Every year around 47,000 people have to visit the doctor or emergency room after being bitten or attacked by wildlife. This can be anything from a wasp sting to a raccoon bite. When you are camping, it is a wonderful way to be at one with nature and see some amazing native animals, but there are also some that you should beware of. Some of the smallest critters, like spiders, can be poisonous. There are also animals, including bears that will be attracted to your tent in search of food. Before you set up camp, make sure that it is safe to do so, and check which animals you might find in the area.
There are 50 different snake species in America, and amazingly 48 of those snake species you will find in Florida. Fortunately only 7 snake species are venomous, but it is still important that you know about identifying the different snakes. The venomous snakes are all types of rattlesnake and cottonmouth. The rattlesnakes of course are identifiable by the rattle at the end of their tail. The cottonmouths have a variety of different markings and will generally stick to areas where water is close by. When you are camping, check the ground carefully before putting up your tent. If you come across snakes whilst you are traveling, don’t disturb them. Generally snakes only bite if they feel threatened.
There are 3 species of spider in America that have venom that is toxic to humans. These are the Black Widow, the Brown Recluse and the Hobo Spider. The Black Widow, with its distinctive red hourglass marking, likes to nest under outdoor furniture and in mailboxes. The Brown Recluse tends to nest in piles of leaves or in woodpiles, so be careful if you are collecting wood for a campfire. The Hobo Spider is easy to identify by its funnel-shaped web. They generally avoid humans, but you should always check your boots and give them a shake out before putting them on in the morning.
There are three different types of bears in the USA, the most common is the Black Bear. You will also find the Brown Bear (which includes grizzlies), and Polar Bears in Alaska. The biggest problem that humans get is when bears are hunting for food. A happy camper’s picnic makes an easy breakfast for a bear, but they can be very aggressive in obtaining that food and are known to attack. When you are camping, keep any food in a fully locked “bear-resistant” storage box to eliminate any odors that will attract bears. If you have been cooking, make sure that you change your clothes afterwards and store these too.
America is an amazing place to camp – you can experience nature at its finest. Just make sure that you are aware of the native wildlife species, and always check for animals in the area before you set up your tent.