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Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Lartnec Nagihcim
A resource for things that bite or sting on 10/30/2012 12:36:16 MDT Print View

Hi folks,

Can anyone recommend a recource or book with information on insects, plants and animals that bite or sting. I recenlty moved to the US and unsure of whats what.



steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: A resource for things that bite or sting on 11/04/2012 20:42:45 MST Print View

You might want to try these web sites:

In most places Its mostly snakes you have to worry about. I found the above web sites using google. there might be better ones out there. Google can also help you find more information about any particular animal.

The best bit of advice I can give is to not touch or pick up a snake. If you pick up the wrong one and it bites you on the trail, days from any help, you might not survive. For it is mostly rattle snakes I have to worry about but I have only sen six since I started to hiking in the southwest. Also don't count on a rattle snake announcing its pressence with its rattle. sometimes you surprise them.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: A resource for things that bite or sting on 11/05/2012 12:50:07 MST Print View

Most of the major backpacking books have a section on animal hazards in North America. I was also looking at "Joe of ZPacks" trip reports recently and the pictures of rattlers he took when finishing the CDT at the Mexican terminus in November. I think it's important to read on the behavior of animals which may present a problem. In the case of rattlesnakes, they enjoy a limited range of ground temperatures, so they may be basking on either side of winter on the desert floor, while it is likely too hot during the day in the desert (though they are out hunting at night). Despite living and working out in the desert, I've run into most rattlers inside the city limits of metropolitan areas. Similarly if I were in Montana, I'd read up on grizzly behavior, etc..

Think the biggest problem in most areas are mosquitos, ticks, and other insects.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Lartnec Nagihcim
Re: Re: A resource for things that bite or sting on 11/05/2012 12:55:31 MST Print View

Thanks very much.

In my home country there are no poisonous/dangerous insects so I am on the watch out since moving to the US.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: A resource for things that bite or sting on 11/05/2012 13:35:29 MST Print View

Welcome to Michigan. The only ones you really have to watch out for here are the bipeds...

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Lartnec Nagihcim
Re: re: A resource for things that bite or sting on 11/05/2012 14:55:52 MST Print View

I will keep an eye out from them Ike ;-)

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: Re: re: A resource for things that bite or sting on 11/05/2012 20:40:32 MST Print View

One other animal that should be mentioned is the Gila Monster. It is the only venomous lizard in the US. It lives in the southwest desserts. Unlike most lizards, it is slow moving lizard and as a result people tend to pick it up to get a better look at it.

Same goes for snakes. Most people that get bitten by rattle snakes are bitten in the face or hand. They don't sea a rattle (Juvenal rattlers don't have one) and pick it up to get a better look at it or to show others.

However keep in mind that the most dangerous animals may not be the venomous ones. From what I have read the only person to have been killed by an animal in Yosemite national park was not killed by a bear, mountain lion, or rattle snake (all common in the park). He was killed by a dear.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: re: A resource for things that bite or sting on 11/05/2012 20:57:05 MST Print View

What? People pick up Gila Monsters and Rattlesnakes? Darwin award?

Killed by a dear. You mean killed by your wife or husband? Yes dear...

Lori Pontious

Locale: Central Valley
re: dangerous animals on 11/05/2012 21:23:34 MST Print View

If you are in the lower 48 states, you should worry about:

bee stings (if you are allergic)
falling off rocks
falling into swift (or not so swift) water

Then, there is the remote chance of bear attack (if you're in grizzly territory), snake bite (depends on which snake and where whether you should be paying attention to the ground or the trees or the water - in California the only venomous snakes are rattlesnakes, and they don't chase you down to kill you, so if you keep an eye out and not bother them you should be fine), deer (specially in rutting season), or of a black bear maybe taking off with your food (which is why many places require you to carry a canister or hang your food).

This would be going by statistics - deer do kill more people than bears by far.

You can access an article on animal related deaths here -

Note that domesticated animals kill more people than wild ones.

Most bugs that are venomous here in the states are not deadly - they'll cause illness, perhaps. The statistics are pretty clear on the level of threat scorpions, centipedes, black widows, etc represent. (I don't even worry about them at all.)

Ticks, which are not venomous, carry disease that can be deadly, so should be dealt with - DEET or clothing (treated or not), and daily tick checks to remove any sneaky ones that got through. Not hard to do.