12 Animals That Are Less Dangerous Than You Expect

Aug 5, 2016 by Ian (Day Styles)

Lions, sharks, and bears have an outsized reputation for ferocity—but are they as dangerous as people think they are? Of course, all of these animals are still terrifying under the right circumstances, but some species have a reputation for deadliness that they don’t deserve. These days, you’re far more likely to get hit by a car than eaten by bear! Check out twelve frightening animals that are less dangerous than you might expect.

Bears

Fatal encounters with bears are surprisingly rare given their terrifying size, speed, and claws! These creatures deserve their intimidating reputation, but they aren’t as deadly as you might think. Over the past decade, bears have only killed two people on average each year. When you think about how many people go camping or hiking on a regular basis, that’s nothing—reassuring, right? In fact, black bears are very shy and will almost never attack unless they are surprised in close quarters. However, if you encounter an aggressive black bear, it’s actually more dangerous if you play dead—instead, try and fight back and frighten the timid creature.

On the other hand, brown bears (especially grizzly bears) are more unpredictable. They are especially dangerous if you’re in their territory or near their cubs. With a brown bear it’s recommended that you play dead, don’t fight, and don’t run—bears are a lot faster than you think. However, it's still the case that bears are far more likely to avoid you than anything. If you’re heading into the woods, ask if there are any bears in the area and remember to take the proper precautions.

Lions

Lions and tigers and bears all have a pretty deadly reputation. Lions are even called “The King of the Jungle.” However, lions are far less intimidating than their reputation suggests. Those magnificent male lions with luxurious manes? They spend most of their time sleeping while female lions do most of the hunting! Lions are proficient hunters but they aren't the undisputed king of the grasslands. Lions can be defeated and even killed by hyenas, crocodiles, and cape buffalo, and they avoid rhinos, elephants, and hippos. You might think that lions are dangerous to people, which is true—we would never recommend getting close to an adult lion, let alone sticking your head in their jaws. But lions won’t attack humans unless there is something wrong with their biology or environment. While there are deadly encounters with lions in Africa where villages encroach on the bush, man-eating lions are rare. Hippos are more aggressive than lions and, according to some sources, kill more people than any other animal in Africa!

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