Meet the Most Dangerous Animals in Africa

By: Kate Row | Published: Dec 06, 2022

Africa is home to some of the most beautiful animals on the planet, but it is also home to some of the most dangerous. Animals might be inclined to strike if they’re threatened, hungry, or if you’re just looking tasty enough.

It’s important to be mindful of any wildlife environment, but it is especially important in beautiful Africa. There’s more to fear than lions, tigers, and bears (Oh my!). If you come face to face with any of these dangerous beasts, good luck!

Puma: Not Your Average Housecat

While you might think Pumas resemble a larger version of your house cat, you certainly don’t want to try and pet these kitties. There have been over 100 cases of puma attacks on humans since the 1900s.


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They usually try to avoid humans, so we should give them the same respect. They’re usually larger than lions and tigers and happen to be much more agile as well. They have incredible strength that could take down a person with one swipe of their mighty paw.


Tawny Eagle: Don’t Get Between This Bird and Its Food

This bird may not look like much of a threat, but the Tawny eagle, like other eagles, is a large bird of prey that attacks with skill and intent. It’s considered one of the most competitive bird species in the world.


Source: Thirsk Birdsofpraycentre/ Instagram

Before global warming started to affect their food sources, they would remain in unpopulated areas, but now they fly in more populated areas to get more food. It makes them even more aggressive as they are more protective of their nests.

Baboon: Deceivingly Strong and Unexpectedly Scary

Now baboons might appear to be a rather unthreatened animal, but they are actually one of the most dangerous in the African animal kingdom. They are deceivingly strong and have incredibly powerful jaws.


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In fact, their bite is so strong that it can actually crush human bones. Ouch. If they feel that they need to fight for their food they are not shy to use that powerful bite if necessary. We recommend staying far away.

Baboon Spiders: Just As Terrifying as Regular Baboons

Baboon spiders are not to be confused with baboon monkeys, but they are just as dangerous. You might already be terrified from just looking at the creature!


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These spiders can create loud noises by rubbing their legs together. The sound it makes is one that confuses and distracts their prey. Then, they pounce! Their venom is not fatal to humans but it will cause pain and irritation.

Emperor Scorpion: He’s Emperor For a Reason

You might be relieved to hear that the Emperor Scorpion is not deadly to humans. Not every animal or insect in the animal kingdom will kill you. But, its bite will certainly be painful.

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However, if you happen to be allergic to this animal, the bite can actually be fatal. You probably wouldn’t know if you have this allergy until it’s too late so be aware and be careful.


Zebra: As Dangerous As They Are Beauitful

The zebra in the movie Madagascar voiced by Chris Rock had us all in love with these creatures. And they are certainly stunning beasts, but like many wild animals, they are also very dangerous. 


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Zebras are actually a very aggressive animal. Their kicks are deeply powerful and they’ve been known to bite people that get too close to them. Admire those amazing stripes from afar.


Termites: More Dangerous For Your Wallet

Termites are not so dangerous to humans as they are to their possessions. Termites are everywhere, and this includes the amazing continent of Africa. One or two might not be a problem, but in groups they can wreak havoc on your home.

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They survive anywhere there is wood and they can eat right through the foundation of your home if you don’t act quickly. Some people have even experienced them eating through their possessions and money!


Violin Spider: The One Inch Long Killer

The violin is a beautiful instrument but we’re not sure we can say the same for the Violin Spider. This little guy is only an inch long and delivers a somewhat painless bite.


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However, its venom can cause very intense wounds on humans. So much so that they can even destroy tissue in human skin. What makes them so dangerous is you wouldn’t know you were bit until severe wounds started to develop. Yikes! 


Caracal: Do Not Be Deceived By Its Cuteness

The Caracal is a beautiful cat that might even appear to be cute. But, you should not be tempted to pet this thing because it is no housecat. They have sharp claws, extremely sharp hearing, and speedy agility. 

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It doesn’t matter who or what, but if anything comes too close to them they will not hesitate to attack. And we’d be willing to bet that they don’t lose too many fights.


African Rock Python: No Venom Needed

Any snake is scary, even when they aren’t typically an aggressive breed. But a rock python can be anywhere from 10 to 16 feet long so these guys are extra terrifying! 


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They have been known to wrap their bodies around humans and strangle them in less than 60 seconds. They are not venomous but they have some impressive chompers that can easily prove fatal to any large mammal.


Siafu Driver Ant: Power in Numbers

Now we know ants aren’t probably the first thing that comes to mind when we’re talking about dangerous animals, but the Siafu Driver Ant is the most dangerous ant species. They have a short 10 week life span and they are fiercely protective of it.

Source: Wikipedia

Like other ant species, they travel in large packs (we’re talking millions of ants in one community). They have the strongest jaws of any other ant species. They attack in groups and can kill a human and take over their home. Scary!


Tarantula Hawk Wasp: A Three For One

Tarantulas are scary on their own. As are hawks and wasps. So the only thing more terrifying is when all three of those things are melded into one creepy creature. The Tarantula Hawk Wasp is considered one of the deadliest creatures alive!


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One sting is fatal to a human. And their stinger is extremely painful. You do not want to run into these guys. The pain from their sting can be so intense that it causes memory loss. New fear unlocked.


Cheetah: Catch Me if You Can

This one might not come as a surprise as most of us already know the cheetahs are the fastest animals on earth. Their speed gives them the ability to also be effective hunters. 

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They usually steer clear of humans, but in recent years they have had more contact between packers and photographers.


Great White Sharks: Swim At Your Own Risk

We all know how dangerous Great White Sharks can be. One look at these incredible animals is enough to make us squirm. They have long been at the top of the oceanic food chain in South Africa. 


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They can row to be as long as 21 feet in length and live almost human lifespans! Often, these animals actually attack humans by mistake so they bite and swim away. For this reason, many people do survive Great White attacks.


Button Spider: Not Cute As a Button

The Button Spider is tiny but their venom leaves a lasting impression. It can cause pain, nausea, disorientation, and even respiratory failure. If action isn’t immediately taken, a person can go into a coma or be permanently paralyzed. 

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It’s fascinating that a creature this small can do so much damage to anyone it comes in contact with. We will be staying far away from these little guys if we can help it.


African Leopard: Keep Your Eyes Open At Night

The African Leopard has a similar speed to the cheetah so you don’t want to find yourself in a race against them. In addition to being aggressive animals, they are unpredictable, making them a very dangerous species.


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They are most prone to attack when they are injured or feel threatened. They are nocturnal like most of their other big cat cousins so you definitely don’t want to find yourself face to face with these guys after the sun goes down.


Black Mamba: Two Minutes To Move

The Black Mamba is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous animals on planet earth. These black snakes can grow to be up to 14 feet long. Plus, their venom can paralyze you.

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One bite can have you paralyzed in less than 2 minutes. If antvenom is not administered within 45 minutes, then the toxins will kill you. 


Ostrich: The Nine Foot Bird

Now, these long neck birds probably look more awkward than dangerous, but they are known for their antagonistic nature. First of all, they can grow to be between 6 and 9 feet tall so they look right down on us mere humans.


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The good news is that these birds don’t typically attack humans unless they feel very threatened or are provoked. So as long as you keep your distance and don’t go taunting them into a fight you should be good.


Gorilla: Strength and Intelligence

Gorillas are dangerous for obvious reasons. If you’ve ever been to the zoo or seen the movie King Kong you can see that these animals are shockingly strong. Even scarier is that they are extremely smart as well. 

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They typically don’t attack unless threatened but sometimes we humans are threatening to animals without meingin to be. Stay away from their babies and if they start beating on their chest or stomping at you, run!


Cape Buffalo: Dangerous in More Ways Than One

The Cape Buffalo is naturally a dangerous animal of Africa due to its sheer size. It’s considered among the most dangerous because when they charge, there is little room for escape. 


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They’re also dangerous to other animals and livestock because they have been known to spread diseases such as tuberculosis. This can even affect the humans who consume these animals!


Goliath Tigerfish: The Piranha’s Scarier Older Brother

As much as this guy might resemble a piranha, he is a different beast. If this photo isn’t enough to scare you out of swimming in these waters, keep in mind that these bad boys are about 5 times the size of a piranha.  

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In addition to their immense size and gigantic teeth, they happen to be incredibly brave and aggressive so they don’t need much of a reason to come after you. These things might as well be categorized as sharks.


Hippo: Not as Cuddly as Advertised

You might be inclined to say “Awhhh” when you see a baby hippo but in all reality these animals are some of the most dangerous in the world. They have been known to take down entire boats with their enormous bites.


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They have injured animals as well as humans in their pursuits for food. Their teeth are giant and surviving a bite from that jaw is very unlikely. They are actually the most lethal land animal, responsible for more than 3,000 deaths per year.


Deathstalker Scorpion: The Most Accurately Named Predator

The name of this creature really tells you all you need to know. And it is accurately named because its venom is one of the most dangerous on earth.

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Their venom causes a whole host of painful problems including convulsions, swelling, irritation, nausea, headaches, and in the most extreme cases, death. Plus, they can live up to 25 years!


Hyena: The Lion King Had it Right

Anyone who has seen The Lion King probably already has a healthy distrust of hyenas. These jumpy animals can live up to 20 years, and they have lots to accomplish in that time.


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They’re typically a very aggressive animal but they scavenge more often than they hunt. They have been known to attack humans if they’re injured or otherwise slowed down.


Elephant: Sweet But Deadly

We are basically as insignificant as an ant to elephants. These giant creatures can weigh between 5,000 and 14,000 kg so all they would need to do is sit on us to take us out. 

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But fortunately for us, these beautiful animals have huge hearts and are not likely to attack humans. They might feel easily frightened though, and if they do charge they can run up to 30 miles an hour.


Rhino: Don’t Be Fooled By the Lack of Eyesight

Rhinos can be as short as 4 feet tall but weigh an average of 2,000 kg so you don’t want to come face to face with these brutes. Their downfall as a predator is that they have bad eyesight, but they make up for this in their alert nature.


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Their other senses are stronger and they are known for being somewhat unpredictable. They like to be left alone, so we should probably all just steer clear and let them do their thing.


Nile Crocodile: Larger Than Your Average Croc

Crocodiles are some highly skilled predators. If they get close enough to you, you can pretty much count yourself out. But, the Nile Crocodile is far larger than the one you’re probably thinking about in your head.

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These are double the height of an average human and are not picky when it comes to food. Essentially, if it moves, they’ll eat it. They are responsible for between 200 and 300 human deaths per year.


Mosquito: The Smallest Killer

You probably didn’t expect to see a measly mosquito on this list, but what if we told you that this tiny creature was responsible for more than one million deaths every year. This is the Anopheles Gambia mosquito.


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They are significant carriers of malaria, which is fatal. It is smaller than half an inch and responsible for millions of lives lost. 


African Wild Dog: Not Your Typical Puppy

When we hear the word “dog” we think of our golden retriever at home, but that is far from the African Wild Dog. These pups are not nearly as friendly. They are very intelligent creatures and are fiercely protective of their large families. 

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They will not usually attack humans unless provoked. More often they will bare their teeth to show dominance but if you leave them be they are likely to leave you alone.