Indiana Nature March 02, 2021
You’ll Want To Steer Clear Of The 8 Most Dangerous Animals Found In Indiana
If you’re looking for the creepiest, crawliest, and most dangerous animals in Indiana, you’ve come to the right place. Some of them seem pretty obvious – spiders, snakes, and the like – but others will probably surprise you. From tiny insects to very large mammals, one thing is for sure: Indiana sure has an interesting array of dangerous wildlife! We’ll start with the more-obvious critters and work our way to the animals that might just surprise you in terms of their deadliness.
1. The black widow spider
Possibly the most obvious entry on this list, the tiny-but-mighty black widow spider is said to have venom 15X more potent than a rattlesnake's. It can kill young children very quickly, and in adults, it causes severe issues with the nervous system. Victims of the black widow's bite experience severe pain, burning, and redness at first. Then, their symptoms worsen, plunging them into muscle stiffness and paralysis, nausea, vomiting and severe abdominal pain, sweating, tremors, and even swollen eyelids. The bite is incredibly painful and very uncomfortable, but it is rarely fatal to fully-grown human beings.
2. The timber rattlesnake
The Timber Rattlesnake is, as far as snakes go, objectively beautiful, but they're also quite dangerous. They have long fangs, with a larger-than-most venom sac (because of course they do). Their bite is very potent: it results in nasty hemorrhaging and a shutdown of the nervous system. People have died as a result of untreated bites, and a bite is absolutely an emergency. Luckily, they're rare.
3. The copperhead snake
Copperhead snakes are the most common of all the snakes on this list. They hospitalize and/or kill more people every year than any other snake in the United States. They can be quite aggressive, and their venom is hyper-potent: it destroys living tissue.
4. The brown recluse spider
This little fella might be the most notorious on our list. Their bite is initially painless, but soon, a victim will realize something is wrong. Then comes a fever, with nausea, intense itching, sweating, and chills. The bite then becomes heavily discolored, and the surrounding flesh rots away. A bite from a brown recluse, much like the other critters on this list, is an emergency.
5. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake
Yet another snake makes the list! Lucky for us, there's a very limited number of these snakes that can be found in Northern Indiana. They are very much endangered, and you are unlikely to ever encounter one. Their venom disrupts blood circulation and kills surrounding tissue. These little guys are pretty shy, though, and don't tend to be outwardly aggressive.
6. The western cottonmouth snake
This snake is an endangered, insanely venomous creature whose bites are serious emergencies. If you're lucky, you'll simply lose the limb you were bitten on. The bite leads to necrosis (death) of the flesh and anaphylactic shock. The bite can be deadly.
7. The kissing bug
And now for one that might surprise you! Kissing bugs are tiny, only about an inch long. They have a cute name because of the protrusions on their faces that look like "kissy lips." They bite, which doesn't sound that bad - until you learn that they carry a parasite that leads to severe Chagas Disease in humans. Victims will experience pain and swelling, followed by absolutely horrible headaches, vomiting, and a very painful rash that can all last for months. Unfortunately, victims aren't usually out of the woods once the first few months pass; about 70% of bite victims end up with chronic Chagas for life, which results in severe cardiac issues later in life. Tiny insect, huge impact.
Yup, you read that right - deer. In fact, deer are the single most dangerous animal in the entire United States, and the reason why is mostly unsurprising: they cause more than one million auto accidents every year. That equates to around 2,500 per day, and the problem is quite prevalent in wooded states like Indiana. The best way to avoid a life-ending wreck via deer hide is to drive slowly at night, if you must drive at night at all.
So, there you have it – a list of some of the most dangerous animals in Indiana, and not a wolf or bear in sight. The fact of the matter, though, is that attacks and bites by most of these animals are preventable and uncommon. You don’t have to worry too much, though of course, a little bit of caution never hurt anyone.
Have an appetite for danger? Check out this list of
13 things in Indiana that can kill you.
Have you ever survived a bite by any of these creatures? Tell us your harrowing tales of survival in the comments!