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Texas leads the nation in deadly animal attacks, and it isn’t even close, data show

Texas had the most fatal animal attacks and encounters of any state by a wide margin.

Texas had the most fatal animal attacks and encounters of any state by a wide margin.

Fangs and claws. Venom and poison. Horns and hooves. The animal kingdom’s arsenal is a rare threat to the average American these days — but it’s a danger that varies considerably by state, data shows.

Texas leads the nation when it comes to fatal animal attacks and encounters, according to a recent report from Outforia.com. The nature and outdoors website analyzed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data tracking causes of death from 1999 to 2019.

During that time period, 520 people in Texas were reported killed as a result of an animal encounter, according to the CDC stats, far exceeding California and Florida, which had the second and third most fatalities at 299, and 247.

Meanwhile, Delaware, North Dakota and Rhode Island had zero animal-related deaths, Outforia reported.

The CDC doesn’t provide details on every animal that was responsible for a death during that time frame, but here’s a look at what they did provide, by the numbers:

63 Texans died after being “bitten or struck” by dogs (672 nationally)

0 deaths were caused by rats (3 nationally, the last coming in 2006)

201 deaths were caused by “other mammals,” which could include exotic animals such as tigers and lions, sharks, cattle, horses, wild hogs and who knows what else (1,562 nationally)

179 deaths were caused by stings from hornets, wasps and bees (1,299 nationally)

16 deaths were caused by venomous spiders (Over 130 nationally)

13 deaths were caused by venomous snakes and lizards (Over 120 nationally)

It’s important to note that U.S. wildlife is responsible for very few fatalities. For comparison, 734 people in Texas drowned in the bathtub from 1999 to 2019, CDC data shows.

Mitchell Willetts is a real-time news reporter covering the Carolinas for McClatchy. He is a University of Oklahoma graduate and outdoors enthusiast.

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