Washington's most murderous animal may not be what you're expecting.

Summer's here and you're finding yourself outside more. Maybe it's for recreation and exercise. Maybe it's your quest to have the perfect lawn or yard. Whatever brings you to the great outdoors (even if it's just two blocks down), it's good to stay alert and be mindful of the local inhabitants.

Cougar attacks are actually pretty rare.

In Washington state, there have only been two fatal cougar attacks in the past 100 years. The most recent one became a national story in 2018. Across the continent, there have only been 27 fatal attacks out of 125 total attacks in the last century.

Photo by Leah Huyghe on Unsplash
Photo by Leah Huyghe on Unsplash

Wolves? You're barking up the wrong tree.

A recurring animal in the horror genre, wolves aren't as aggressive as you may think. There have been two wolf attacks in Washington state that have been officially documented. They both occurred within the last 4 years and were non-fatal. A four-year-old from Camano Island was hospitalized after being bitten several times by a wolf-hybrid in 2019. A woman was unharmed in 2018 when she had to climb a tree to get away from a pack of wolves in Okanogan County. You're more likely to be attacked by a dog than a wolf.

'Bear' with us.

What about bears? The Revenant's bear attack scene was one of the hardest movie scenes for me to get through in recent years. Truth be told, more bears were hit by cars in Washington a week ago than have ever killed people in Washington.

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Even though the statistics say you're not too likely to be killed by any of these previously mentioned animals, you should still respect them, their space, and know what to do if you encounter them.

So, what is Washington's most deadly wild animal?

The answer you're looking for is actually bees and wasps. It's not sexy but it's true. Across Washington, flying insects with stingers are the most deadly animal, with over 100 deaths attributed to them nationally each year.

Photo by Bianca Berg on Unsplash
Photo by Bianca Berg on Unsplash


How can you protect yourself from bees and wasps? Well, don't piss them off and remain calm if only one is flying around you. If there's more than one, run.

LOOK: 30 fascinating facts about sleep in the animal kingdom

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