https://www.bornfreeusa.org/ maintains a database of exotic animal incidents that occur in the United States. Such incidents include but are not limited to: animal escapes, human injuries, human fatalities, and injuries to animals.

The database has records from 1990 to present day, and include incidents from accredited and non-accredited zoos, circuses, and pet owners.

After examining the reports of exotic animal incidents, I was able to determine which animals are the most dangerous to keep. I looked at two incident categories: attacks on humans and human fatalities. Using the data, I was able to calculate the chances of dying from various exotic animal attacks.

One way Born Free USA categorizes the incidents, is by species. But, because many different species have been documented, the species are listed under much broader groups of animals: reptiles, marine, primates, elephants, small cats, big cats, bears, and other.

Killer whale (Orcinus orca) Photo credit: http://wallpapers-xs.blogspot.com/2012/10/orca-wallpapers.html?m=1

Reptiles

The majority of reported reptiles are snakes. In particular, constrictor and venomous snake species. A total of 146 cases yielded 125 human injuries and 21 human fatalities.

Thus, if an exotic reptile were to harmfully attack, the chance of dying is 14.4%. Only one fatality was not from a snake.

Marine

Common marine animals reported are orcas, dolphins, and sharks. A total of 15 cases yielded 13 human injuries and 2 human fatalities. Thus, if an exotic marine animal were to harmfully attack, the chance of dying is 13.3%.

Both deaths were caused by killer whales.

Elephants

A total of 70 cases yielded 53 human injuries and 17 human fatalities. Thus, if an exotic elephant were to harmfully attack, the chance of dying is 24.3%.

African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Big cats

Common big cats reported are tigers and lions. A total of 219 cases yielded 195 human injuries and 24 human fatalities. Thus, if an exotic big cat were to harmfully attack, the chance of dying is 11%.

Bears

Common bears reported are grizzly bears and black bears. A total of 34 cases yielded 29 human injuries and 5 human fatalities. Thus, if an exotic bear were to harmfully attack, the chance of dying is 14.7%.

Other

Some other common animals reported are wolves and deer. A total of 101 cases yielded 79 human injuries and 22 human fatalities. Thus, if an exotic animal ,other than the previous ones, were to harmfully attack, the chance of dying is 21.8%.

Primates have 157 cases resulting in human injury. No fatal cases reported. Small cats have 10 cases resulting in human injury. No fatal cases reported.

Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) Photo credit: https://www.eastidahonews.com/2015/08/grizzly-attack-elk-hunter-in-island-park/

Sources of information:

https://www.bornfreeusa.org/exotic-incidents-database/

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