on 14 January 2015
This book was first published in 1969, has 260 pages, 24 chapters, 21 B/W photos but no map. The book is dedicated to victims of man-killers and man-eaters. JAMES CLARKE was born in London and brought up in the Midlands where he worked on several new papers. He movedto Johannesburg, South Africa and workedfor 'The Star' news paper. He was married with 2 daughters. In this book, Clarke covers stories of man-killers from every continent, from small mosquito to large elephant.
The world's largest habitual man-killer amongst mammals is MAN, who kills his own species at the rate of 3/4 million each year. Man is his own worse enemy. It is his nature to destroy himself. Man's history is full of man-killers and even cannibalism (man-eaters), and Man using animals to kill humans for entertainment of the masses. There are 400 species of man-killers. The most dangerous area on Earth is Central Africa. The safest area is Ireland. The worse killers of humans are (1) Insects (2) Man (3) Snakes. The thought that the ordinary camp fire keeps wild animals away, is over-rated. In the wilderness of America and African bush, many wild animals are actually attracted towards camp fires. Hippo, rhino, bears, hyena and man-eating lions, leopards, tigers, will take humans from their camps. It is man's smell and voice that puts them off.
The biggest killer of mankind are the insects -mosquitos (malaria), Tsetse fly (sleeping sickness), Flea (plague) and flies. It was thought that malaria was caused by marsh gases - Mal (bad)-aria(air). In 1895, Sir Ronald Ross discovered the protozoa carried by Anopheles female mosquito, that transmitted the malaria. Mosquito (Aedes) also transmit a virus causing -yellow fever.
The crocodile has been on Earth for 170 million years. Even though they eat fish, some are man-eaters. Out of water, they are nervous of humans. Out of 3,000 kinds of snakes, only 150 are dangerous to man. About 40,000 people are killed by snakes every year. Cobra venom is 'neurotoxin', the adders are 'haemotoxin'. Python kills by constriction and suffocation, especially children and now-a-days adults in USA homes, kept as pets. King cobra injects the largest volume of venom. Snakes are deaf as they have no ears.
The Maasai are very aware of the spotted hyena entering their Boma and trying to snatch a goat or sheep and even a baby. Man-eater hyena are much bigger than ordinary hyena. A 'normal' lion (not a man-eater) is not a man-killer. If it kills, it does not eat the human. The biggest cat in the world is the tiger- has individually killed more humans, most of its victims never knew what hit them. Tigers can climb trees and leap upto the head of a charging elephant. Tigers can also carry 'rabies'. Man-eating leopards are more common in Central Africa and Northern/central India. Rogue wounded bulls in heat or drunk bull elephants cause terror on bush roads, flatten villages,charge railway trains in Africa. Killer elephants are not uncommon. The black rhino is bad tempered, probably because of its poor eye sight. A bad tempered hippo hates camp fires and will attack that camp. It can also bite a human or a crocodile into half. Unmolested African buffalo is like cattle, a wounded one is one of the most dangerous animals.
This book is full of short stories of animal killers and man-eaters, keeping you interested to the end of this book.
Some other books with similar theme are:-
(1) Dangerous to Man, Caras 1964
(2) Man-eaters of Kumaon, Jim Corbett 1944
(3) Man-eaters, Capstick 1981
(4) Desperate Journeys Abandoned Souls,Leslie 1987
(5) Spell of the Tiger, Montgomery 1995
(6) Spineless Wonders, Conniff 1996
(7) Hunter and Hunted, Kruuk 2002
(8) Killer Animals, Ricciuti 2003
(9) Mammoth Book of Maneaters, MacCormick 2003
(10)Man the Hunted, Sussman 2005
(11)Deadly Animals, Grice 2010
Having born in Kenya, I found this book interesting.