8. South American Rattlesnake
Living primarily off the rodents and lizards of there Amazon rainforest, the South American rattlesnake wouldn’t seem like the biggest threat to humans. But according to Reptile Knowledge, bites from the South American rattlesnake claim several lives a year.
Victims of the neotropical rattler suffer great pain as the powerful neurotoxin shuts down their organs, and the critical medical care needed is often many miles away. Given these circumstances, a bite from the South American rattlesnake is almost always fatal.
Few cases of humans surviving such a bite have ever been reported. In fact, one in which a man received medical care within an hour of being bitten, and lived after at least six treatments of CroFab, was so unprecedented, it was published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
7. Red Bellied Piranhas
In the Amazon, it’s not just the snakes and spiders that will kill you. The fish are pretty aggressive, too. After a trip to South America in 1913, President Teddy Roosevelt had this to say about the piranha.
“They are the most ferocious fish in the world. Even the most formidable fish, the sharks or the barracudas, usually attack things smaller than themselves. But the piranhas habitually attack things much larger than themselves. They will snap a finger off a hand incautiously trailed in the water; they mutilate swimmers—in every river town in Paraguay there are men who have been thus mutilated; they will rend and devour alive any wounded man or beast; for blood in the water excites them to madness. They will tear wounded wild fowl to pieces; and bite off the tails of big fish as they grow exhausted when fighting after being hooked.”
Of course, that’s not all entirely true. Very few humans, if any, have ever been killed by piranhas, but that’s not to say they haven’t tried.
According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, the piranha gets its ferocious bite from the powerful muscles attached to a short lower jaw, holding triangular teeth that interlock with the equally sharp teeth above.
Watch some piranhas being fed in the video below.
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