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10 Deadly Animal Attacks on Humans

Battle of Ramree Island

Killer: Saltwater Crocodile

The saltwater crocodile is the largest of all living reptiles. The species is found across Northern Australia, the eastern coast of India and parts of Southeast Asia. An average adult male saltwater crocodile weighs 600 to 1,000 kilograms (1,300–2,200 lb), with a length of 4.1 to 5.5 meters (13–18 ft). However, mature males can reach 6 meters (20 ft) or more and weigh 1,300 kilograms (2,900 lb) or larger. A population of saltwater crocodiles lives near Ramree Island, which is located off the coast of Rakhine State, Burma. Ramree Island is situated in the Bay of Bengal, and separated from the mainland by tidal flats at the mouth of the River An.

Towards the end of World War II, Ramree Island was the site of a violent battle waged between the Imperial Japanese Army and the Allied Troops. The Allies were attempting to regain the island and build a military sea-supplied airbase. On January 26, 1945 the Royal Marine and the 36th Indian Infantry Brigade force landed on Ramree Island. The marines quickly outflanked a Japanese stronghold and this caused thousands of Japanese soldiers to retreat across the island, where a larger battalion was positioned. The route forced the Japanese to cross 16 kilometers of mangrove swamps and thick forests. The marshes were littered with large saltwater crocodiles, scorpions, and deadly mosquitoes. The British forces encircled the swampland and prevented the Japanese from escaping. They did continually urge the soldiers to surrender, but nobody did.

It is unclear exactly how many Japanese soldiers entered the marshes of Ramree Island, but the accepted number is between 500-1000, with only 20 survivors. It has been reported by numerous individuals that during the battle hundreds of Japanese soldiers were attacked and mauled by saltwater crocodiles. Soldiers have recounted and described the horrific events that plagued the island. At night the crocodiles would appear and attack people by the dozens. The soldiers regularly reported the sound of thrashing animals, screams, and people being eaten alive. Numerous sources have also described the vast amount of vultures that entered the swamps during the day. The Guinness Book of Records lists the Ramree Island crocodile massacre as the largest catastrophe against humans by animals in history.

2010 Surf Beach Incident

Killer: Great White Shark

The great white shark is a large species of shark that is found in all the world’s major oceans. The animal is well known for its size, with the largest individual having approached or exceeded 6 meters (20 ft) in length and 2,268 kilograms (5,000 lb) in weight. Sharks lurk below the surface of the water and prey on many sea species. They are ambush hunters and capable of removing entire human limbs without hesitation. Luckily, it seems that sharks prefer to stay away from humans and are rarely known to attack people. However, in some cases people are bitten and confused for another species. Every year, sharks kill dozens of individuals around the world. On October 22, 2010 a college student named Lucas McKaine Ransom was attacked by a great white shark while boogie boarding with some friends approximately 100 yards (91 m) off Surf Beach near Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, California.

It has been reported that within the blink of an eye, Lucas Ransom was taken under the water with incredible force and a cloud of blood began to appear around his body. One of Lucas good friends Mathew Garcia was surfing two feet away from him when the incident occurred. Garcia courageously dragged his screaming friend to shore, but when they arrived it was evident that Lucas Ransom’s leg was missing and he died on the scene. After the attack, Surf Beach was closed down until authorities could investigate the case. Evidence was gathered from the scene and Ransom’s boogie board, which suffered a large bite mark, was examined. It has since been confirmed that a great white shark was responsible for the attack on Lucas Ransom. The animal is believed to have been between 17–18 feet (5.2–5.5 m) long, weighing perhaps 4,000 pounds (1,814 kg).

The largest reported case of mass shark attacks occurred in the wake of the 1945 sinking of the USS Indianapolis. On July 30, 1945 the USS Indianapolis was destroyed by an Imperial Japanese Navy submarine. The event marked the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. Of the 1,196 crew aboard the vessel, approximately 300 were killed in the initial blast, but the remaining 880 soldiers entered the Pacific Ocean and faced exposure, dehydration and mass shark attacks. In fact, the ship wreck was not discovered by the US military until 4 days later, when survivors were spotted by a routine patrol. In all, over 550 people were killed in the ocean while waiting for rescue. Many of the men had life preservers, which prevented them from drowning. However, the survivors would later discuss the large amount of shark attacks that occurred in the days following the sinking. They described a scene of horror, as the animals stalked and preyed on defenseless people. The sinking of the USS Indianapolis was recalled in Steven Spielberg's 1975 movie Jaws.

Leopard of Rudraprayag

Killer: Leopard

The leopard is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four big cats, which include the tiger, lion and jaguar. In the last 50 years, the leopard's range of distribution has decreased radically due to hunting and loss of habitat. The animal is now primarily found in sub-Saharan Africa. The leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. The cats are very fast and can reach speeds approaching 58 kilometers per hour (36 mph). While most leopards avoid people, humans may occasionally be targeted as prey. Most healthy leopards prefer wild animals for food, but injured, sickly or struggling cats may resort to hunting humans and become habituated to it. Man-eating leopards are considered bold and may enter human settlements for prey, even more so than lions and tigers. Two extreme cases of killer leopards have occurred in India. The first animal, the Panar Leopard, is said to have killed over 400 people. The second creature, the Leopard of Rudraprayag , is believed to have mauled more than 125 individuals.

In 1917, the first person was killed by the Rudraprayag Leopard. Rudraprayag is a district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. For eight years, no one dared travel alone at night on the road between the Hindu shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath, for it passed through the leopard's territory. The leopard was apparently so desperate for food that it would break down doors, leap through windows, claw through walls and drag people from their homes, devouring them. The British Parliament requested the aid of legendary big game hunter Jim Corbett. Corbett had already killed the Panar Leopard in 1910. In the autumn of 1925, Jim Corbett tracked and killed the Rudraprayag Leopard. After analysis, it was noted that the animal was suffering from serious gum recession and tooth loss, which is thought to have contributed to the decision to attack humans. Today, there is still an annual fair held at Rudraprayag commemorating the killing of the leopard. The people there often consider Jim Corbett a Sadhu.

San Francisco Zoo Attack

Killer: Tiger

The tiger is one of the largest carnivores in the world. They are territorial and solitary creatures. Tigers require a large contiguous area of habitat and abundant diet. For this reason, in many densely populated places on Earth, tigers are extinct. In fact, three of the nine subspecies of modern tiger have gone extinct, and the remaining six are classified as endangered. Tigers are big, strong, violent, and predatory creatures. History books are full of cases involving infamous human killing tigers. Probably the most famous is the Champawat Tiger that was allegedly responsible for 436 documented deaths in Nepal and the Kumaon area of India during the 19th century. After having killed over 200 people in Nepal, the tigress was driven by the Nepalese Army across the border into India, where she continued her activities in the Kumaon District. However, the Champawat Tiger was eventually killed by Jim Corbett in 1911.

In separate incidents, captured tigers have been known to escape their enclosures and attack humans. One of the best known cases took place at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day, 2007. Tatiana was a tigress that was brought to the San Francisco Zoo on December 16, 2005 to provide a mate for a 14-year-old Siberian tiger. Tatiana showed her first signs of violence on December 22, 2006 when she clawed and bit a veteran zookeeper named Lori Komejan. Komejan’s arm was pulled between the cage bars and severely injured as a result. However, the most deadly incident involving Tatiana occurred on Christmas Day, 2007, when she jumped over her enclosed wall and entered the zoo. After escaping from the tiger grotto, Tatiana mauled and killed Carlos Eduardo Sousa Jr. by slashing his jugular vein. He was only 17-years-old.

The tiger then attacked and injured two brothers. Luckily, the event occurred as the zoo was closing and only a small number of people were inside. One of the brothers was able to escape from the tiger, but the other was left injured on the pavement, with Tatiana standing guard. The scene was chaotic and police were delayed in their arrival to the zoo. However, around 20 minutes after her escape, Tatiana was shot and killed by a zoo shooting team member. The Dhaliwal brothers received deep bites and claw wounds on their heads, necks, arms, and hands, but survived the incident. The attack was the first visitor fatality due to an animal escape at a member zoo, in the history of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. People need to respect the power and ferocity of these animals. Just ask Nordin Montong, who decided to jump into the white tiger enclosure at the Singapore Zoo in 2008. Upon entering the tiger’s home, Montong provoked the animals with a broom and pail. In response, three of the tigers mauled him to death.

Soda Butte Campground Attack

Killer: Grizzly Bear

The brown bear is a large bear species distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. The predators can weigh from 300 to 780 kilograms (660 to 1720 lbs). The grizzly bear is a subspecies of brown bear that can be found in the uplands of western North America. The grizzly bear is generally a solitary creature and largely eats plants, which make up 80%–90% of the animal’s diet. However, the grizzly bear is a carnivore and regularly feeds on moose, deer, sheep, elk, bison, caribou and even black bears. Grizzlies are considered by some experts to be the most aggressive species of brown bear in the world. Adult grizzlies are too large to escape danger by climbing trees, so they respond by standing their ground and fighting. Grizzly bears generally don’t attack humans for food. The most common reason for a grizzly attack on a person is a mother defending her cubs. These types of attacks are responsible for 70% of fatal injuries to humans. In spite of their obvious physical advantages and many opportunities, grizzly bears almost never view humans as prey and rarely actively hunt people.

Many traits that scientists understand about grizzly bears do not apply to the events that occurred on July 28, 2010 in the Soda Butte campground of Gallatin National Forest, which is located on the northern edge of Yellowstone Park. Soda Butte campground is a large overnight site that is regularly packed with tourists visiting Yellowstone during the summer months. On the day in question, a man named Kevin Kammer was camping in the Soda Butte campground while on vacation in Yellowstone. Brown bears usually avoid large public camp grounds at night and stay away from packs of people. However, on the night of July 28, a mother grizzly bear with three small cubs went on a coordinated rampage in the Soda Butte campground. Moving from different angles, the bear was responsible for three separate attacks on people sleeping in their tents. Keven Kammer was pulled from his sleeping bag and mauled to death 7.6m (25 feet) away from his tent.

A woman named Deb Freele was attacked while sleeping in the middle of the night. She was bitten on her wrist and leg, crushing bones. Deb then instinctively played dead and the grizzly bear left her alone. This is strange, because if the bear was looking for food then Deb would have been killed. After Deb was attacked, the same bear plowed through a teenage boy’s tent and bit him on the leg. The boy punched the bear in the face and this caused it to flee into the woods. The events have changed the way people view bears in Yellowstone. The incident showed that certain bears are not afraid to enter public campgrounds at night and that tents provide little protection from the animals. A tent will not stop a determined grizzly bear. The mother grizzly bear responsible for the death of Kevin Kammer was trapped by park officials using pieces of a culvert and Kevin’s tent. The grizzly bear was later studied and euthanized. Her cubs were removed from the park and sent to ZooMontana. The deadly incident remains the most brazen grizzly bear attack in the Yellowstone area since the 1980s.


Kali River Attacks

Killer: Goonch Catfish

The goonch catfish is a member of the bagarius genus of catfishes. The goonch is known for its incredible size, measuring among the largest fish species in the world. In April of 1998, a 17-year-old boy named Dil Bahada was killed while swimming in the Kali River of Nepal. The boy was violently taken underwater in front of his girlfriend and several eyewitnesses. A massive search for the teenager was undertaken, but his body was never found. Three months after the incident, another young boy was killed in the river by an unknown sea monster. No similar cases were reported for a long period of time, until 2007 when people began to disappear once again. It started when 18-year-old Atal Kumar was killed while swimming with friends in the deep waters of the river. The string of attacks intrigued British biologist Jeremy Wade, who volunteered to capture the perpetrator. He was interested because all of the deaths occurred along a 4-5 mile span of river. This area is also well known for its funeral pyres on the river banks.

It has been suggested that the goonch catfish has developed a taste for human flesh after feasting on the burnt human remains discarded from the pyres. Domestic water buffalo in the area have also been victims of the catfish. All three species of crocodile that live along the Kali River have been dismissed as the culprit. Jeremy Wade conducted a series of underwater investigations in the area and discovered several human-sized goonch catfish. The events at Kali River were featured on the Animal Planet show River Monsters, in which the host caught a record breaking 6 ft goonch. The creature weighed 75.5 kg (166 lbs). The captured fish was three-times larger than the average goonch. However, the specimen is not the largest fish living in the Kali River. In order to inflict the damage that has been witnessed, the suspect must be several hundred pounds. It remains unclear why the mutant goonch catfish are growing so large in this area of the world, but the disposal of human bodies into the river may be playing a factor.


Azaria Chamberlain Disappearance

Killer: Australian Dingo

The Australian Dingo is an ancient, free roaming, primitive canine unique to the continent of Australia. The animals have long been a danger to livestock, but the dingo has also been reported to attack and kill humans. The dingo is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia. The most infamous case surrounding a dingo attack occurred in 1980, when a 9-week-year-old baby girl named Azaria Chamberlain was killed in Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia. Following the girl’s disappearance, her mother immediately contacted the police and claimed that “a dingo stole her baby.” The event soon became one of the largest stories in Australian media history. Initially, the authorities believed that Azarla had been killed by a dingo, but the prosecutors were not convinced, so they had her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain charged with the crime. Using evidence based on ultraviolet photographs, Dr. James Cameron of the London Hospital Medical College developed a series of strange findings. He testified in court that the small girl’s wounds showed that her throat was cut by a knife. Cameron also detected an imprint of a small adults hand on the baby’s jumpsuit and claimed foul play.

Using this evidence, Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. During the trial, Lindy Chamberlain was adamant that Azaria was wearing a matinĂ©e jacket over her jumpsuit at the time of her disappearance. In 1986, an English tourist named David Brett fell to his death near Ayers Rock. Upon the recovery of Brett’s body, the police discovered Azaria’s missing jacket, which was located in an area full of dingo lairs. The NT Chief Minister immediately ordered the release of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain and the case was closed. Azaria Chamberlain is the most famous occurrence of a child being killed by a dingo, but similar cases have surfaced over the years. In 2001 and 2007, a small child was taken and killed by a dingo on Fraser Island, which is located along the southern coast of Queensland, Australia. For the most part, dingoes are timid creatures and keep their distance from humans. It seems that domestic dog attacks are much more prevalent. Dogs, primarily pit bulls, have killed around 30 people in the United States during 2010.

Kenton Joel Carnegie

Killer: Wolves

The gray wolf is the largest wild member of the Canidae family. The animals have a controversial past and the widespread destruction of the creature’s habitat have made them endangered in many areas of the world. Much of the destruction has stemmed from the animal’s reputation, which includes hunting livestock and even killing humans. Gray wolves are typically the apex predators throughout their range, with only humans and tigers posing significant threats to them. In history, many outbreaks of deadly wolf attacks have been recorded. This includes the deadly wolves of Paris, who killed 40 people in the winter of 1450. The wolves of Ashta were a pack of 6 man-eating Indian wolves that killed 17 children in the Sehore district of the Madhya Pradesh between the last quarters of 1985 to January 1986. The Wolves of Hazaribagh were a pack of five man-eating Indian wolves that killed 13 children aged 4 to 10 between February and August of 1981. The Wolves of Turku were a trio of man-eating wolves that killed 22 children in Turku, Finland between 1880 and 1881.

Kenton Joel Carnegie was a Canadian geological engineering student that was killed by a pack of wolves on November 8, 2005. At the time of his death, Carnegie was hiking alone in the Points North Landing section of Saskatchewan, Canada. Specifically, near Points North camp, 35 miles northwest of Wollaston Lake. The events surrounding Kenton’s death are controversial. It was initially reported by the Canadian media that Carnegie was the victim of a black bear attack. However, large amounts of evidence pointed to wolves and a judicial inquest conducted by the Provincial Government of Saskatchwan ruled that wolves were at fault. People close to the case have accused the Canadian government of hiding specifics and facts surrounding Carnegie’s death in order to protect the reputation of wolves. In this area of Saskatchewan, wolves and black bears are known to act aggressively towards people. In the last ten years alone, hundreds of reported attacks have occurred in this area of Canada. It is a strange occurrence, as black bears are not known for human attacks. The investigation on Carnegie's death lasted two years, and provoked intense debate on wildlife management and the role of garbage disposal in the habitats of wild animals.


Taylor Mitchell

The Killer: Coyote

The coyote is a species of canine found in North and Central America. There are currently 19 recognized subspecies of coyote, with 16 living in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and 3 in Central America. Unlike the wolf, the coyote's range has expanded in the wake of human civilization. The animals are regularly seen by people and reproduce in metropolitan areas. Genetically speaking, a coyote is a mixture of canine, wolf, and a small amount of domestic dog. The animals are extremely timid and nonaggressive, rarely approaching humans. The main defining feature between a wolf and a coyote is their size. Coyotes are much smaller than wolves. The largest coyote on record weighed only 74¾ pounds (33.7 kg). During pursuit, a coyote may reach speeds up to 43 mph (69 km/h) and can jump a distance of over 4 m (13 ft).

Coyote attacks on humans are uncommon and rarely cause serious injuries. There are only two recorded fatalities in North America from coyote attacks. In 1981, a coyote attacked a toddler named Kelly Keen in Glendale, California. The girl was rescued by her father, but died in surgery due to blood loss and a broken neck. The only human adult to be killed by a coyote is a woman named Taylor Mitchell. Taylor was viciously attacked and killed by two coyotes in October of 2009. She was a Canadian folk singer who was on tour in the area of Nova Scotia, Canada when she was killed. On October 27, 2009 Mitchell was hiking alone during the afternoon on the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. During her hike, Taylor was attacked by two coyotes. Sadly, she was not rescued until two hikers came across the scene and managed to scare the animals away.

An officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police later shot a coyote in the park, although the body was never discovered. This fact has caused certain people to accuse the police of suppressing information around the incident. Recent studies have shown that the large northeastern coyotes responsible for the mauling of Taylor Mitchell may in fact have been a coyote-wolf hybrid (coywolves). However, other scientists have noted that there are currently no wolves in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. People have also claimed that the deadly coyotes were rabid, but if this was true, an autopsy report would have revealed the information. The incident was the first fatal attack by coyotes since they were introduced on Cape Breton Island in the 1970s and the second in recorded history.

Death in the Olympic National Park

The Killer: North American Mountain Goat

The mountain goat is a large-hoofed mammal found only in North America. Despite the name, the species is not a true member of the goat genus. It resides at high elevations and is a great climber, often resting on rocky cliffs that predators cannot reach. The mountain goat is very competitive and protective of their space and food sources. The animals have been known to battle with each other for dominance. They use their sharp horns to inflict damage upon each other, often times leading to deaths within the herd. However, in the past the species has been harmless to humans. The mountain goat rarely attends to human presence and usually keeps at a distance. The only recorded death caused by a mountain goat occurred in October of 2010, when a 63-year-old man named Robert Boardman was gored to death while eating lunch in the Olympic National Park.

The Olympic National Park is located along the Olympic Peninsula in the US state of Washington. The attack occurred at a recreational site approximately 5,000 feet into the park. The area of the incident is full of picnic tables and small hiking trails. According to the reports, a large mountain goat approached Robert Boardman and his friends while they were eating lunch. The people were initially excited at what they witnessed. However, the goat soon started to display aggressive movements towards the group, so Boardman told his wife and friends to return to the car.

At that point, the goat charged Boardman and repeatedly gored him in the high thigh area. The animal then stood guard over the man as he bled to death. People in the area were eventually able to get the mountain goat a small distance away from Boardman by throwing rocks and yelling. After the initial attack, Robert Boardman was seriously injured and 40 minutes away from the Port Angeles hospital. For this reason, the Coast Guard was called in, which arrived by helicopter and first tried to administer electric shock to Boardman, but sadly he was already dead when they arrived. Rangers immediately found and killed the animal, which will be studied by a veterinary pathologist. The deadly attack is the first reported human death caused by a mountain goat in history.

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