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The Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico
While the great country of Mexico is known worldwide for its vibrant culture, idyllic beaches, and storied history, the rugged terrain of the nation is also home to a rich biodiversity. Unfortunately, some of the animals contained in this biodiversity are more deadly than others. Hikers, beachcombers, and tourists of all stripes should do their best to avoid the following dangerous Mexican animals at all cost. An unlucky encounter with any of the animals on the below list could prove to be a painful experience, if not outright deadly:
#10 Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico: The Stonefish
This prickly character is only a threat to swimmers, scuba divers, or fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico or the far more pristine Gulf of California. What makes the stonefish a threat are both its toxic spines and its remarkable ability to disguise itself as a stone. For those unfortunate souls unlucky enough to feel the sting of a stonefish’s venom, an excruciating experience is sure to follow. Thankfully, stonefish venom is not deadly, just extremely painful.
#9 Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico: Gila Monsters
While the infamous Gila Monster certainly does sound frightening, this secretive lizard does not live up to its name. Otherwise known as the bearded lizard, the Gila Monster can grow up to two feet and typically weighs no more than a couple of pounds. What makes the lizard so dangerous is its venom, which is rumored to be as toxic as that of a rattlesnake. While Gila Monsters are rather slow and sluggish, being bitten by one isn’t very common. Besides, there have been no reported deaths from a Gila Monster bite in nearly a hundred years. So, if you see this infamous creature out in the wild, it’s best to just back away and move on. Its name is far more frightening than the lizard itself.
#8 Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico: Bark Scorpions
No one who has felt the sting of a bark scorpion ever wants to repeat the experience again. Indeed, the venom of these diminutive insects certainly packs a wallop. Not only does this scorpion’s sting cause overwhelming pain, victims can expect to experience bouts of vomiting, extreme swelling, and numbness throughout their body. Symptoms often last 1 to 3 days and some unlucky sting recipients may even find it hard to breath or even move the affected limb. Sadly, these pesky bugs are all too common in Mexico with up to 100,000 people stung each and every year. The best way to avoid feeling the sting of bark scorpions while you’re out hiking or exploring Mexico’s scenic countryside is to wear the thickest pair of boots you can find.
#7 Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico: Box Jellyfish
Similar to the previous entries of this list, the box jellyfish produces a powerful venom to both hunt prey and, in the case of humans, ward off predators. There are dozens of species of box jellyfish in the world’s oceans, but the species floating about in Mexican oceans are fearsome Chiropsalmus quadrumanus, known more commonly as the four-handed box jellyfish. With an appearance like an alien creature from outer space, the four-handed box jellyfish’s sting is very potent and one touch of its long tentacles has been known to kill some unfortunate victims. The sting is so powerful it can cause both the heart and lungs to cease functioning altogether. While the vast majority of victims survive this jellyfish’s sting, survivors report experiencing severe pain and a rash which can last for months. If you encounter this gelatinous threat while snorkeling or swimming in the warm waters bordering Mexico, it’s best to just swim away as quickly as you can.
#6 Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico: Cougars
As fearsome as cougars are, especially if you stumble upon one while hiking, the threat of being attacked by these big cats in Mexico is quite rare. Not only are their numbers increasingly low in the reserve on the Baja peninsula, cougars rarely attack humans, at least intentionally. When cougars do attack humans, they often mistake them for other prey, such as deer. If you are lucky enough or, rather, unlucky enough to come across a mountain lion in the wilds of Mexico your best bet is to remember that the animal is likely more afraid of you than you are of them. Instead of running away in fear, it’s better to back away slowly and give the cougar a chance to escape. Don’t make them feel pinned in or trapped. Just stay calm, don’t panic, and be prepared to defend yourself if necessary.
#5 Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico: Rattlesnakes
If Mexico is known for one dangerous animal, it is almost certainly rattlesnakes. In fact, over 90% of all rattlesnake species call Mexico their home. Thankfully, most rattlesnakes are nocturnal animals, preferring to hide out underground during the day in order to avoid the hot sun. And since rattlesnakes have a rudimentary form of heat vision, these venomous snakes will almost certainly see you in the dark before you see them. Luckily, the rattle in rattlesnake will let you know if they’re in your immediate vicinity. If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, you should seek out emergency medical care ASAP. Rattlesnake venom can cause long-term damage to your brain and nervous system. A rattlesnake shot is nothing to simply overlook.
#4 Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico: Black Widows
Similar to many of our previous dangerous animals, the infamous black widow spider has distinctive markings one should keep an eye out for. The blood red hourglass markings on the spider’s back is a clear sign you should avoid these creatures at all costs. A black widow sting is one of the worst insect bites a person can ever experience. Symptoms include nausea, headaches, vomiting, hallucinations, seizures, muscle spasms, fever, and possibly even shock. Anyone bitten by a black widow should obtain medical care immediately so they can be administered anti-venom for the bite.
#3 Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico: Coral Snakes
With its red, yellow, and black coloring, Coral snakes are one of the most beautiful snakes in the natural world. They’re also one of the deadliest. What makes coral snakes so dangerous is how well they mimic the coloring of other, non-poisonous snakes. Coral snake venom is particularly potent and can cause paralysis, respiratory failure, or even death if the bite is left untreated. Again, don’t sleep on a coral snake bite. The effects take a long time to fully show in humans and a bite can cause death if the anti-venom isn’t applied to the wound.
#2 Most Dangerous Animals in Mexico: Great White Sharks
Popularized by the classic movie Jaws, the great white shark is a true killer. And thanks to recent recovery efforts, the great white population has rebounded in the waters off of Mexico’s coast. Guadalupe Island is the best place for great white shark encounters. Locals offer cage diving tours for those adventurous enough to get into water with these massive killers. As violent of a reputation as these sharks have in Hollywood movies, the truth is that they rarely attack humans, at least intentionally. Most shark attacks happen to surfers which great white sharks mistake for seals, a far tastier treat than bony humans. Regardless, avoiding these killer fish, and any shark for that matter, is the best choice if you see one of their iconic fins gliding near you in the Pacific Ocean.
#1 Most Dangerous Animal in Mexico: Fer-de-lance Snakes
Hands down the most dangerous animal in all of Mexico is the dreaded Fer-de-lance snake. No other reptile in either North or South America causes near as many deaths than this yellow and black snake. The reason why the Fer-de lance is so deadly is due to the large amount of venom it injects into its victims with each bite. Fer-de-lance bite symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, limb numbness, fever, nose bleeds, excessive swelling, an even loss of consciousness. If the bite victim does not receive medical care immediately they risk amputation, organ failure, and even death. Thankfully, anti-venom is available if you are unlucky enough to be the recipient of a bite. But these extremely dangerous snakes should be avoided at all cost. Unlike most every other animal on this list, Fer-de-lance snakes are very aggressive toward humans and will not hesitate to bite you at a moment’s instance. If you’re out exploring the deserts of Mexico and you see a black and bright yellow snake slithering in your direction, you might want to consider turning and running away as fast as your legs will carry you.