50 Critters to Avoid this Summer, Part 2 of 5
Bob McNally 07.25.15
It’s summer and American sportsman are out and about in big numbers. With so many millions of people covering lakes, rivers, tidewaters, oceans, hills, dales, mountains, and valleys, accidental encounters with beasts big and small are sure to occur.
Here’s the next installment in our list of bad boys–and girls–that could ruin an otherwise grand day outdoors. Avoid them at all costs or pay a painful price.
11 – Brown Recluse Spider
The brown recluse spider is a bad dude that doesn’t get near enough press. Its bite eats away human flesh and can takes many weeks to recover from. It’s commonly found in cabins and older homes, places where people live. Shake your clothes out before putting them on, and don’t reach into dark cabin corners.
12 – Portuguese Man Of War
Portuguese Man Of War are beautiful and commonly washes up on U.S. beaches. Their long tentacles are poisonous, however, and can make a day at the beach a real pain.
13 – Saddleback Caterpillar
The distinctive and beautiful saddleback caterpillar has stinging hairs all over its body, especially on the “horns” that poke out at either end. Their hairs can inject venom from poison sacs carried at their base, and the very painful sting can cause humans problems for days. They’re common throughout the eastern U.S. from summer into fall.
14 – Cottonmouth Water Moccasin
The cottonmouth water moccasin is one of the more aggressive venomous snakes in the U.S. Abundant throughout the Southeast; living near lakes, rivers, creeks, bogs, and marshes, the moccasin is a fearsome snake.
15 – American Bison
The America bison isn’t common, but in places like Yellowstone National Park they annually injure more people than bears. Deaths are not uncommon when tourists having a Kodak moment get too close to a one-ton bull.
16 – Tarantula
Tarantulas look more dangerous than they really are, but their bite is painful. Campers in arid areas are wise to check their clothing and shoes before dressing for a day outdoors.
17 – Stingray
Coastal fishermen commonly catch stingrays while fishing bait on bottom. Most are easily released by cutting the fishing line, but watch that tail. The stinger is large and the tail extremely flexible. The sting is excruciatingly painful, but it can be quickly neutralized with hot water poured in the wound. On a boat, the water jet outflow from an outboard is a serviceable hot water antidote.
18 – African Bees
African bees have invaded much of the Southern U.S., pushing out native honey bees. They’re extremely aggressive, attack in large swarms, and can be deadly.
19 – Python
South America isn’t the only place where anacondas live. They’re in South Florida, too, like the python. Because of its enormous size and water habitat, the Sunshine State is destined to have the big reptiles for a long time to come.
20 – Puss Caterpillar
The wooly, pussycat-appearing puss caterpillar belies the numerous sharp, venom-laden spines hidden beneath its luxuriant coat of soft hairs. Because these caterpillars appear as innocuous pieces of fluff, children and adults are easily tempted to pick them up. These innocent-looking critters have the power to make grown men cry in agony. Its sting can trigger an immediate onset of excruciating, unrelenting pain, radiating to the lymph nodes in the armpit or groin, and then to the chest. Though only rarely representing a true medical emergency, these symptoms have the feel of a genuine, serious, life-threatening event. As a result, it is common for victims of puss caterpillar stings to seek medical assistance at hospital emergency rooms.