The Ten Most Dangerous Creatures
Welcome back to the third installment of my series called the Wild, Wild West!
Here in southwestern Arizona, the desert climate and milder temperatures as well as the rocks, cacti, sand, and deadwood make for a perfect environment for some creepy crawlies capable of death or severe pain if stung or bitten.
#1 The first little bugger on the list is the Arizona Bark Scorpion. He may be tiny, but packs a potentially deadly punch. Hardly bigger than a nickel, and being the same color as the desert floor makes him hard to see but luckily, they like to hang out under rocks, wood, or anywhere that might be moist.
Being that the sand is reddish tan in this area, they blend right in to the landscape. They also like to enter peoples homes to see moisture, and the amount of residents stung in this area are in the thousands. A person stung by the bark scorpion is going to experience excruciating pain, numbness, and tingling for a few hours, and should seek medical treatment. Luckily, these creatures are nocturnal, so I probably won’t be a victim since I’m not running around the desert in the cold and dark. The only things I do at night are walk the dogs to the dog park or go to the clubhouse to play a game. They also prefer trees for their moisture, and those are pretty rare in the resort. They can climb walls and trees, however, so if the humidity increases, I’ll have my eyes peeled!
#2 The Black Widow Spider
Number two on the list is the Black Widow who most everyone not living under a rock themselves know is identified by the red hourglass on her belly. The bite is excruciating but usually not deadly. A victim will experience pain, weakness, hypertension, and muscle cramps. If you see one of these black, glossy creatures, leave it be!
#3 The Brown Recluse Spider
The third creature on my list is also widely known and recognized by the violin or fiddle shape on its back.
If you watch the video, you’ll learn that this spider is very misunderstood, yet it’s bite can still be potentially dangerous. Take care in cluttered places, moving boxes, or digging around in dark closets, attics, or basements where they might hide. Their bite can cause a small white lesion that could turn into a blister, or a red, itchy place on your arms, legs or torso if one crawls into your clothes.
#4 The Kissing Bug
This cutely named pest is more of an annoyance than dangerous, yet if bitten, will produce many tiny red dots. They are found virtually everywhere in Arizona and like to bite people on the face, near the eyes or mouth. They are characterized by black wings with reddish-orange tips. These blood-sucking nocturnal creatures like to hide under leaves, porches, and in animal dens.
The more I researched this bug, the more varieties I found, but all descriptions said they suck the blood of their victims and sometimes transmit Chagas’ disease.
#5 Africanized Honey Bee
Although the “killer” bees are smaller and darker than European bees, their sting is no more deadly than a traditional honey bee. They are said to reside here in Arizona, they usually live in underground hives. They are more aggressive and quicker to attack than regular honey bees, but I don’t think they will bother us here.
#6 Blister Beetles
Blister beetles don’t bite or sting, they cause harm if touched! They emit a toxin that causes pain, swelling, and blisters that usually go away within a week. Cantharidin is the toxin that causes the blisters and they are from the Meloidae family of beetles.
#7 Tarantula Hawk
The video pretty much covers this nasty-to-tarantulas bug, but it’s pretty nonetheless. It will only sting humans if provoked. Poor tarantulas!
#8 Mojave Rattlesnake
One of the most toxic species of rattlesnakes 🐍 . It’s not deadly unless you’re bitten and don’t get to the hospital for treatment. It is smaller than a Diamondbacks-about three feet long-and is greenish brown. They are afraid of us, and hide in the desert sand or under rocks. Back away and he will do the same.
#9 Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
One of 13 species of rattlesnakes in Arizona-more than any other state-is the Western Diamondback rattlesnake.
These bad boys measure at least 4ft long and have the classic Diamond pattern, are a dusty gray color (most of the time but can be seen in different colors from pinkish brown to yellowish brown) and have two to eight black bands at the tail, separated by an ash gray band in between the black bands. They like the same rocky slides, grasslands, and desert sands as the Mojave Rattlers do. Believe me, I was watching while climbing the other day, but I think they prefer the heat and it’s been chilly here most days we’ve been here.
#10 The Gila Monster
If I was to take a flashlight into the foothills where we are at night, I might see one of these guys. They are nocturnal, and prefer the exact landscape that we are visiting. Rocky, surrounded by saguaros and Palo Verde trees. I’d love to see one…from a distance. It’s bite is not lethal, but still quite painful.
The Gila monster is a large lizard found in western and southern Arizona. It is one of two venomous lizards in North America and one of 49 lizard species in Arizona. According to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, the Gila monster has a large head with small beady eyes and a short fat tail.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, I’m going to hop off here before I lose my wifi and the whole post. It’s taken me about two hours and I don’t want it to disappear! Later gators!