50 Critters To Avoid This Summer, Part 5 of 5
Bob McNally 08.23.15
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 are 50 bad boys–and girls–that could ruin an otherwise grand day outdoors. Avoid them at all costs or pay a painful price.
41 – Wasps
Wasps of various types are common throughout America, and they sting people daily. Because big nests are common and they often are found in old buildings, boat dock areas, and cabins, potential for multiple stings is very real, and very dangerous.
42 – Gaff-Topsail Catfish
While the spines from almost any catfish can cause a nasty, painful wound, the marine gaff-topsail catfish has especially venomous dorsal and pectoral fin spines. Fishermen often catch “gaff tops,” and handling them is not advised. Some people who cut lines and have fish land on dock or boat, kick them back into the water, but a fish spine penetrates their shoe and a painful sting results. Medical treatment is sometimes needed, and allergic reactions can occur.
43 – Bumblebees
Everyone knows that bumblebees–those black-and-yellow buzzers–have stingers, but rarely do they seem life threatening. But if you stumble upon a nest and rock their cradle, they turn ugly fast, and multiple stings are the result.
44 – Raccoons
Raccoons have that cute face and cuddly look, but trust them not. In many regions, especially Florida and the Deep South, the vast majority of raccoons are rabid, and in urban areas they are unafraid of man. Watch your pets, too, as a big coon can make quick work of most dogs, and of course, cats. They are tough, fast, and have a mouth full of bad teeth.
45 – Fire Ants
Fire ants are tiny wingless wasps that have a potent venomous stinger and mandibles with poison, too. One ant is a pain, but they swarm fast and bite often. Allergic reactions are common, and deaths have resulted, with some cases showing victims with over 3,000 stings.
46 – Feral Dogs
Feral or wild dogs are a serious problem throughout the United States. Once a dog “goes wild,” has pups, and a generation or two later, well, they’re wolves that look like Fido. They’re smart, aggressive, and rarely fearful of man. Mostly they prey on deer and small game animals, but don’t corner or disturb them when over a “kill.”
47 – Botfly
The botfly is so small it uses a common house fly as a larval host. But they stick to people, too, and are plenty yucky when discovered emerging through your hide. They won’t likely kill you, but you may want to die when having one extracted.
48 – Rose Caterpillar
48) The stinging rose caterpillar is commonly found on rose, apple, cherry, oak, hickory and dogwood trees from New York to Illinois, Texas to Florida. Its black-tipped spines have poison glands at their bases, and when touched causes pain described as some of the most severe from caterpillars in North America. Colors vary from yellow to red.
49 – Brown Widow Spider
Brown widow spiders have venom twice as potent as black widow venom. However, they do not inject as much venom as a black widow, are very timid, and do not defend their web. The brown widow is also slightly smaller than the black widow. It ranges through the south, and has been found in Australia, South Africa, Cyprus, and Japan.
50 – Grizzly Bear
Walk carefully in grizzly country. Sows and cubs are out-and-about throughout much of the northern Rocky Mountains during summer. Steer clear of them.