10 deadliest man-eating animals in the history (part 1)


(Worldkinsg)Back in prehistoric times being eaten alive by some sort of ravenous beast was an everyday risk. Thankfully, since then things have improved somewhat for most of us – getting hit by a bus is probably the modern equivalent of being torn apart by wolves. However, there are still far flung places and environments beyond the control of man, where even today, man-eating animals roam wild, stalking human prey as a between meal snack

10. Man-eating river fish


Now we all know that piranhas can strip a man to the bone in 30 seconds. And that anyone falling into the Amazon River is as good as dead when these vicious fish are around. Well, it turns out that most of the stories about piranhas are a little exaggerated.  But, as with many myths there is a grain of truth and much of the legendary reputation of the piranha can be traced back to a single incident.

During a visit to Brazil, and the Amazon, by the American president Theodore Roosevelt local fishermen set up a spectacle involving piranhas. The men had blocked off part of the river and starved the piranha for several days. An unfortunate cow was then pushed into the water at which point the piranhas lived up to their reputation and promptly stripped it to the bone. On returning home Roosevelt wrote about these fearsome fish, unaware that the event had been largely set up for his benefit.
And so the piranhas fearsome reputation went global. But are they the vicious man eaters they are portrayed? After some research I’m afraid I have to say, not really. I could only find two report of a fatal attacks involving piranhas, that’s not to say there haven’t been more. It does however seem that attacks are pretty common and injuries are often severe enough to require hospital treatment.

A story of a real life river monster comes from Northern India. The Kali River goonch attacks were a series of deadly attacks believed to have been carried out by an exceptionally large goonch catfish. It is thought that the catfish developed a taste for human flesh after feeding on corpses thrown into the river as part of funeral ceremonies. The first live victim was an 18 year old Nepalese man who was dragged down in front of his girlfriend by something described as resembling an “elongated pig”. Another victim was a child dragged away whilst bathing with his father.

With no other likely candidates living in the region it seems the culprit was likely to be one of these super-sized catfish. Whilst a 6ft goonch (which weighed three times as much as average) was caught soon after it has been suggested that the fish responsible would have had to be even bigger.

9. Sharks


Jersey Shore shark attacks

There’s no doubt that sharks are capable killers. Every year a handful of people are killed by one of the four most dangerous species of sharks; the great white, the tiger shark, bull shark and oceanic white tips. However, not many of these attacks are committed by a single shark that seems bent on coming back for more. But this seems to be exactly what happened in the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916.

Attributed to a single 9ft (3m) great white shark, the attacks left four dead and 7 injured. It was this series of events that inspired the Jaws series of books and films about a man eating shark. The attacks took place along a 50 mile (80km) stretch of coast south of New York and began on July 1st with an a 25 year old swimmer being the first victim. The attacks reached a climax nearly two weeks later on the 12th July when three people were attacked in a single day, 2 of whom died. What was particularly unusual about these last attacks is they occurred up a creek some distance from the ocean.

In case you’re wondering why sharks are so far down this list then I’ll explain. It seems sharks just don’t really have much of a taste for humans. Even in the above case the shark didn’t seem to devour its victims. This is usually the case with sharks, they take an exploratory bite or two, and then swim off disappointed. Not much consolation for the victim but not really man-eater behavior either.

8. Brown bear

Kesagake – the man eating bear of Japan : Photo L Byst

Weighing in at up to 1,500lbs (700kg), with enormous claws and a bite as powerful as a lion, brown bears don’t always stick to a diet of nuts and berries! Fortunately bear attacks are rare though, and most are defensive, when the bear feels threatened. Even when confronted brown bears will usually retreat as they are inherently fearful of humans. But, cases of rogue bears are well documented and it is not unheard of for these bears to eat the victims. Such bears are often old or injured but this does not appear to have been a factor in the series of attacks carried out by a huge brown bear known as Kesagakein Japan around 100 years ago.

Upon waking from hibernation Kesagake made a nuisance of himself by raiding the corn harvest of a nearby farm. Such incidents were not uncommon in Sankebetsu on the remote west coast of Hokkaidō. The local farmers shot at the bear and believed they had injured it. This was not the last the locals of Sankebetsu would see of Kesagake.

Just over a week later the bear returned. It came to a small farm owned by the Ōta family; at home were the farmer’s wife and a baby she was looking after. The bear killed the baby with a bite to the head and after a struggle dragged the woman into the woods. Reports described the scene as resembling something out of a slaughter-house. The following day a hunting party failed to kill the bear but did find the head and legs of the farmer’s wife buried in the snow.

That evening Kesagake visited another homestead, that of the Miyoke family. Breaking in through a window the bear rampaged through the house killing four people including a pregnant woman and two children. An armed group arrived whilst the bear was in the house, but such was the panic that the bear escaped into the woods again. The scene of carnage inside the house was unimaginable and it is said that many of villagers and guards fled in terror.

Over the next few days and nights more armed men came into the village to hunt the bear down. Eventually after three days and nights Kesagake  was tracked down and shot dead. The stomach contents of the bear left little doubt of what he had been eating. In the aftermath of the attacks a further victim died of his injuries. Most of the villagers had had enough by this time and abandoned Rokusen sawa leaving it a ghost town.

7. Wolves

Wolves have had a reputation as being man-eaters since time began. They have feature in folk stories and fairy tales for centuries, and we all know what will happen if we go down to the woods… Well, not a lot these days as wolves have been persecuted pretty much out of existence everywhere except for the remotest spots.
However, to some extent this reputation is a little undeserved; despite being formidable predators which hunt in packs the number of attacks on humans is lower than might be expected. This is partly because wolves are intelligent and have learnt that attacking humans brings very bad consequences. There are therefore three types of wolf more likely to kill humans for food; those who have never encountered humans, those who have got too used to humans and rabid wolves.

The worst series of wolf attacks were carried out by the Beast of Gévaudan in France between 1764 and 1767. This alleged ‘super wolf’ was reported to have killed 113 people although much about the beast is a little hazy, including what exactly it was. Theories range from dogs to a werewolf.

There are numerous similar cases of wolf-like beasts terrorizing the peasantry of Europe in the Middle ages. These include the Wolves of Paris – a murderous pack that killed 40 people during the winter of 1450. The Wolves of Périgord were another bunch of bad wolves that killed 18 more French people in February of 1766.

However, not all of these man-eating wolf packs can be consigned to the history books. The Kirov wolf attacks took place between 1944 and 1954 in a district of central Russia and resulted in the deaths of 22 children. The cause is attributed to World War II with less men at home to hunt the wolves and less livestock on the farms (which the wolves would eat).
Even more recent were the 17 victims of the wolves of Ashta, all of them children too. These attacks all happened between 1985 and 1986 in southern India and were carried out by a pack of six wolves. The wolves were eventually all killed during various encounters.

6. The Sloth Bear of Mysore

Sloth bear (Ursus ursinus)

As far as bears go the sloth bear definitely doesn’t look the scariest. In fact it looks slightly comical with its crazy hair and funny walk. But don’t be deceived, the sloth bear is one of the most feared animals in Asia. It is said that tigers will go out of their way to avoid them and rhinos have a pathological dislike of them. This is all for a good reason – sloth bears can be very nasty.

With poor eyesight and not being able to run or climb their way out of danger the sloth bear will react to threats aggressively. They are much smaller than brown bears, weighing in the region of 300lbs (140kg) and feed almost exclusively on insects – termites in particular. To dig out termites sloth bears have developed enormous, sickle shaped claws and it is these which it uses to devastating effect when attacking.

Whilst there are numerous reports of sloth bear attacks, often resulting in horrific injury or death, the case of the Sloth Bear of Mysore was particularly disturbing for two reasons. Firstly the fact the bear attacked and killed so many people. During 1957, in the southern Indian state of Mysore, this one bear was alleged to have killed 12 people and seriously injured dozens more. In addition some of the victims were said to have been part-eaten. This suggests a bear that was going out of its way to prey on humans.

If you’re going to be attacked by any animal the sloth bear is probably the last you’d want it to be. They can be pretty vicious and make a real mess with those scythe like claws and teeth. But the worst thing is they go for the face. It is no exaggeration to say sloth bears rip their victims faces off with eyes, lips and noses often lost in attacks. And that is your regular sloth bear; in the case of the Mysore sloth bear we are talking about a bear with a vendetta.

Le Thanh Minh- worldking.org (collecting)


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