Brother Kwan – decided to climb a tall coconut tree and, instead of bringing the fruit down to its owner, dropped it from a considerable height, shattering the man’s skull. Janchoom died quickly after the incident, according to the local newspapers. This case shows that some animals are indeed capable of planning vengeful acts and use their cunning for finding ways to inflict fatal damage on stronger opponents by making use of their surroundings.
7. Wounded eagle shoots hunter
The following incident took place in 1922, in Chile, during a hunting expedition in the mountains. A soldier who was on the hunting party managed to bring down a large eagle and proceeded to claim his trophy; however, the bird was only wounded, and a wounded animal is never to be underestimated, especially raptors, which are notorious for their fierceness and strength. As the soldier approached, the eagle attacked him and, during the attack, the bird clutched the man’s gun with its talons, discharging it accidentally. The bullet entered the soldier’s thorax and he died in the arms of his friends. While in this case, as in the previous, the death occurred not because of the animal’s physical attack, both cases underline the fact that an animal that feels threatened should not be taken lightly.
6. Pushed off a cliff by a goat
Mountain goats are some of the shyest0 and most elusive creatures, living high on the mountain cliffs away from humans and predators. In 2010, the only known case of a fatality involving a mountain goat took place, when mountaineer Bob Boardman was pushed off a cliff by a goat that exhibited an outstandingly aggressive behavior. Boardman was heard yelling by his friends, who came to his rescue and saw the man’s body lying down, with the animal standing over him. An off duty park ranger managed to scare the animal by throwing rocks at it, but the subsequent efforts to resuscitate Boardman were in vain. The aggressive ram was afterwards identified by the authorities (with the aid of the blood on its pelt – Boardman’s blood, actually) and shot by a ranger in a helicopter. Park rangers sometimes install warning signs that the animals should not be disturbed, but instances of violent goats have been rare, and so far this has been the only recorded fatality due to an attack of this species.
5. Mauled by a pair of donkeys
Donkeys may sometimes be a bit feisty, delivering the odd kicks or bite when displeased. But from that to being outright murderous there is a long way. In 2013, a Hungarian pensioner was brutally killed by a pair of donkeys that were apparently very annoyed by the fact that the man was driving a motorized cart. Sandor Horvath, aged 65, was disabled, and got around using his special vehicle. While traveling on a road near his village, the two animals suddenly assaulted him and dragged him off the cart. Afterwards, they continued to bite and trample him until he was dead and the wounds of the attack were so horrendous that, when the villagers found his body, they first thought that wolves were the culprits. The local authorities decided after the autopsy that the donkeys were responsible for the man’s death and the animals were soon put to sleep.
4. Kicked and stabbed to death by deer
In 2011, Donald Dube, a farmer from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, was killed by one of the eleven white-tailed deer he kept in an enclosure. The male deer was probably in rut, as during this period they tend to be extremely territorial. The viciousness of the attack is what makes this case noteworthy, as the animal was roughly the same size as the attacker, and was not injured or cornered. Although the attack was shocking for its ferociousness (the victim having been trampled as well as stabbed by the animal’s antlers), male deer are rarely inclined towards outstanding acts of violence against humans outside of the mating season.
3. Killed by bird equipped for cockfight
In cockfights, the birds have special very sharp metal spurs tied to their legs, so their attacks are significantly more damaging than they normally would be. In February 2011, Jose Luis Ochoa, aged 35, participated in a cockfight event held in Lamont, California, when his bird apparently stabbed him in the calf with the artificial spur described above. Because cockfights are illegal in California, medical attention was not immediately sought and Ochoa died of blood loss shortly after the accident, if indeed it was an accident and not a deliberate attack. There is very little information about this unusual incident, given the fact that the witnesses had quickly dissipated once the police arrived at the scene. Nevertheless, the local sheriff stated that in his twenty-four years of work in the police force, he never heard of anything similar to this case.
2. Drowned by leopard seal
Despite their enormous size and status as the top predator of the Antarctic waters, leopard seals are considered to be rather shy or inquisitive towards divers, and the instances in which they have attacked people have been extremely rare. In 2003, the first and so far only fatality due to these majestic mammals has been recorded, when British underwater researcher Kirsty Brown was dragged into the depths of the sea by a leopard seal. Brown was pulled onto a boat by her colleagues, who could not revive her. It appears that she died drowning. A leopard seal would have no problem dismembering a human, so some think that the animal was actually playing, while others believe that it mistook Brown for a small seal belonging to one of the species leopard seals frequently pray upon.
1. Rammed to death by an angry dolphin
For the last entry on the list, we recount an attack by an animal believed to by the friendliest and most intelligent being in the sea: the bottle nosed dolphin, a mammal whose inquisitiveness and lack of fear towards humans are matched only by the great apes. In 1994, in Sao Paulo, two male divers, Wilson Reis Pedroso and João Paulo Moreira, were attacked by an enraged male dolphin that was ironically known in the area for its friendliness. The animal charged the two victims, ramming its nose viciously into their torsos, which led to a fractured rib for one of them, while the other died from internal bleeding. Experts believed that the attack occurred because the male dolphin considered the divers to be its competitors in the race for territory and females; however, the real explanation is that Tião, the dolphin responsible for the attack, had been harassed repeatedly by other people in that area, and resorted to attacking the two divers due to this mistreatment. Although rare, dolphin attacks do take place, and many ocean life experts advise people to be more careful around these aquatic mammals.
Because he does not like work very much, the author of this list, Victor, collects rants about jobs and work on his brand new website www.therantbasket.com