Despite the fear this type of tragedy causes, the odds of a fatal alligator attack in the U.S. are small. In fact, bees, wasps, hornets, dogs and even cows kill more Americans each year than alligators — or even sharks — do.
The Washington Post used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to show which animals cause the most deaths in the country each year. The CDC tracks Americans’ deaths based on their death certificates to keep detailed records on mortality!
Bees, wasps and hornets caused the most deaths, an average of 58 per year between 2001 and 2013, according to the Post’s analysis of the CDC data. Cows killed 20 people each year, dogs killed 28, and a separate category called “other mammals” accounted for 52 deaths per year. Sharks, alligators and bears killed one person each year, on average.
The deaths caused by cows don’t include health problems from eating beef; according to the CDC, most of the cow-related deaths happen to people working with cattle in enclosed areas or herding them. Their handlers typically have died from blunt force trauma to their heads or chests.
That said, alligator attacks happen more often than once a year; they just aren’t always fatal.