you’re in the water, on a mountain trail, or in your backyard, wildlife you
encounter have ways of protecting themselves and their territory. One method of
defense involves biting or stinging. The wounds can range in severity from the
bite of a shark or venomous snake to the sting of a wasp or yellow jacket to
the annoying itchy bump resulting from a mosquito bite. Regardless of how
severe the attack, a variety of complications can result if the wound is left
untreated or not treated properly. Prevention is certainly the best medicine,
so knowing how to recognize and avoid biting and stinging animals or insects is
the best way to stay safe.
animals you should recognize and understand depend very much on where you live
or where you’re visiting. Different regions of the United States are home to
many of these creatures. Season also matters: mosquitoes and stinging bees and
wasps, for example, tend to come out in force during the summer.
not comprehensive, here are some animals and bugs that can be dangerous.
vipers and coral snakes are two types of poisonous snakes that are indigenous
to the United States. Pit vipers account for 98% of venomous snake bites in the
U.S. The three types of pit vipers include:
and Stinging Insects, Arachnids, and other Bugs
bugs bite, but only a few do so intentionally. Most bites are relatively
harmless, leaving just an itchy patch of skin behind. Some, bites however, can
carry disease; Lyme disease, for example, is typically carried by ticks.
Intentional biters include:
larger insects and other bugs won’t seek you out, but will bite if handled.
include many types of spiders, some of which have poisonous fangs. Poisonous
spiders found in the U.S. include:
will sting humans only as a defensive move against a perceived threat.
Typically, a bee or stinging ant’s stinger will be accompanied by a small
amount of venom that, when injected into your skin, causes most of the itching and
pain associated with sting, as well as any allergic reaction. Common stinging
insects in the U.S. include:
have a well-deserved reputation for stinging. Many species of scorpions have
barbed tails equipped with poison; 25 such species worldwide have poison
capable of killing a human being. The most venomous species of scorpion native
to the United States is the Arizona bark scorpion.
the deepest seas to shallow inland ponds, the waters of the earth are teeming
with unique creatures, many of which are dangerous to humans. These range from
aggressive animals that bite to poisonous fishes
and invertebrates like jellyfish that can sting to crabs that are
poisonous to eat.
the most feared sea-dweller is the shark. However, there are hundreds of
species of sharks, many of which are not at all dangerous to human beings. Only
a select few have been known to attack humans, and even these shark attacks are
few and far between:
white tip shark
water-dwelling animals that may bite if provoked include
barracuda, crocodiles, alligators, caimans, sea lions, moray eels,
octopus, and squids.
fish have venomous fins or other body parts:
and Other Invertebrates
jellyfish are venomous, including the very dangerous Chironex (AKA
deadly box jellyfish) and the Portuguese man-of-war. Other venomous
invertebrates include fire coral, sea anemones, stinging seaweed, and sea
Venomous Water Creatures
types of water-dwelling animals that have the ability to bite or sting include:
of thorns starfish
Land Creatures – Both Wild and Domestic
wild large land-dwellers, such as bears and large cats, can be dangerous. Even
less fearsome-seeming animals, such as deer, can be dangerous in certain
land animals are rarely spotted in the wild, and are unlikely to attack
unless the animal is provoked or feels threatened. If you come across a large
mammal or other animal, do not approach, feed, or follow it. Although an animal
may look tame and friendly, if it is wild, it can act unpredictably.
to home, bites, scratches and other injuries suffered at the hands of
domesticated animals like cats and dogs are not uncommon. For example, an
estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur every year in the United States. Luckily,
these are rarely dangerous. Nevertheless, cat and dog bites can become infected
(animal saliva can carry harmful bacteria), so if a household animal bites you,
wash and disinfect the wound carefully and visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Is My Bee Sting
Fish that Sting
About Snake Bites
Are Sea Lion
Bites a Concern?
When to Carry Bear
Are Sting Rays
Poisonous Sea Urchins
Dog Bite Deaths