9 Things That Can Kill You in Brazil (You Should Visit Anyway)

What can kill you in Brazil? A lot of people worry about safety in Brazil because of news or movies and sometimes it seems like there’s no law over here. That’s not the case. There are problems in Brazil, like anywhere else, but If you use common sense, always rent good hotel rooms and avoid places where you’re not supposed to be, you should be fine.

Although, there are things that can kill you in Brazil. Most of them you’ll never get close to (hopefully), but there are some sneaky threats like spiders, snakes, and even ants that you need to be aware of.

These are the 9 Dangerous Animals That Can Kill You in Brazil:


What Can Kill You in Brazil?

Do you think shark attacks are a concern only when you are traveling to Australia, South Africa, or Florida? Then you’ll be surprised.

Brazil is the 9th country in the number of shark attacks according to ISAF (International Shark Attack File).

The state of Pernambuco is the Brazilian region where most shark attacks happen. According to data from the Brazilian institute CEMIT (State Shark Incident Monitoring Committee), since 1992, when the shark attacks started to be monitored and registered, 65 shark attacks took place on the shore of Pernambuco.

Praia de Boa Viagem, Recife (PE)

This paradisiac beach full of natural beauties is also one of the most dangerous places for tourists on the entire planet.

The city of Recife, in the state of Pernambuco, is the place with the biggest number of shark attacks in Brazil since this data started to be registered in 1992.

In the city, a beach is known as “Boa Viagem” is considered one of the most dangerous places for bathers on earth.

On the beach, there are a lot of signs highlighting the risks of shark attacks in the area. Even so, because of the beauty of the place, it still attracts lots of tourists.

It happens because of the large number of sharks of aggressive species in the warm waters of this region, such as the Tiger Shark and the Bull Shark, considered by many as the most dangerous shark species.

Enseada da Caieira, Fernando de Noronha (PE)

Enseada da Caieira is one of those places with a perfect story for a horror movie. One of the most beautiful destinations in the whole country, a true Paradise.

But at the same time, Enseada da Caieira is one of the beaches that has sharks in Brazil and one of the places that counts more shark attacks in the world.

Even though it is one of the most charming places in Brazil and on the whole planet, the Fernando de Noronha archipelago hides some threats, so it is essential to research before reaching the region.

After all, the natural pools, the fauna, and the flora make the Enseada da Caieira beautiful but also seen as one of the most dangerous beaches in Brazil for diving and bathing due to the presence of sharks.

Bull Sharks in The Amazon River

The bull shark, despite being predominantly found in the ocean, can incredibly adapt to freshwater. They are frequently caught in the Amazon, owing to the proximity of the Amazon River to the ocean. As if the Amazon jungle didn’t have enough dangerous animals, right?

Brazilian Wandering Spider

What Can Kill you In Brazil?

Thereare more than 40 thousand species of spiders registered all around the world and most of them are harmless to humans. But the Brazilian Wandering Spider is an exception.

Also known as “banana spider” or here in Brazil as “aranha armadeira”, this spider is one of the most feared and dangerous animals in Brazil.

Different from other species that are harmless to humans, the Brazilian Wandering Spider is aggressive and will attack if have the chance. They are large, with bodies reaching up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) and leg spans reaching about 6 inches (15 cm).

The Murderess

The scientific name of this spider suits well: Phoneutria, which means “murderess” in Greek. Their venom is powerful enough to kill humans and deliver some bizarre side effects.

According to Sewlal, an arachnologist in an interview for Livescience, after a human is bitten by one of these spiders, he or she may experience initial symptoms such as severe burning pain at the site of the bite, sweating, and goosebumps, Sewlal said. Within 30 minutes, symptoms become systemic and include high or low blood pressure, fast or a slow heartbeat, nausea, abdominal cramping, hypothermia, vertigo, blurred vision, convulsions, and excessive sweating associated with shock. People who are bitten by a Brazilian wandering spider should seek medical attention immediately.

But there’s more. One very bizarre side effect of its venom. The bite of a Brazilian wandering spider can deliver a long and painful erection to human males. Crazy, right?

The Murderess is certainly a thing that can kill you in Brazil. So be careful. This spider can be found anywhere in Brazilian territory and a good piece of advice to avoid being bitten is to always check your clothes and shoes before wearing them. Especially If you are camping or in a resort near to a forest.


If you ever watched the movie Anaconda in the 90’s then you know what I’m talking about. Although the movie exaggerates the behavior of the snake, there are gigantic snakes that can kill and eat humans here in Brazil. It’s very rare, but it happens.

Know in Brazil as “Sucuri”, the Anacondas are the biggest species of snakes that can be found in the Americas, reaching up to 10 meters length.

A Hell of A Bite (And Hug)

Anacondas are not poisonous, but the powerful bite stuns the prey, which is quickly enveloped by the snake’s strong and robust body. These huge snakes live close to rivers and lakes and have a semi-aquatic habit and. Although slow on land, they are very agile in the water: Eunectes, the name of their genus, means “good swimmer”.

Usually, they wrap themselves around the prey that is taken to the water, where it drowns. The strong “hug” of anacondas can also kill their victims by asphyxiation – each time the prey expires, the snake tightens until it stops breathing completely.

Anacondas are all over the country, usually in flooded areas. Unfortunately, by fear and greed (their skins value a lot of money), a lot of people still kill this beautiful animal even knowing that the chances of killing a human are very low.

If you want to improve your chances of seeing an Anaconda (with safety), you can visit Pantanal or Bonito.

Poison Dart Frog

Its size does not impress, but with only 2.5 centimeters, this is the most dangerous animal on this list. This little frog found in the region of the Amazon rainforest can kill you with just a touch.

The frog “Ponta-de-Flecha”, known out of Brazil as Poison Dart, has a strong poison that can be instantly fatal at the moment of contact. The “poison dart”, according to biologist Igor Kaeser, from the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM), is considered one of the most dangerous animals in the world.

This Little Frog Can Kill You in Brazil

The frog “Ponta-de-Flecha” usually has strong colors in shades of red, blue or bright yellow. These colors are an indication of danger to other animals.

Poisonous frogs are not rare, but what makes this species different from other frogs in its family is the strength of its poison. The frog secretes its toxin in the skin of the back, to use it as a defense against predators.

Only 40 micrograms of its poison are strong enough to kill 10 adult men at once!

Because they have a deadly poison, to the point that a simple touch is necessary to kill, the Indians use this toxin as an advantage in their combats against other tribes and for hunting. The biologist explains that the poison on the arrowhead lasts up to a year to lose its massive effect.


In my opinion, this is the most beautiful animal on the entire planet, yet, another thing that can kill you in Brazil. The Jaguar, known in Brazil as onça-pintada, is the biggest feline in the Americas. An emblematic species of Brazilian forests, the jaguar is important for conservation actions.

In Brazil the Jaguar is usually seem in the Amazon, in the Atlantic Forest, in the Pantanal and in the Cerrado.

The jaguars resemble the leopards that live in Asia and Africa, but they are bulkier, have more muscular legs and their spots are much larger. This feline can reach 135 kg and is a robust animal, with great muscular strength, and the power of its bite is considered the greatest among the cats of the world. Its natural prey are wild animals such as capybaras, alligators, white-lipped peccaries, deer and armadillos.

Jaguar attacks against humans are very rare, and only happen if the animal feels extremely threatened, when it has its territory invaded or to protect its young. Still, due to fear and ignorance, many people still hunt these animals.

The increasing environmental changes caused by man, as well as deforestation and hunting of wild prey and jaguars themselves are the main causes of the decrease in the population of jaguars in Brazil. Reducing these threats is critical to ensuring the jaguar’s survival and ecosystem integrity of this beautiful animals.

Bullet Ant

What Can Kill You in Brazil?
Photo: Cultura Mix

Would you like to feel pure, intense, and radiating pain, for up to 24 hours, as if someone were running over the burning ember with a 7 cm rusty nail stuck in the heel? Well, this is how Justin Schmidt, creator of the pain scale known as the Schmidt Index of Sting Pain, describes the bite of the Bullet Ant.

Also known as tocandira, naná, saracutinga, cabo-verde and black ants, she is the queen of all pains. It is located mainly in South America, originated in the Amazon region. They are carnivorous ants and their prey are insects, slugs, and small lizards.

Measuring about 2.2 cm in length, this ant is considered giant when compared to the other species of ants. They are aggressive and known as Bullet Ant for the pain of their sting resembles the pain of a gunshot. The bites cause spots and lumps on the skin, general malaise, and vomiting.

The top of the Schmidt Index of Sting Pain is level 4. Only brutal and paralyzing pain stings belong to this category. The Bullet Ant is ranked as the worst and most painful sting of the index.

South American Rattlesnake

Widely known in Brazil as “Cascavel”, this snake is very dangerous. One of the main characteristics of this snake is the presence of a rattle at the end of its tail, that’s why they called Rattlesnake. The snakes can live up to 20 years, and adults measure between 1.5 and 1.9 meters.

They prefer dry and rocky regions. They are distributed irregularly throughout the national territory, being found in greater numbers in the Southeast region and, in a very small number, in the Amazon, and on the coast.

This Rattlesnake has a powerful poison that destroys the victim’s blood cells, causes muscle damage, affects the nervous and renal systems. In the venom of this snake, there is a protein that causes rapid clotting, causing the victim’s blood to harden.

The rattlesnake is not the Brazilian snake that most attacks humans but ranks first in the number of deaths caused by snakebites in Brazil.

An interesting thing is that the rattlesnake bite does not hurt much, according to several reports. Whoever is bitten should never make tourniquets or tourniquet, this aggravates the action of the poison and can lead to the amputation of the affected limb. The wound should also not be bandaged.

You can wash the wound with soap and water or with saline. But the best thing to do is get the victim to the hospital as soon as possible. This is important for the correct administration of antivenom, or antiophidic serum.

Black Caiman

Black Caiman - What Can Kill You in Brazil?

This crocodilian is the largest of South America and along with the American alligator one of the biggest on earth. It’s a carnivorous reptile that lives in lakes, slow rivers, and flooded savannas in different freshwater habitats of South America.

The Black Caiman is gigantic, growing at least to 5m (16 ft) and possibly up to 6m (20ft). Although, some people from the riverside population in the Amazon report that already saw Black Caimans (known as Jacaré-Açu) more than 9 meters long.

It’s just reporting, but they should not be completely ignored since the native population is the one that most has direct contact with animals living exactly as they live in the forest, not in a controlled environment.

A Black Caiman is an animal that can absolutely kill you in Brazil, but the odds of being attacked by one of these crocodiles are very low.


Piranhas - What Can Kill You in Brazil?

Only found in South America, the Piranha is one of the most feared freshwater fish in the world and this is due to the violence of its attack, which can be carried out in groups or individually.

However, despite the reputation, this fish is far from being a cruel and relentless killer. She is also not a man-eater, as many imagine. Otherwise, the Piranhas are routinely eaten by people.

The piranha only attacks when it is hungry. The attacks are caused mainly by falling objects in the water or unusual movements, that are interpreted as the presence of an injured animal by a lot of predators, not only the Piranhas.

In addition to being a skilled hunter, a Piranha also feeds on dead animals and even its own species when food is scarce. Like always, movies take things from reality and exaggerate them in order to make them more commercial. With Piranhas, it’s the same thing.

Most piranha attacks on humans only result in minor injuries, typically to the feet or hands. Sometimes it can cause more serious injuries and even death, but the odds are very low.

Why You Should Visit Brazil Anyway?

Here’s the truth: while there are tons of things that can kill you in Brazil, visiting here is really no riskier than traveling anywhere else.  From gigantic crocodiles to microscopic frogs with venom to kill an army, the truth is that this is nothing compared to what humans themselves are capable of doing.

While traveling to Brazil or anywhere else, use common sense, be smart, and don’t try to be a hero if things ever get bad. Only stay in good hotels, don’t go talking out loud that you’re a tourist with a full pocket, and avoid visiting places that you should not, even If you know someone that went there before.

Talking about animals, the same common sense is necessary. If you’re camping or hiking and ever find yourself facing one of these animals, calm down, be respectful and let them follow their path.

I guarantee that If you follow these tips, you’ll be avoiding 99% of the problems that you can have while traveling. The 1% left is for the bad things that unfortunately are going to happen anyway. My wife, for example, almost died in Orlando one time because of a sore throat and dehydration. Simple stuff that scaled very fast almost took her life.

Anyways, remember the advice and you should return home in safety and with great memories of Brazil. You’ll enjoy your time here 🙂

Final Considerations

Wow! A lot of things that can kill you in Brazil right?

By writing my last article in the blog I’ve discovered how much I like to write about this kind of stuff about Brazil, such as animals, fauna, and flora.

That being said, I hope it gave you all the information that you needed about “What Can Kill You in Brazil”.

If you want to read more incredible articles about Brazil, just click here and enjoy.

Have a good one and I see you next time.


What’s up! I’m André, a Brazilian born and bred living in the South of Brazil in a little city called Guarapuava. I’m passionate about traveling and knowing different cultures and that’s why I love to share useful information about the Food, Travel, Facts, and Culture of my beloved country, Brazil.

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