Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
There are not many dangerous animals in the United Kingdom, even less when considering deadly animals. All in all, the wildlife of the United Kingdom is pretty safe overall. The most dangerous animals in the United Kingdom are not dangerous because of what they do to you, but rather what could result after doing what they do. What animal is the most dangerous depends on whether you count complications from encounters to be a body or if the animal itself must kill the victim?
There are not many death statistics to speak of when it comes to the UK. The animals in the UK are relatively safe to be around; they don’t harbor many venomous or aggressive animals. It’s hard even to find statistics on attacks and stings because they are generally so mild that they’re almost not notable. But, we have managed to compile them into the following:
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- Animals With Direct Body Counts
- Animals Whose Attacks Can Cause Fatal Complications
- Animals That Can Hurt You But Won’t Kill You
The 13 Statistics About Dangerous Animals in the UK
- Roughly five people are killed yearly in incidents relating to cattle.
- Around two people yearly are killed by dogs.
- Seagulls maimed several people and killed at least one dog.
- Bee, wasp, and hornet stings kill between two and nine people yearly.
- Some eight people catch Lyme disease daily from ticks.
- Deer cause 50,000 car crashes a year, of which around 20 are fatal.
- Horseflies don’t usually cause death, but they can spread parasites and bacteria.
- European adder bites can sometimes result in the amputation of a limb.
- Weever fish stings hurt a lot and can get infected if not cared for.
- Biting spiders hurt as well.
- Hairy caterpillars can give you a rash.
- The Portuguese Man-o-War can be found in British waters during the summer.
- The Lion’s Mane Jelly can deliver a pretty severe sting.
Animals With Direct Body Counts
1. Roughly five people are killed yearly in incidents relating to cattle.
(Health and Safety Executive)
Yes, you heard us correctly. Cattle are the deadliest animal in the UK, with a body count of four to five people every year. The Health and Safety Executive even admits that the underreporting of incidents within the agriculture industry means there could be an even greater toll attributed to these usually gentle giants.
2. Around two people yearly are killed by dogs.
(Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs)
The animals with the most yearly bodies to their name are dogs. The UK’s Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs reports 31 total fatal dog attacks since 2005. While two per year might seem like a small amount, there aren’t many animals that directly cause more deaths than yearly.
3. Seagulls maimed several people and killed at least one dog.
(B. Deering, Field Studies Council)
Though not a human body count, there are several accounts of Herring gulls in the UK attacking anyone who has food and even snatching small dogs away from their owners. The increasing viciousness of seagull attacks has left people in the UK dumbstruck trying to figure out a way to live in peace with the “sky rats”.
Animals Whose Attacks Can Cause Fatal Complications
4. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings kill two to nine people yearly.
(National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence)
The cause of death for bee, wasp and hornet stings isn’t the sting itself but an anaphylactic reaction to the venom after stung. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence estimates that these two to nine deaths account for 25% of all yearly anaphylaxis-related deaths in the UK.
5. Some eight people catch Lyme disease from ticks daily.
(Health and Safety Executive)
The Health and Safety Executive reports around 900 cases of Lyme Disease in the UK yearly. However, the estimate is that the actual number is between 2,000 and 3,000. Current Lyme disease treatments mean that the disease is rarely life-threatening, but the disease can still be pretty severe when left untreated.
6. Deer cause 50,000 car crashes per year, of which around 20 are fatal.
(British Deer Society)
The exact number of car crashes involving deer are unknown in the UK. The number exceeds 40,000 and may be as high as 74,000, according to the British Deer Society. Of these crashes, it’s estimated that around 20 are fatal yearly.
Animals That Can Hurt You But Won’t Kill You
7. Horse-flies don’t usually cause death, but they can spread parasites and bacteria.
(National Health Service)
Horse-flies have a nasty bite that doesn’t just hurt; they can also carry parasites and bacteria that the horse-fly ingested elsewhere. Depending on the area the horse-fly is found in, they can take equine infectious anemia virus, some trypanosomes, filial worms, Loa loans, and even anthrax.
8. European adder bites can sometimes result in the amputation of a limb.
(British Medical Journal)
European adder bites haven’t resulted in a death in the UK since the 1970s, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. The plethora of available antivenins and general mildness of the venom means that most people recover with few lasting symptoms.
However, when left untreated, a severe envenomation can result in persistent or recurring shock. The venom can result in disability or loss of the affected limb.
9. Weever fish stings hurt a lot and can get infected if not cared for.
(British Medical Journal)
Weever fish are the bane of coastal swimmers in the UK. Their backs are adorned with a row of spines that deliver a nasty sting. Most weever fish stings come from someone unknowingly stepping on one while wading in the shallows.
Weever fish stings should be disinfected thoroughly to make sure the venom is drained. The crux of the pain will come on about an hour to two hours after the sting and lessen from there on out.
10. Biting spiders hurt as well.
(British Association of Plastic Surgeons)
The UK isn’t home to any consistently dangerous spiders; even the Loxosceles can vary in severity from nearly symptom-free to quite severe. That being said, the bites will still hurt pretty badly and, if not cared for, can become infected or necrotic.
11. Hairy caterpillars can give you a rash.
(Health Protection Agency)
There are no recorded deaths attributed to the Hairy caterpillar but coming in contact with their hairs can give you rash and make you uncomfortable for a while.
12. The Portuguese Man-o-War can be found in British waters during the summer.
(Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science)
The Portuguese Man-o-War, a colonial jelly species related to the jellyfish, has been found washed up on shore along the coast of the UK. Beach-goers all across the UK are being warned about the presence of the Man-o-War in the waters and along the shorelines.
While the sting of the Man-o-War hasn’t clocked any deaths in the UK, there have been fatal stings occurring in the past in places where the Man-o-War is more common.
13. The Lion’s Mane jellyfish can deliver a pretty severe sting.
(International Paramedic Practice)
Though significantly less famous than the legendary Man-o-War, the Lion’s Mane jellyfish can deliver a severely painful sting. The sting is not usually life-threatening. Still, it is recommended that people who receive a severe or large sting seek medical attention.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dangerous Animals in the UK
Are there no deadly venomous snakes in the UK?
The only venomous snake natively found in the UK is the European adder. No other venomous snakes have been found in the UK. European adder bites can be fatal in rare cases, but there have been no recorded deaths from the European adder in the UK since the 1970s.
How many biting spiders are there in the UK?
There are 12 species of spiders that have been recorded biting humans in the UK. This is out of a total of 650 known species in the UK. The most venomous of them is the false widow spider. Thankfully, the false widow’s venom is very mild unless you are allergic to it.
Are cows aggressive?
Cows are generally not aggressive unless they feel threatened. This is especially true of mother cows when their calf is present. Cows are usually docile animals. However, walkers should avoid coming too close to any unsecured cows, especially if walking a dog.
When it comes to wildlife, the UK might be considered exceptionally safe. There are few to no dangerous species, and the advent of modern medicine has made it easier than ever to survive encounters with animals that would historically be life-threatening.
This is not an excuse to disrespect nature. Just because an animal doesn’t pack life-threatening venom doesn’t mean they can’t do a number to you if you don’t give them the respect they command.
Featured Image Credit: ConstanceDeFrance, Pixabay