Snails Are a Thousand Times More Deadly than Sharks

Conrad Hacket of the Pew Research Center published an informative graphic on Twitter about the relative deadliness of various animals (hat tip to Michael Shermer). Following is his list of beasties with the number of people they kill every year:

  • Sharks 10
  • Snails 10,000
  • Snakes 50,000
  • People 475,000
  • Mosquitos 725,000

The Weather Channel has out a lengthier list (again shown with annual number of human victims):

  • Sharks 10
  • Wolves 10
  • Lions 100
  • Elephants 100
  • Hippopotamus 500
  • Crocodiles 1,000
  • Tapeworms 2,000
  • Ascariasis Roundworms 2,500
  • Snails 10,000 (by causing the parasitic disease schistosomiasis)
  • Assassin Bugs 10,000
  • Tsetse Flies 10,000
  • Dogs 25,0000
  • Snakes 50,000
  • Humans 475,000
  • Mosquitos 725,000

So why do people obsess about sharks, and why have so many horror/suspense films been made about sharks? Where’s the “Shells” or “Trunks” film? The lesson here is that people’s fears often have little to do with objective risks.