For those caught unawares, Arizona is a downright dangerous state. Grand Canyon National Park has been repeatedly ranked as the
most dangerous park in the country; but the hazards don’t stop there — Arizona is home to myriad dangerous animals and insects. Some, like the infamous Arizona rattlesnakes, post well-known threats; others, such a particular breed of beetle, are seemingly innocuous creatures with the capacity to kill. If you’re headed to The Copper State, you’ll want to steer clear of these nine most dangerous animals found in Arizona.
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Indiana Jones would not like Arizona; the state is home to 13 varieties of rattlesnakes alone, like the Sidewinder Rattlesnake, the Grand Canyon Rattlesnake, and the Twin-spotted Rattlesnake. While rattlesnakes give a distinctive warning sign before they strike, if you do get bitten, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention, as rattlesnake venom can cause tissue death -- and even kill you.
2. Gila monsters
The Gila monster is a large lizard that lives in Arizona, and can grow to be up to two feet long. While this lizard is actually quite stunning, they're best enjoyed from afar, as the Gila Monster is venomous. Like many snakes, the Gila Monster's bite releases a neurotoxin that can attack your body and can cause swelling, irritation, paralysis, and even death.
3. Sonoran Desert toads
You won't want to go kissing any reptiles in Arizona, the Sonoran Desert toad included. These toads secrete a strong toxin from their glands that can coat their skin. While generally not an issue for humans; for dogs, these toads pose a huge risk, who often sniff at, or pick up, animals they find. An encounter with a Sonoran Desert toad (also known as the Colorado River toad) can be a death sentence for curious canines.
4. Mountain Lions
Measuring up to nine feet long and known for its silent stalking skills and excellent jumping abilities, mountain lions can take down prey twice their size. While attacks on humans are rare, you'll want to exercise caution when in their territory -- especially if you have Fido in tow, as mountain lions have been known to attack dogs.
5. Tarantula Hawks
Put this down as one of the most terrifying animals in Arizona: the Tarantula Hawk, a highly venomous, incredibly aggressive, stinging wasp. One sting will leave you doubled-over for the most excruciating three minutes of your life. If you're going to the Grand Canyon, keep an eye out for these insects, who seem to really enjoy the scenery there.
Arachnophobes need not visit Arizona, which is home to 27 unique species of spiders, including two of the most venomous in the country. The Black Widow and Brown Recluse both call The Copper State home, and one bite can cause a host of problems, including swelling, difficulty breathing, and, in some cases, even death.
6. Kissing Bugs
If you seen one of these bright-red bugs, turn around and run the opposite direction. These bugs are actually bloodsucking insects that carry parasitic disease. Perhaps most terrifying, they inject an anesthetic similar to bed bugs -- so that you aren’t aware of having your blood sucked for 20-30 minutes. You'll realize
after the fact, by which time, it will be too late: you'll be dealing with headache, rash, fever, fatigue, body aches, and gastrointestinal distress.
7. Black Bears
You may not associate bears with Arizona, but the area north of Mount Old and Payson is home to one of the highest densities of black bears in the country. While black bear attacks in Arizona are generally rare, continued human encroachment into their territory has caused a rise in encounters. Black bears are intelligent, incredibly strong, excellent climbers, and fast: they can run up to 30 miles per hour.
You’ll find over 30 species of scorpions in Arizona, including the most dangerous scorpion in the entire country, the bark scorpion. This venomous creature is ubiquitous in Arizona, found everywhere from rock faces and in trees, to basements and storage closets --
in people's houses.
9. Arizona Giant Centipedes
While centipedes can be found all across the U.S., Arizona centipedes are in a realm all their own. The eponymous Arizona Giant is extra creepy because it's huge (over eight inches long, with 42 legs) and extremely venomous. They have two front legs that act like fangs, which they use to inject venom. While death by centipede venom is rare, getting bit by one of these insects is extremely painful.
Sometimes the most beautiful things are the most dangerous.
Arizona is a wondrous place, but it's also home to some of the most dangerous animals in the country.
While absolutely resplendent, Arizona is also home to many dangers — some very obvious and known; some hiding in plain sight. Commit this list of dangerous animals in Arizona to memory, and be sure to exercise caution when exploring The Grand Canyon State!