Shark Week: Which are deadlier – sharks or horses?

Just in time time for the Discovery Channel's annual week-long all-sharks-all-of-the time extravaganza, we offer some surprising–and terrifying–statistics.


Once a year, we all set aside our differences and unite around one universally appreciated common denominator: EVERYBODY is scared of sharks.


Except for event horses.


But why? As terrifying as they seem, in reality sharks cause very little trouble considering the number of people who take to the water each year. According to this report, there was only one fatal shark attack in the U.S. in 2012, and many years there are none at all.

Victim's surfboard

The owner of this surfboard got munched by a 15-16 foot Great White Shark off the coast of Santa Barbara last year. Photo: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

According to this Mother Earth Network story, “11 Animals More Likely To Kill You Than Sharks,” though, we've got way bigger problems on our hands.

130 U.S. deaths per year are caused by deer, almost exclusively because drivers hit the deers with their cars.


53 people die each year in the U.S. because of an allergic reaction to being stung by bees.


30-35 people in the U.S. are killed each year by dogs.


22 people are killed in the U.S. every year by cows.


6.5 people die in the U.S. every year from spider bites.


5.5 people die from rattlesnake bites each year in the U.S.


Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Where do horses fall into the mix? According to the story, horses are responsible for about 20 deaths per year–although other sources cite a much higher number.


When Riders-4-Helmets looked at statistics for 2007 via the NEISS (the CPSC's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System), they reported that 78,279 people visited the emergency room as a result of horse-related injuries and that over 100 deaths are estimated to result from horse-related activities each year.

Does this mean it's safer to be in a swimming pool with a shark than in a paddock with a horse? Of course not, because to some extent these statistics are skewed by the fact that people are simply more likely to encounter a horse than a shark.

Check out this video:

So go ahead, partake in Shark Week. Gawk at their huge snaggly teeth, and squeal when you see that big gray fin gliding ominously toward the camera. But when they pan to some shot of a diver getting lowered into the dark depths in a cage, and the sharks begin circling nearer, remember: That guy's got nothing on YOU.

Be safe, and Go Riding!



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