Image: Gregor Younger
Asia has fascinated western societies since its discovery. Its rich culture and exotic animals have captured the imaginations of countless generations.
I was watching a documentary on tigers the other day, and I started thinking about the dangerous animals in Asia. This inspired me to create my list of the five most dangerous animals in Asia. A couple points before we begin. I know mosquitoes kill more people than anything else ever. I don’t care, they’re boring and I don’t want to write about them. Also, this list is based on subjective criteria, not number of kills. Some of these animals will just cause you pain and you wouldn’t want to meet them in the forest. Now let us begin.
Image: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen
The tiger has an important place in Asia’s life and culture. It appears frequently throughout the mythology of all the countries in which it appears, generally as a figure of strength and power. It’s generally treated with a healthy respect borne of its danger to humans. While it won’t attack people unless provoked or hungry, clashes are common enough. Recently the issue has become even more common as human encroachment and deforestation means the shrinking habitat of the tiger frequently extends into populated areas. Six people have died and twelve more have been mauled in Bangladesh in the last few months alone after the tigers’ habitat was partially destroyed by a cyclone. They are immensely strong and deadly predators. Treat them with the respect they deserve.
When I think of deadly snakes, movies have trained my mind to think of the cobra. It’s not as dangerous as brown snakes or other poisonous creatures, but it’s still very nasty. The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake, reaching lengths of up to 20 feet. Its venom is a neurotoxin, and it is very dangerous. It’s one of the most venomous snakes on the continent, and it can kill a human with a single bite. Thankfully, most of the snake’s bites don’t inject fatal amounts of venom, although the mortality rate is close to 75% when it gives you a full on bite.
The camel spider is very widespread, found in deserts from Iraq to China and beyond. They’re not venomous, but they will bite humans and their bite is immensely painful. They’re perhaps scarier than they are dangerous, but they’re scary enough that I’m going to include them on this list because I never want to meet one. For one thing, they will scream at you! They can run very quickly, as fast as a human in many cases, and will utter a scream while they chase things. They can also jump up to four feet in the air. The spider loves shadows, and so if you’re in a desert and happen to be the only thing casting a shadow for a long way around you might find one chasing you to stay in your shadow. Freaky stuff.
Image: Ash Lin
The krait is a type of snake found in India and Southeast Asia. The nocturnal animals are immensely poisonous, with a neurotoxic venom more than 16 times deadlier than the cobra’s. The banded krait can allegedly reach more than 7 feet in length. They are nocturnal animals that are aggressive at night. Their bite is fatal to 85% of people bitten, although there is an effective antivenin now so the number is much lower. The venom is particularly painful, and causes paralysis and a slow, agonizing death. You do not want to meet one.