25 Worst Animal Attacks In Recent History

Animals, no matter how tame or domesticated they may seem, are still animals and just like the Steppenwolf sings “like a true nature’s child we were born, born to be wild;” animals are, yes, born to be wild.

When they are agitated, hungry, or scared, they go back to the very essence of what makes them animals – the animal instinct, the instinct to survive no matter the cost. In 25 Worst Animal Attacks In Recent History, we look back at the events that remind us to never be complacent around our beastly friends.


Dawn Brancheau


On February 24, 2010, Dawn Brancheau, a Seaworld Orlando trainer, was killed after a 12,300-lb. killer whale attacked her during a “Dine with Shamu” show. The whale, Tilikum, reportedly yanked Brancheau by her ponytail and dragged her down to the bottom of the pool. Witnesses stated that by the time Tilikum and Brancheau were underwater, he had her by the waist and the pool quickly turned red.


Taylor Hubbard

dog attack

Hubbard was a finalist in the Miss Teen USA pageant and planned to join the big leagues some time in the near future. Her aspirations dimmed in a instant, however, when a Siberian Husky sank its teeth into her face and shook her head like a toy. Taylor’s teeth and jaw were also broken. 200 stitches were required to repair the damage caused by the attack.


Timothy Treadwell

timothy treadwell

On October 5, 2003, American bear enthusiast, environmentalist, amateur naturalist, eco-warrior and documentary film maker, Timothy Treadwell was killed in Katmai National Park in Alaska where he’d lived for 13 summers. Willy Fulton, the Kodiak air taxi pilot tasked to pick up Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, found an empty campsite. Treadwell and Huguenard’s mangled bodies were found by local park rangers. Rescuers found Treadwell’s disfigured hand, partial spine, and right forearm in various locations. A large male grizzly tagged Bear 141 was necropsied onsite and it was confirmed that the bear had partially eaten Treadwell and his companion.


Charla Nash

charla nash

In February 2009, Travis, a male chimpanzee, brutally mauled his keeper’s friend, Charla Nash. The attack did major damage to Nash’s face, causing her to lose her eyes and nose. She also lost her hands because of the attack. Travis was shot by Connecticut police when the incident took place.


Bryan Jeffrey Griffin


Bryan Jeffrey Griffin was swimming in the Dead River in Lake County, Florida, when his friends watching onshore saw alligators and yelled for him to get out of the water. One of the alligators, however, quickly grabbed him by its jaws, thrashed him around and pulled him down. It was too late by the time one of the rescuers retrieved the boy. He was pronounced dead when he got to the hospital.


Roy Horn


In March 2002, Roy Horn, of the popular German-American duo of entertainers Siegfried & Roy, was bitten on the neck by a 600-lb. white Bengal tiger named Montecore during a performance at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Horn survived the attack but was in critical condition for several weeks after. It was reported that Horn suffered a stroke and partial paralysis and doctors had to remove one-quarter of his skull during an operation called a decompressive craniectomy to remove pressure off of his swelling brain.


Stephan Miller

grizzly bear

On April 22, 2008, animal trainer, wrangler and stunt double, Stephan Miller was killed during a routine training exercise when Rocky, a 5-year-old grizzly, attacked him. Reports state that Miller was bitten in the neck by the 7½ foot tall, 700 lb bear, killing him within minutes after the incident.


Stray Leopard


A stray leopard caused total panic when it wandered into an Indian village where it mauled 11 people. Six villagers, a policeman, and four forest guards were injured by swipes from the leopard’s claws. Wildlife officials managed to take the beast down with tranquilizer darts.


Andrew Oberle


Andrew Oberle was studying chimp behaviour at the Goodall Institute in South Africa. According to reports, Oberle bypassed two safety fences to get close enough to the chimps and the attack was blamed on human error on the part of Oberle. He was left fighting for his life after being bitten and dragged for half a mile. His parents asked the hospital not to disclose the extent of their son’s injuries but reports have leaked saying that the victim lost his fingers and toes, and his arms were exposed to the bone.


Wolves Attack Zookeeper


A zookeeper, who remains unidentified, was mauled by a pack of wolves when she entered the enclosure at Kolmarden Wildlife Park, Sweden’s largest zoo. The 30-year old woman, who had worked with the pack of eight wolves since they were puppies, entered alone at around 11 AM when the deadly attacked took place. The woman died after sustaining several injuries and her body was recovered only after zoo employees managed to push the wolves back.


Shaiunna Hare


Shaiunna Hare lived in a small one-story house with her mother, Jaren Ashley Hare, 19, and her mother’s boyfriend, Charles Jason Darnell, 32. Darnelle woke up to find that their 8½-foot albino Burmese python was missing from its terrarium. He discovered the python coild around the toddler’s body before stabbing it with a knife. Reports confirm that the toddler was crushed to death by the python and died of asphyxiation. The child’s gaurdians were charged with manslaughter and child neglect and sentenced to 12 years in prison each.


Carlos Eduardo Sousa Jr.


Tatiana, a 243-pound, 4-year-old Siberian tiger at the San Francisco Zoo, escaped from her open-air enclosure and severely injured 2 brothers — Amritpal and Kulbir Dhaliwal. The third victim was Carlos Eduardo Sousa Jr. A zoo employee found Sousa’s body near the tiger grotto and reported that he saw the victim’s throat severely punctured. Autopsy later revealed that Sousa received blunt force injuries to the head and neck. There were also punctures and scratches on his head, neck and chest. The attack also caused skull and spinal fractures and a cut on the victim’s jugular vein.




During a ride on a new rollercoaster called Apollo’s Chariot, romance novel cover boy Fabio was hit by a bird on the nose, causing him to temporarily lose his “fabulous” style.


Steve Irwin


The whole world was in shock upon learning that the beloved wildlife expert, television personality, and conservationist, Steve Irwin, aka “The Crocodile Hunter,” was killed after being fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary film titled “Ocean’s Deadliest.”


Phil Bronstein

phil bronstein

Chronicle executive editor Phil Bronstein suffered a serious foot injury after he was attacked by a venomous Komodo dragon at a Los Angeles Zoo. Bronstein was shoeless at the time of the attack. He was wearing white tennis shoes during his visit and was told by the zoekeeper to take them off as the dragon might mistake them for the white rats that zookeepers usually feed it with. The dragon’s jaws crushed the casing of Bronstein’s big toe. He had to undergo surgery to reattach severed tendons. Bronstein was with his then-wife Sharon Stone during the incident.


Maddox Derkosh

painted dogs

Maddox Derkosh met a tragic death when he fell off a railing enclosing African painted dogs. The boy had vision problems so his mother lifted him up to get a better view of the dogs. He lunged forward to get a better view, fell and bounced off the protective netting, and that’s when the 11 dogs pounced on him. Autopsy confirmed that the boy died from severe blood loss caused by the attack, not from the fall.


Bethany Hamilton

bethan hamilton

On October 31, 2003 Bethany Hamilton went for a morning surf in Tunnels Beach, Kauai. Around 7:30 in the morning, she laid on her surfboard with her left arm hanging in the water and a tiger shark mauled her, severing her arm. Hamilton suffered from a 60% blood loss yet survived the attack and continues surfing to this day.


Elephant in Kerala


An elephant in the south Indian state of Kerala went berserk at a ceremonial festival, killing its trainer and severely injuring more than 20 onlookers.


Wes Perkins


54-year old Wes Perkins and his companion were pursuing a bear on a snowmobile when it attacked Perkins and severely mauled him, leaving him in critical condition. Perkins was flown to a Seattle hospital but managed to survive.


Phyllis Johnson


94-year-old Phyllis Johnson was outside hanging her laundry when a kangaroo appeared out of nowhere and bounded into her, knocked her off her feet and kicked her several times. The woman tried to fend the the kangaroo off with a broom to no avail until all she had left to do was crawl to safely. The victim’s son used pepper spray in an attempt to subdue the beast. Johnson was rushed to the hospital after the attack.


Horation Chapple

polar bear

A starving 250kg polar bear attacked a group of campers on a remote Norwegian island in the Arctic circle killing one teenager, Horation Chapple, and injuring four others. The bear was shot dead by one of the group’s leaders.


Jenna O’Grady Donley


Australian tourist Jenna O’Grady Donley was fatally attacked by a pygmy elephant in a wildlife reserve on Borneo island in Malaysia. O’Grady Donley was said to have been trekking with a friend when they encountered and may have startled the animal while trying to photograph it, causing the animal to charge at them.


Joe Ramonetha


Joe Ramonetha, a 63-year old South African zookeeper, came out of retirement due to staff shortages. While feeding some lions, Ramonetha was attacked by an 11-year-old lioness named Nyanga. It was reported that security gates were left open, leaving Ramonetha vulnerable to the attack. His colleagues said that they heard screams after the victim endured a severe bite to the neck. Ramonetha was rushed to the hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival.


Musa Jelle


A family in the northeastern Kenyan town of Wajir was attacked by a pack of hyenas during their sleep, killing 2 children and injuring 6 other members of the family. One of the victims, 10-year old Musa Jelle, was mauled in the face and had to be airlifted from Wajir to Nairobi when his condition went from bad to worse; fortunately, he survived.


Darla Napora

pit bull pulling on leash

A pregnant woman, Darla Napora, was found lying in her California living room soaked in her own blood. Reports say that the victim was not breathing and was unresponsive. It was later found out that Napora sustained several dog bites and major trauma to her upper body. It was unfortunate that she was attacked by a dog whose vicious reputation she was trying so hard to defend. Napora was a member of Bay Area Dog Lovers Responsible About Pit Bulls, a group that is committed to convincing people that pitbulls are not dangerous animals.

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