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What is America's most dangerous mammal?

This is the question Ronald Bailey of the online journal Reason asked. Grizzly bears? Certainly Lewis and Clark on their way to the Pacific Ocean in 1804 thought so. In the early 1800s, some 50 000 grizzlies roamed the western United States, but their population has now dropped to around 1000 in the lower 48 states. Bears, grizzly and black, killed 128 people in North America in the 20th century. What about mountain lions? Reports that mountain lions lurk in the hills and pick off women trail bikers certainly chill the blood. There have been 14 deaths in North America as a result of mountain lion attacks in the 20th century. No, there is another creature roaming America's woods that is far more dangerous than these big predators. The most dangerous mammal in North America is ... Bambi. The US Department of Transportation estimates that white tailed deer kill around 130 Americans each year simply by causing car accidents. In 1994, these predator deer had a banner year, causing 211 human deaths in car wrecks. There are about 1.5 million deer/vehicle collisions annually, resulting in 29 000 human injuries and more than $1 billion in insurance claims in addition to the death toll. Deer also carry the ticks that transmit Lyme disease to about 13 000 people each year. Economic damage to agriculture, timber, and landscaping by deer totals more than $1.2 billion a year. (Contributed by Ian Scott.)

Unintentional gun injuries

A paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health (Vol 92, No 5) concludes, not surprisingly perhaps, that owning a gun increases the risk that someone in your household will die unintentionally from that firearm. “Unintentional firearm deaths: can they be reduced by lowering gun ownership levels?” suggests that the answer to this question is yes. Gun ownership in Canada is nothing approaching that in the US, but pockets of the population have significantly higher rates of firearms in the home. (Contributed by Amy Zierler.)

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