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Study: Horses kill more people in Australia than snake bites

By
Ben Hooper
Kentucky Derby competitor Nyquist tries to bite his groom in 2016. A new study by a University of Melbourne researcher found horses were responsible for more human fatalities in Australia from 2000 to 2013 than all venomous animals combined. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
Kentucky Derby competitor Nyquist tries to bite his groom in 2016. A new study by a University of Melbourne researcher found horses were responsible for more human fatalities in Australia from 2000 to 2013 than all venomous animals combined. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- An Australian researcher studying deaths from venomous animals discovered a shocking statistic -- horses kill more people in the country than snakes.

The study, published in the Internal Medicine Journal, said Dr. Ronelle Welton of the University of Melbourne and her colleagues examined records from hospital admissions and coroners from 2000 to 2013 to study "injury trends from envenoming."

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The study led Welton to a surprising discovery -- horses killed more people during the 2013 period than all venomous animals in Australia combined.

The study found horses were responsible for 74 reported deaths from 2000-2013, while bees and other stinging insects were blamed for 27 deaths. Snakes caused 27 fatalities, and no reported deaths were linked to spider bites.

Welton said the data challenges stereotypes of Australia as a country where venomous creatures are constantly on the lookout for human prey.

"Australia is known as the epicenter of all things venomous," Welton told the BBC.

She said another "surprising" find in the study was that stings from bees and other insects were the top cause of venom-related hospitalization, followed by spider bites and snake bites.

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