In 2004, Orange County, Cal. mountain biker Mark Reynolds was attacked and killed by a 110-pound mountain lion while kneeling over to fix his bike's chain. Later in the same day, the big cat pounced on another biker and had its jaws on her head when other cyclists came to her rescue. The animal was later put down by rangers.
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There are less than 4,000 of these giant lizards on Komodo, living alongside the 1,200 human residents of the island. Thirty-three years had passed without incident before an 8-year-old boy got too close to a Komodo Dragon in June 2007, shattering the seemingly harmonious coexistence.
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Hippos are not the cute animals many perceive them to be. They are extremely territorial, especially when in rut (a state of sexual excitement). In 1999, a horny hippopotamus mistook a tractor for a female and trampled a Parisian zoo director en route to the seductive machinery.
George Nikitin, San Francisco Zoo / AP
Sometimes an animal's rage only really comes out when it's a bit tipsy. Drunk off villagers' rice beer, a pack of elephants trampled six people in the northeast Indian state of Assam in 2002. "It has been noticed that elephants have developed a taste for rice beer and local liquor and they always look for it when they invade villages," explained an elephant expert after the incident.
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Between July 1 and July 12, 1916, five people were attacked by sharks along the New Jersey shoreline, and only one survived. The Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 would later inspire Peter Benchley to write the novel "Jaws."
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In 2006, chimps attacked and killed an employee of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone. The chimpanzees also roughed up some American and Canadian workers. Word is they were docile moments before they flew into a rage, biting and tearing at the clothes of anyone within striking distance.
Professor Val Plumwood was famous in her native Australia for surviving the death roll of a saltwater crocodile, an extremely rare feat. She was not, however, able to survive the attack of a snake. The naturalist is believed to have been bitten a few days before being found dead on her property.
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"Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin wrestled his nick-namesake and generally palled around with some nasty critters, but it was a seemingly benign stingray that took out the star of TV and movies. The animal's barb pierced Irwin's chest while he and his crew were shooting a documentary in 2006.
People are fascinated by big cats, making them a big draw for zoos. A 4-year-old Siberian tiger at the San Francisco zoo was tired of all the crowd-pleasing on Christmas Day of 2007, and decided to bound over a 20-foot wall to attack zoo patrons. One person was killed and two others were mauled.
Though they haven't killed anyone yet, Australian farmers have recently starting voicing their concerns about hybrid wild dogs. Apparently, when a canine reaches 21 kilos, it has the ability to kill creatures its own weight and above to survive. Farmers say the dogs are currently at 19.5 kilos and growing larger.
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