SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column - Commentary - Humor

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Out In The Woods


June 20, 2019
Thursday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Several years ago, a Forest Service employee was quoted as saying the Ketchikan area was one of the few places  he had ever been that he had to be careful when he went to work that "something didn't eat him."

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Well, that's just great.

With all the other stuff that we have to be worried about in these here parts,  (death by state budget constriction, drowning in Facebook posts about the drought, a giant road construction sink hole opening up and depositing the entire island into China ) we also need to be concerned about some animal killing us, and then maybe even eating us.

That just sucks.

I was gonna say that just bites, but well, given the subject that would be in poor taste.

But I digress.

Anyway, apparently we have more to worry about than hardened arteries and slipping to death on the bathroom floor. Especially here, where hypothermia and dry-land drowning are also two of the biggest causes of death.

But really, how likely is it we would could be killed by an animal?

So glad you asked. The percentage likelihood is really low. Like something like 3 in 600,000 in Alaska. You have a much greater likelihood of being killed by another Homo Sapien, 11 in 100,000, in Alaska than by a wild creature. But we don't want to think about that. We - being modern humans - would much rather worry about things that are just never gonna happen, like being hit by an asteroid or being sucked up into a sharknado.

Now, you are probably wondering why I even brought up this random topic - one I can guarantee wasn't even within your realm of possibility 10 broken paragraphs ago.

Realm of possibility. I have always liked that phrase. It sounds so all encompassing. Although perhaps being in the realm of impossibilities would be a lot more interesting.

But I digress, again.

So, getting back to the topic of being killed by some wild creature, we must ponder what creature indeed is most likely to do us in.

Fortunately a website called Ranker Weird Animals has done just that. Ranker has determined that there is an animal (stretching just a bit here) that is more likely to kill you depending on which state you live.

In some cases the animal isn't particularly wild.

For example, if you live in  Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Virginia, you are most like to be terminated by a dog.

If you live in Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington or West Virginia you are more likely to come to grief after an encounter with a stinging insect such as a bee, a wasp or a television commentator.

I know, it's hard to get worked up by the danger presented by a bumble bee or a shelter pup or even Sean Hannity/Rachel Maddow

Well, how about Bambi????

If you live in Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Utah, or Wisconsin you are most likely to be killed by a deer.


Okay, I gather we are stretching the idea of killing here. Ranker doesn't give out any info about its methodolody. But you have to figure they got their numbers from insurance actuarial tables or some such things.

I can certainly imagine being killed by being pressed - Salem With Trials like - by a thousand pound insurance actuarial table.

But I digress, again. Again.

I suspect that in Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Utah and Wisconsin you are at very little risk of a homicidal herbivore hoofing you down in a dark alley. But you are at risking of being killed in a car accident when you run into a deer on the road.

Bears are apparently a worry in several states. Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky and Vermont residents can be statistically concerned with black bears, while denizens of Montana and Wyoming need to be on the lookout for hungry grizzlies.

In Delaware and New Jersey coyotes are a threat and in Colorado and Illinois, people are apparently occasionally killed by cougars.

North and South Dakotans need to be wary of Bison and people living in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska need to avoid cow tipping at all costs because apparently cows (not sweet docile Elsie??) kill people in those states. Still, it beggars to mind to wonder how drunk you would have to be to not get out of the way of the falling cow you just tipped over, ne c'est pas?

Poisonous snakes are an issue in Georgia and Missouri, and apparently rattlesnakes are the most dangerous things in California, other than a Kardashian driving a Maserati.

Rankers research has also turned up some things that really random.

For example, in Florida, the most dangerous things are apparently mosquitos and Connecticut has a real problem with rabid bobcats.

Nevada has a killer worse than the endless casino buffets, deer mice. Step right up and get your heaping helping of bubonic plague right here!

Fire ants are a deadly problem in both North Carolina and Texas, but only during deluges in Texas as "flood raft fire ants" are specifically called out. I would think you would probably drown before you were overtaken by a floating mass of fire ants, but possibility of such is just another reason why I would not consider the "Friendship" state to be particularly friendly.

Two different types of spiders make the list, Black Widows in Rhode Island and Brown Recluse in Tennessee. Having once been bitten by a Black Widow (in California) I have just crossed Rhode Island off my  (not kick the) bucket list.

Some fatal fauna make perfect sense. For example, Tiger sharks can really mess up your vacation in Hawaii. The one time in my life in which I was basking in the warm waves of "wawaii" I found myself remember that "more than half of all shark attacks occur in less than four feet of water" and promptly decided the condo pool had better odds.

One real oddball, though, stands out. Now I understand that there isn't much to Oklahoma beyond dust and twisters. But how is that "tigers" are the potentially deadliest animals in the Sooner State???

Well, I guess it is because residents of that place would "sooner" be "et" by an escaped tiger than put any reasonable rules and regulations on the hundreds of "game farms" that have popped up in the state to take advantage of the excitement of shooting a "wild" animal that is basically in a 200-acre cage.

By now you are asking two things.

One, when will this endless blathering be finally over (the answer is soon)?

 And two, what about Alaska? What is the deadliest match, as far as human/animal interactions?? Is it a bear, a killer whale, a 398-pound mosquito??

None of those things.

Alaska shares a fatal fauna attraction with its sister state Maine in this regard.

In both states you are most likely to be killed by a moose. And while moose have a notoriously short temper and have been known to stomp people who looked at them sideways, it is once again more likely - as with deer - that you could die in a vehicle accident with the largest member of the deer family.

Now, of course, that leaves us scratching our heads in Our Fair Salmon City because we don't have any of those moosies in these parts.

So I guess that means it is perfectly safe to head out into the local wild because no moose is gonna either stomp you or flatten your Yugo.

Of course you would still have to deal with the deadly Rabid Banana Slug.

Good luck with that.




On the Web:

More Columns by Dave Kiffer

Historical Feature Stories by Dave Kiffer


Notice: Publication Fee Required
Dave Kiffer ©2019
All rights reserved.

Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Representations of fact and opinions in comments posted are solely those of the individual posters and
do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Submit A Letter to SitNews

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2019
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews are protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.