50 Critters to Avoid this Summer, Part 3 of 5
Bob McNally 08.17.15
It’s summer, and American sportsman are out and about in big numbers. With so many millions of people covering lakes and rivers, tidewaters and oceans, hills and dales, mountains and valleys, accidental encounters with beasts big and small are sure to occur.
Here’s the latest in our series of 50 bad boys–and girls–that could ruin an otherwise grand day outdoors. Avoid them at all costs or pay a painful price.
21 – Bull Moose
Although revered almost everywhere they thrive, a bull moose weighing a ton or more is nothing to mess with. Hikers and fishermen commonly encounter moose, and while rarely does danger ensue, don’t get between a bull and a cow or between a cow and a calf. Keep your distance.
22 – Black Widow Spider
Black widow spider bites are severe, and the insects are common throughout much of the world and all of the United States. Bites are 15 times more severe than that of a rattlesnake, but deaths are few. Most at risk are children and people in ill health.
23 – Great White Shark
Rare is the U.S. citizen who encounters a great white shark, but one bite can ruin your day. This famed star from the movie Jaws is a show stopper, with weights pushing two tons and lengths three times the height of a man.
24 – Copperhead
Copperheads comprise over 1/3 of all venomous snake bites in the U.S., but death from a copperhead is only one in about 5,000. Still, beware of this beautifully-colored reptile, found from Mexico to Illinois, New York to Florida.
25 – Spiny Oak Caterpillar
The ¾-inch long spiny oak caterpillar has a wide variety of colors and ranges from Quebec to Florida, Texas to Missouri. Its spines have poison and some people stung by them have severe allergic reactions. Place tape on a sting area to remove spines, and ice placed on the site can reduce pain and swelling. If allergic reactions continue, seek a doctor immediately.
26 – Mosquito
Every outdoorsman tangles with mosquitoes, but be warned they are responsible for more deaths worldwide than any bug or animal. In the U.S., rare is the disease that spread by mosquitoes. Still, West Nile virus, encephalitis, and other deadly diseases are transmitted to humans via mosquito bites.
27 – Gila Monster
Gila monster bites are rare, mostly in very arid states of the Southwest. But the rugged-looking lizards have neurotoxic venom–like a cobra’s–and that’s nothing to fool around with.
28 – Mud Dauber
The mud dauber is a large wasp with a stinger, but it’s a solitary and non-aggressive bug that rarely pesters humans. But mud daubers do pose danger, however, when they build their mud nests in aircraft vents. More than one small airplane has suddenly fallen from the sky because a fuel line was clogged by a dauber den.
29 – Smeared Dagger Moth Caterpillar
The smeared dagger moth caterpillar has an ominous name, and it packs a painful sting in its hairs. It can vary in color, but look for yellow patches along each side and raised red spots on its back. The smeared dagger moth caterpillar also is called the smartweed caterpillar, for one of its preferred host plants. It inhabits beaches and marshes from Florida to Texas to California.
30 – American Crocodile
Thankfully the American crocodile has limited range, primarily wild areas in South Florida. They’re extremely aggressive, and in Everglades National Park have been known to steal and eat sportfish hooked and played by anglers.