The Animal Most Likely To Kill You From Each State

The Centers for Disease Control was thoughtful enough to compile a study of the deadliest animal by state, which was then made into a cute little coded map early in 2018. The map shows which animal is most likely to kill you by state, or at least what type of animal is the most dangerous.

The most common culprits are large mammals, domestic dogs, and stinging insects, and for some states the answer may be very different from what you would expect. However, it is important to note that the total number of animal-related deaths is pretty low, and about 20% of the states didn't actually have enough data to be included in the CDC's report.

The deadly animals in the US might not be a daily concern for most of us, but there isn't any harm in checking out which animal is most likely to kill you in your home state.

  • Alabama — Dogs
    Photo: apacheuk / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Alabama — Dogs

    In Alabama, the CDC's report lists a dog attack as the most likely cause of animal-related death. As hard as it can be to believe that a family pet could cause a tragedy, dog bites in the state are not unheard of.

    There were two dog bite fatalities in the state in 2017.

  • Alaska — Moose
    Photo: Ryan Hagerty / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Alaska — Moose

    One major misconception regarding Alaska is that bears are the most common killers. Although there have been several bear-related deaths in the past decades, a much more prolific threat is the state's high moose population. Moose collide with vehicles on a regular basis, and most of the time, they only cause property damage or minor injuries. However, between 2000-2010, there were 17 moose-related crashes that ended in fatalities, and 81 that caused major injuries. 

    The animals' large bodies put them right around the height of the average windshield, which means they can crash through and crush any passengers in the vehicle. A recent example comes from a man named Michael Rock of Chugiak, AK.

    He was driving along a highway in September 2017 when he hit a moose and his car rolled off the road. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, and the moose's body was recovered on a nearby bike path.

  • Arizona — Dogs
    Photo: .v1ctor Casale. / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Arizona — Dogs

    It might surprise you to learn that Arizona's deadly venomous snakes are not their leading animal killers. According to the CDC, there were 26 fatal dog attacks between 1999-2016 in Arizona.

  • Arkansas — Bears
    Photo: Karen Laubenstein, USFWS / Pixnio / Public Domain

    Arkansas — Bears

    The CDC lists Arkansas as a state where the most common animal-related deaths are caused by "large mammals." Deer-related car crashes (common throughout the US), encounters with Black Bears, or a run-ins with Cougars could all prove fatal. 

    The most likely culprit appears to be the Black Bear, but like most of the animals in the state, it is much happier to avoid humans rather than fight them. One Black Bear attack happened when a hunter crawled into a small cave without knowing what was inside.

    The startled bear whose home he had entered bit him on the head, leaving him with non-life-threatening injuries. The hunter freely admitted that the encounter was on him, not the bear.

  • California — Several Species Of Rattlesnake
    Photo: Mark Bratton / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    California — Several Species Of Rattlesnake

    Although around 221 people are bitten by venomous snakes annually in California, statistics show that less than half of a percent of bites are fatal. This is due to the availability of antivenom. Some of the most common species in California are the Sidewinder, Mojave, and Western Diamondback rattlesnakes.

    Unfortunately, not everyone gets the antivenom in time. Paula Halfacre was camping with friends in Southern California when she was bitten by a Green Mojave Rattlesnake while walking away from their camp. Knowing she needed help, Halfacre tried to get back to her friends, but was weakened by the venom.

    When they found her, she barely had the strength to say the words "snake bite." Although she finally made it to the hospital, it was too late, and she passed away shortly after.

  • Colorado — Cougars

    There has been little to no data compiled for Colorado regarding humans being killed by animals. This is surprising, considering how wide an array of dangerous animals live in Colorado. You could be gored by a Mountain Goat's horns, attacked by a Cougar, bitten by a rattlesnake, catch Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a tick, or be bitten by a venomous spider like the Black Widow or Brown Recluse. 

    While Cougar attacks aren't extremely common, they are arguably the hardest to get away from of all the state's deadly creatures. In the last hundred years, there have been two reported incidents wherein Colorado cougars killed people.

    In 1991, Scott Lancaster was attacked and killed while he was out jogging in the hills of Idaho Springs, CO, and 10-year-old Mark Miedema was killed in 1997, after he ran ahead of his family on a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.