As one of the coolest creatures on earth, it’s no surprise sharks are given an entire week when it seems the whole world is obsessed with all things shark-related. They’re fierce predators who’ve inspired timeless classics like Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, and, of course, the Oscar-worthy Sharknado. But did you know sharks only kill 10 people a year? Mosquitoes, on the other hand, are responsible for 725,000 human deaths each year! That makes them the deadliest creature on Earth, surpassing the second deadliest (humans) by 250,000! Take a look as we face-off sharks and mosquitoes below.
The Deadliest Bite: Sharks-0; Mosquitoes-1
With three hundred teeth arranged in razor-sharp rows, the Great White shark has an intimidating bite. But a mosquito’s bite is a lot more complex. The proboscis, the mosquito’s mouth, contains two tubes, one for sucking up your blood and the other for injecting the mosquito’s potentially deadly, disease-ridden saliva into your bloodstream. Eww! This saliva serves two purposes. One, to prevent your blood from clotting as the mosquito sucks it up. And secondly, to act as a mild pain reliever so you won’t immediately feel the mosquito’s bite. So their saliva gives skeeters plenty of time to become bloated on your blood. The saliva is also responsible for the itch you feel during and after a bite. It induces an allergic reaction that causes your body to produce a histamine response.
Evolutionary Kings (and Queens): Sharks-0; Mosquitoes-2
First appearing more than 400 million years ago, sharks, as a species, have survived FIVE massive extinction events, including the one responsible for ending dinosaurs’ reign on Earth. There are more than 500 species of sharks still roaming the seas today. Sharks truly have an impressive evolutionary staying power. But that’s nothing compared to mosquitoes, which appeared 226 million years ago during the Jurassic period. That’s right, mosquitoes survived two major extinction events, and also feasted on the blood of dinosaurs. With more than 3,000 species currently buzzing around Earth, mosquitoes transmit more diseases than any other creature, far outranking sharks for deadliness. And during the peak of their breeding season, mosquitoes outnumber every other animal on the planet, except for ants and termites.
Hungry like the Beast: Sharks-0; Mosquitoes-3
A shark’s feeding frenzy is legendary – the stuff action-packed horror movies are made of. After all, their ferocity and dedication to the hunt enables a 2,400 lb. shark to devour a massive 66 lb. meal every two weeks. But when you consider just how much and how often a mosquito feeds, the shark’s appetite will pale in comparison. A female mosquito feeds every 2-3 days, using the protein and iron found in the blood to make her eggs. In one feeding, a mosquito will ingest 200-300% of her body mass, which seems minuscule when you realize that’s only between 0.001 and 0.01 milliliters. But if a shark were to consume as much relative to its body mass, it would be feasting on 720,000 pounds every 2-3 days.
So which creature is more deserving of an entire week dedicated to acknowledging its destructive capabilities? Sharks are cute and all, but if you want our honest opinion, the mosquito is easily the most terrifying creature on Earth. How well are you protected against their bite?