Great white sharks get a bad rep.
And they have Jaws, Sharknado and Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week to thank.
Sure, they have enormous sets of sharp teeth capable of biting off human limbs, prey upon unsuspecting ocean swimmers and are generally terrifying. But they are cuddly teddy bears compared to the world's deadliest creature.
The world's deadliest creature causes over 725,000 human deaths each year -- that's 724,490 more human deaths caused than sharks.
The world's deadliest creature multiplies at an alarmingly high rate and has a combined population that can't effectively be controlled by any human means.
The world's deadliest creature is not the lion, tiger, or bear. It is the mosquito.
What makes the mosquito so deadly, you ask? Simply put, mosquitoes carry terrible diseases that can, and often do, kill.
Mosquito-borne diseases include malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, West Nile and several types of encephalitis. Malaria alone kills an estimated 600,000 humans a year, many of whom are children from developing countries.
See below the average number of human fatalities caused each year by these deadly creatures:
A growing body of research on mosquitoes has uncovered some terrifying mosquito facts. See the top 10 reasons why mosquitoes suck here.
Even gazillionaire Bill Gates dedicated an entire week to the bloodsuckers on his blog Gates Notes.
While Malaria and dengue fever aren't mosquito-borne diseases typically contracted in North America, the threat of contracting West Nile virus is very real. Mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile have been found in several regions across Ontario.
According to Health Canada, there are two main ways to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases without becoming hermetically sealed inside your home:
1. Use an insect repellent containing DEET.
Personal insect repellents also containing P-methane 3,8-diol and soybean oil may provide some protection from both mosquitoes and blackflies. See the Health Canada guidelines for insect repellents for more information.
2. Control breeding sites.
Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and don't need much of it either. To prevent your property from becoming an egg-laying paradise for mosquitoes, eliminate pools and puddles of water around plants, garbage or recycling containers, and outdoor pet dishes at least twice a week.
Speaking of breeding, just imagine what would happen if (somehow) a shark cross-bred with a mosquito.
Cue "Shark-quito Week".
Want to read more on mosquitoes and other predators?
10 reasons why mosquitoes are the #$@%#! worst
Understanding a predator
Mad beaver terrorizes Miramichi
Ever heard of chikungunya? Better get used to the word because it's getting closer.
How to keep insects under control without the use of chemicals
Heavy rains the reason for appearance of giant mosquito