There are a number of ways to die in Michigan by animals, insects, and reptiles, but what are they and which one is most likely to take you out of this world?

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Michigan's Deadly Critters

Michigan has its fair share of deadly critters. In fact, Michigan is in the top 10 in the country for ways to die by deadly animals, insects, and reptiles.

According to Outforia, in the past 50 years, Michigan's most deadly animals have claimed 138 lives but this doesn't include reptiles and insects.

What Are Michigan's Deadliest Animals, Insects, and Reptiles?

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

One good thing about Michigan's cold weather it only supports one venomous snake and that is the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. These rattlers only get around 2 feet long but their bite is the most venomous and can cause damage to your circulatory system destroying blood cells and skin tissue which can lead to internal hemorrhaging. It has been 100 years since one of these rattlesnakes killed a human in Michigan but that is because medical treatment is very good here. If you're in a remote area, don't take this snake bite lightly and immediately get medical attention.

Brown Recluse Spider

The brown recluse spider has venom that gives its victims a fever, and convulsions and can cause death. The last person to die from a brown recluse bite was a 58-year-old woman from Tustin, Michigan, in 2014.

Black Widow Spider

No one has died from a black widow spider bite in Michigan since the 1950s thanks to medical technology and accessibility has improved in the state. If bitten you may feel a burning, swelling, muscle pain, and paralysis of the diaphragm. Most deaths happen in children and elderly people.

Black Legged Tick

Black-legged ticks can spread diseases like anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most serious of the 3 and if untreated it can attack the central nervous system causing neurological problems for the brain and spinal cord. 10% of those who get severe Lyme disease die.


It's not really the bite of a mosquito that can kill you it is the disease it may be carrying that would be the culprit. Mosquitoes in Michigan have been known to spread the West Nile virus and Easter Equine Encephalitis. West Nile can lead to seizures, muscle weakness, and confusion. Eastern Equine can attach the brain and spinal cord. Mosquitoes claimed two lives in 2020 and 6 in 2019.

Paper Wasps

A paper wasp is common all around the state of Michigan but these are different than bees because they do not die after stinging someone, they can sting multiple times and are very venomous. Most people just get the pain of the sting, some redness and swelling but others who are allergic to a bite can become fatal. On average, 62 people a year die in Michigan if allergic when bitten by paper wasps, hornets, and a variety of bees. Paper Wasps can't claim all the blame on these deaths.

Black Bear

You would think with black bears being above humans on the food chain there would be more attacks on humans but they try to avoid us all at costs. There have only been 3 fatal attacks in Michigan in the last 75 years. If you see a mom and her cubs, don't hang around or you might be the 4th since they are the most likely to attack a human trying to protect their young.

Gray Wolf

Gray wolves are at the top of the food chain in Michigan. Wolves actually hunt bears but when it comes to humans they try and avoid contact completely. A wolf attack on a human has never been documented in Michigan. However, wolves have attacked people in other areas of North America which means it could happen in the Upper Peninsula.


There hasn't been a reported attack on a human from a cougar yet in Michigan, but give it time. Cougars, like gray wolves and black bears, try to avoid all contact with humans. Cougars were once extinct in Michigan but are slowly making a comeback with nearly 80 confirmed sightings since 2008. Cougars will attack humans because there have been 126 attacks in the past 100 years in America with 27 people being killed.

Whitetail Deer

No whitetail deer are not goring hunters or anything like that but they are everywhere in Michigan and many get hit by cars. What is crazy is more than 52,000 deer-vehicle crashes happen in a year in Michigan. There are usually 10 that wind up being fatal but that is still 10 too many.

What Animal is the Most Deadly for Michiganders?

Man's best friend is not always the case in Michigan. Dogs kill more Michiganders than any other animal, insect, or reptile in Michigan. In 2020, 46 people were killed by dogs with thousands of others seriously injured. So make sure you give Fido plenty of treats.

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