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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Boldly Going Nowhere

Thursday, November 3, 2005

The Deadliest Animals

According to an Internet Web site called Live Science, the top 10 deadliest animals on Earth are as follows:

1) Mosquito -- Some mosquitoes carry parasites resulting in the deaths of 2 million people per year. They may cause malaria, encephalitis, dengue fever, West Nile virus and other diseases. Having type "O" blood makes you more susceptible to being bitten. Being naked in a swamp also makes you more susceptible.

2) Asian Cobra -- 50,000 deaths per year are caused by venomous snakebites. While not the most venomous snake on the planet, the Asian cobra tops the list by causing the most deaths. On the positive side, they eat rodents and other reptiles. But they don't make very good pets unless you have lots of tattoos and a nose ring.

3) Australian Box Jellyfish -- Also known as the sea wasp, it's about the size of a Buick hubcap and can have as many as 60 tentacles, up to 15 feet long each, with about 5,000 stinging cells per tentacle. It carries enough toxins to kill 60 people. So always go swimming in Australia with more than 60 people to narrow the odds.

4) Great White Shark -- It has 3,000 teeth and will bite on anything that moves, especially if it is bleeding. By contrast, my ex-wife has 32 teeth and will eat just about anything that doesn't move and isn't bleeding, especially if it's the most costly thing on the menu, in which case moving and bleeding are optional.

5) African Lion -- Fast, quick, powerful, giant fangs and sharp claws. They hunt in groups, with the females doing most of the work, and are not vegetarians. Female human beings often hunt in groups as well, usually seeking clothes, jewelry or men. They too are quick and have sharp claws but very few of them have giant fangs.

6) Australian Saltwater Crocodile -- They lurk in the water, motionless, near shore, waiting for a morsel of food to wander by. They'll lunge at the prey, dragging it into the water, twisting as they're moving and drowning their victim. They will then dismember their catch and chow down, or secure it underwater for future dining. Being dismembered as you're drowning or drowning as you're being dismembered -- either way, it's a bad hair day.

7) Elephant -- A bull elephant can weigh up to 16,000 pounds. Although they have huge tusks, they prefer to stomp you to death. Over 500 people per year are killed by elephants worldwide. They don't make very good pets because they're very hard to house train and tend to break things. Plus being stomped to death is a rather unpleasant way to meet your maker, particularly if the first stomp doesn't get the job done.

8) Polar Bear -- Males stand up to 11 feet tall and weigh up to 1,400 pounds. They can outrun a human and are always hungry. To a polar bear, you are a tasty treat. If you run, they think you are prey and will run you down. If you look them in the eye, they become challenged and will put a swift end to your antics. The best defense against polar bears is to move south of Ft. Lauderdale and keep your doors locked.

9) Cape Buffalo -- They weigh 1,500 pounds and have large, sharp horns. When faced with danger, their first response is to charge head on. This is usually accompanied by exciting the entire herd to charge head on. A stampede of a thousand Cape buffalo is not something you want to experience head on.

10) Poison Dart Frog -- Their slimy backs ooze a neurotoxin meant to repel predators. Each frog produces enough toxins to kill 10 humans. So if your hobby is collecting frogs, avoid this brand. If your hobby is licking the slimy backs of frogs, check into the nearest psycho ward and have your head thoroughly examined.

Of course, the deadliest animals on this planet are the two-legged humanoids, also known as people. Some will kill, either legally or illegally, simply because of ignorance or anger or fear or greed or just for the thrill of it.

Humanoids have granted themselves dominion over all other creatures. When it comes to dominion over other animals, it's called selective harvesting. When it comes to dominion over other humanoids, it's called war.

We live in a harsh reality where the most intelligent creature on this planet also causes the most bloodshed. In a perfect world, those who live by the sword would die by the sword and the meek would inherit the earth.

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Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels, which are available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at bret@centurytel.net.