No matter where you go to camp, you will be outdoors at some point even if you use an RV or camping trailer to stay in. That means you will inevitably encounter spiders, insects, and possibly snakes. They are not one of the more pleasant aspects of camping by any means. Different areas of the country will harbor different threats when it comes to these sometimes harmful creatures, so what you might run into depends on where you go. Below are the ones you really need to be on the lookout for if you go into their areas.
Water Moccasins – This snake is a member of the pit viper family and is very poisonous. It is also known as the black moccasin, swamp moccasin, and cottonmouth. The snake has a distinctive white lining in its mouth which it will be glad to display to you if you happen to encounter one. They can definitely be found lurking near the water’s edge or on the ground. Lakes, rivers, and marsh areas are famous for moccasins. It is one of the worst Southeastern snakes.
Rattlesnakes – This famous snake is very well known is the western United States and Mexico, although some species can be found in other areas. The diamondback is prominent is the west and the timber rattler can be found in the east. Rattlesnake bites make up the largest percentage of snake bites overall in the US. Their distinctive features are, of course, the rattles on the end of their tail and the diamond shaped patterns on their backs. The skin patterns do differ. They will hide in wooded areas or among rocks in crevices. They most often give warning they are about to strike by shaking their rattles. Their bite is very painful and can result in death if treatment is not sought quickly.
Copperheads – Copperheads also account for a large number of snakebites in the US. They are mainly found in the east, especially South Carolina. The scales of a copperhead form an hourglass pattern and is one way to recognize the snake. The color can vary so you can’t depend on it being “copper”. They are a member of the moccasin family, so they can be found in or near water, but are found on land as well. Their bite is painful and can deadly if not treated, especially to animals and small children.
Coral Snakes – These snakes are most famous for their red,white, and black banding on their skin. Although the banding can vary. There are many different kinds of coral snakes, some deadly and some not. The best precaution is to not encounter one to be sure. However, an old saying goes, “Red on yellow, kill a fellow”, but this can only be relied on in the United States. The thing about corals is that they differ in pattern too and can be found almost anywhere. They burrow under leaves and such, but some species also like the water. They are a reclusive snake and will usually try to crawl away, so the number of humans bitten by them is small, but deadly. Their bite can cause respiratory failures within hours if not treated.
Black Widow – Probably the most feared and revered spider in the US is this lovely, spindly legged lady. Her appearance is glossy black, but she may or may not have the legendary bright red hourglass spot on her stomach or underside. Her bite can be deadly if not treated. She will hide in warm, dry places inside or outside. She is more common in the southern US. Her bite is similar to a pin prick and sometimes people don’t even realize they have been bitten until the pain sets in. The bite also causes redness and swelling. The males are smaller and can be brown in color, though they are not that dangerous to humans.
Brown Recluse – Some people call this the “violin” spider because it’s brown colored body is shaped similar to a fiddle. Though the spider is most commonly found in the mid-western US, it does get around because it likes to hide in boxes, clothing, anywhere that is secluded. They can also be found outdoors around and under rocks or hide in hollow tree trunks. Although the bite from this spider is not necessarily deadly, it can cause some very serious infection that can become deadly and damage tissue. You may not realize you have been bitten until several hours later when pain, redness, and swelling sets in. Seek attention as soon as possible.
Scorpion – This lobster looking fellow with the stinger tipped tail is usually yellowish/brown, tan, or black in color. The few scorpions found in the southeastern United States aren’t that dangerous to humans, but those found in the western deserts are. Yes, they can be deadly depending on the amount of venom and the person. A sting from a scorpion can cause a variety of symptoms from problems breathing, swelling, and pain. It is suggested to seek treatment as quickly as possible, especially in the case of small children or pets. It can take up to 4 days for the sting to be fatal so don’t assume you are safe if you’re not dead in a few hours! The most venomous scorpion in North America is the bark scorpion.
Bees – These flying buzzers come in a lot of shapes, sizes, and species. There are bumble bees, wasps, yellow jackets, even little sweat bees. Most of the time their stings are not deadly unless you happen to be one of the unfortunate people who are severely allergic to them. In the event you are, their stings can be deadly to you. Most people will just get a painful, itchy, swelled red spot, but allergic reactions can cause breathing issues, vomiting, and swelling of the mouth and throat. Different species of bees can be found almost anywhere is the US.
Fire Ants – These creepers don’t kill you, but they are painful if you get stung. They invaded the Southern US in the 1930’s from Argentina as stowaways on boats so it is believed. There is likely no cause for alarm if you are stung, unless you have a rare allergic reaction. The fire ant lives in mounds on the ground and you can usually see it or them scurrying around.