North Carolina is a beautiful state, but looks can be deceiving. Beyond those rugged waves, gentle foothills, and beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains is tons of unexpected danger. As a writer, I’m a natural worst-case scenario expert. So what could possibly go wrong and/or attack you in North Carolina? Well, a lot of things.
North Carolina experienced its own mini-Jaws this summer when 8 shark attacks occurred off the coast. Luckily, there were no fatalities, but it's safe to say beachgoers were taking extra precaution. Despite popular belief that sharks deliberately target humans (sarcasm) be careful to not wear shiny jewelry, keep an eye out while on a surf board or boogie board, and apparently punching or targeting them in the eyes is a good method for a human vs. shark victory.
Something about alligators just scares me more than sharks. Maybe it's the fact they're essentially giant prehistoric death lizards, or that their method of killing is to drown you. Either way, alligators don't usually attack without being provoked, but you should always take caution swimming in rivers and bays near the coast.
North Carolina has several beautiful mountains with jaw-dropping, palm-sweating views (like Crowders Mountain pictured above or Pilot Mountain). But tragedy has occurred when people get too close to the edge and fall off. Sometimes even by complete accident or because of a large gust of wind. These accidental deaths are tragic and a reminder for thrill seekers to always keep their distance.
North Carolina is home to several powerful rivers that adrenaline junkies love. But novice rafters should take note and always use caution when discerning which section of the river to go down. Rapids can be dangerous and you risk injury, separation, or drowning.
Just looking at this picture gives me chills. I'm not a fan of snakes and in North Carolina you should take caution. We're home to three types of rattlesnakes: the Timber, the Pigmy, and the most dangerous in North America, the Eastern Diamondback. Luckily, none of the three are naturally aggressive and the majority of attacks occur by accident. Either way, it's important to look before you step while hiking in early-mid Spring.
6. And snakes that can swim!
Eeeek! If you're swimming and you see something come slithering, get out of there! Cottonmouths have extremely dangerous venom and their bite can be fatal. Don't get them mistaken with other water-dwelling snakes, Cottonmouths have a stripe along the side of their head.
7. Oh wait, there's more!
When talking about creepy crawlies (slitheries in this instance) that can kill, you can't forget the Copperhead. Luckily, bites are not usually fatal, but still, you should take extra caution when searching through wood-piles, sheds, and stumps as well as rocks and streams. Basically, snakes are everywhere in North Carolina (just call us mini Australia!) .
Even if your backpacking buddy says he knows those berries are safe for a snack, it's best to say no in a place like North Carolina. We're brimming with poisonous plants (most only fatal if ingested). It's most important we need to keep an eye on our four-legged friends and what they're digging at or eating in the backyard. For a comprehensive guide of what to watch out for,
9. Small, deadly spiders.
Both the brown recluse and black widow can be found in North Carolina. AKA, two spiders you really don't want to find! Black widows are found in dark spaces like garages and attics. The brown recluse is more rare. But it's never too cautious to double check your shoes, old boxes, and dark corners in case one might be hiding. Venom of the brown recluse is considered 'medically significant' as the anti-venoms lose their potency as time elapses. It's important to seek immediate medical attention if you're bitten.
10. Rip currents
Rip currents (strong offshore flows of water) should always be feared. Pay close attention to how far you're swimming out and the rip tide flag for the day. While experienced swimmers can sometimes find their way to safety after being trapped in a rip current, novice swimmers and little ones need to take extra caution when swimming off the coast of North Carolina. Some days the water is gentle; others it can be extremely scary and rough. Some days you can't swim at all. Watch your little ones at the beach and never get too confident or you might find yourself miles from the shore...
11. The mysterious black panther / mountain lion.
This black panther / mountain lion / maybe two separate animals has as much NC legend as anything else on this list. Maybe it's due to the fact that the panther's existence has only been reported through word of mouth? Either way, from the mountains to the coast, everyone seems to have their own panther sighting story. Has the "panther" killed anyone? Not that I know of, but I wouldn't want to stumble upon one in the woods. Wondering what I'm talking about? There's plenty of 'panther stories' in the comments feed from
Which one are you most afraid of? Any we should add to the list? Tell us in the comments!
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