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Some Interesting Statistics on Human Fatalities

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  • Some Interesting Statistics on Human Fatalities

    This is few years old, but after a 16 year study by the North Carolina Zoos and Sanctuaries there are some interesting statistics regarding human fatalities. I think it's interesting how giant constrictors fit into this. I think we all know how this report will end with regards to large constrictors, but I still wanted to share the find:

    In the year 2000, the following accidents accounted for loss of human life:
    Pedestrians crossing the street 5,870
    Riding a bicycle 740
    Riding a motorcycle 765
    Occupying an off-road vehicle
    (e.g., on go-carts, three-wheelers, etc.,) 717
    All transport accidents 46,749

    Over the 16 years of this study, a total of more than 747,000 people were killed in vehicular related accidents – the population of a large city.
    The most dangerous animals to humans are other humans. Here is a brief list of murders and methods of murder in the USA during the year 2000.

    Assault by firearm 10,801
    Assault by sharp object (e.g., stabbing) 1,805
    Deliberate acts of poisoning 2,557
    Deliberate acts of hanging, strangulation and suffocation 104
    Unspecified acts of murder 4,159
    All assault-related deaths 16,762

    It would seem that animals are not actually the most savage of beasts. 268,192 people were deliberately killed by other people, predominately other family members, during the 16 years covered by this study. One could make a case that the wrong animals are being put into cages.
    Relative to fatalities caused by other animals in one year, death from captive Big Cat attack was lowest of all:

    Animal rider (e.g., horses) or occupant of animal-drawn vehicle (e.g., horse drawn carriage) 97
    Bitten or struck by a dog 26
    Bitten or struck by other mammals (e.g., cattle) 65
    Bitten by a venomous snake 12
    Bitten by a venomous spider 5
    Stung by bees, wasps and hornets 54
    Venomous plants 9
    Collision with an animal in a car 147
    Big Cats 1

    Thus, the probability of being killed by any kind of animal is amazingly low compared to the other the possibilities of fatality. Human beings kill many, many times more human beings than animals do, but Big Cats seem to kill the least number of people of all.

    Ironically, human beings kill themselves in far greater amount than other people kill them:

    Death from intentional self-harm (e.g., suicide): 29,350
    It comes as a shock to realize that an amazing 469,600 people are so unhappy as to deliberately kill themselves in the USA, and yet this was the approximate number of suicides during the 16-year period covered by this study. People are their own worst enemies.

    Among recreational events, interaction with Big Cats, or indeed, any form of wildlife, whether in the field or in captivity, ranks lowest of all. In the year 2000 we saw the following "fun" fatalities.

    Death from fireworks displays 5
    Death from boating mishaps 1,096
    Drowning while swimming 1,702
    Accidental discharge of firearm
    (e.g., death from shooting accidents) 776
    Sports-related deaths on the playing field 277

    Large constricting snakes have been kept successfully by the American public as pets for over 50 years. At present they are one of the most popular pet items. The human mortality cause by these animals is less than that caused by dogs by some 25 times, and comparable to that caused by the Big Cats. Less than 0.5 human lives were taken by large-snakes for each year of our 16-year study. However, there is an important difference between the statistics for Big Cats and large-snakes. While there are an estimated 15,000 Big Cats in America, an amazingly healthy number, there are an overwhelmingly greater number of large-snakes. Probably more than 1,000,000 large-snake species are kept in captivity in all 50 states. Large-snake species are presently owned by about 1 in 27 persons. Most of these reptiles live comfortably sluggish and unresponsive lives in people’s homes, accepting an occasional meal for their conversation value and committing no greater atrocity than a monthly excretion. As a whole, constricting snakes almost match the number of dogs in sheer numbers. They are more convenient than mammals, however, do not have to be walked, and thrive in small enclosures in urban dwellings, hence their popularity. Most captive examples do not achieve their full size, since owners can control this to some extent by underfeeding them. This does the snake no harm, and in fact, the smaller examples of the large species seem to live longer lives than their larger counterparts.

    However, some constrictors are fed plenteously and do reach great size. At 12 feet in length they are capable of killing an adult person. Occasionally owners are very foolish with these pets, and just as people can be foolish with cars, guns, fireworks, power tools, or any other possession, you will sometimes read of a man or woman who has tried sleeping in bed with his giant python, or let it crawl unattended through the house, or some other bizarre stunt, and been summarily squeezed to death. The animals attack as a feeding response, rarely from aggression (in which case they only bite and do not constrict). All in all, however, these reports are so rare that herpetologists like myself are continually seeking them out for the purposes of recording what seems to be an unusual scientific event.

    The means by which large snakes kill their prey is through suffocation, but as "good suffocators" of human beings they fall woefully short of other means. More than 12,000 deadly suffocations occur each year, or about 192,000 in 16 years. These range from people inhaling objects, to children putting their heads in plastic bags, to acts of deliberate self-hanging. Snake just can’t compete with figures like these.

    In all, the giant constricting snakes take even less human lives than Big Cats. For every one person killed by a large snake, 26 people are killed by dogs, 65 by angry cows, and 97 people die in horse related accidents. Even spiders kill 5 times more people than large-snakes. Death from giant constrictors is so rare that the National Safety Council does not afford it a separate category in their statistics, but lump it in with accidents involving the alligator and crocodiles, where it is called "being bitten or crushed by other reptiles."
    Read the entire article here: Clicky

  • #2
    Re: Some Interesting Statistics on Human Fatalities

    Great interesting info Mike

    Lar M
    Boas By Klevitz



    • #3
      Re: Some Interesting Statistics on Human Fatalities

      Very interesting read! I thought the bee sting count might be higher. A lot of people have severe allergic reactions to them and can go in to shock and die pretty quickly if they dont get help soon. I see a few cases of bee/hornet/etc fatalities a year on the science channel specials they do bees from time to time.

      As for big cats the only time I hear about attacks by them is when you see the occassional YouTube video or similar of someone at the zoo who wants that "closer look" so that number wasn't too shocking to me.

      Reading the full article I too wonder why they are counting unverifiable claims as incidents (citing the "Exotic cat on door step" and 'wildcat attacks car') but they have no clue what it was? Seems like another pointless committe who just inflate numbers.