Exploring the Animal Kingdom: The Most Dangerous Animals in Each American State

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By: Carlos Sanchez | Last updated: Jul 14, 2022

In this fast-paced world, traveling is a go-to stress reliever for many people. However, before you embark on your next adventure, you should familiarize yourself with some facts about the place you’re about to visit, particularly in America, and especially if you plan to spend time in nature.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collates information on the animals most likely to cause fatalities in each state in the United States. Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll come face to face with any of the animals on the list. So, don’t let this list deter you from visiting places on your vacation bucket list. Simply use it as a guide and make sure you don’t take any chances when visiting the places listed below. 

Stinging Insects – West Virginia

West Virginia is not only famous for its scenic views and friendly inhabitants. It is also home to a variety of stinging insects. In fact, these critters are the leading killers in the state. They’re cute but deadly, so you’d better watch out!

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Worst of all, there are numerous types of insects circulating in the area, meaning there are multiple ways to get stung. There are many different species, including the bald-faced hornet, blue-winged wasp, and American bumblebee, to name a few.

Grizzly Bears – Wyoming

Bears are cute creatures. Let’s not take that away from them. But they’re much cuter at a distance great enough that they can’t hurt you. The state of Wyoming may not be the place to go if you like that safe distance. It is home to some of the largest populations of Grizzly Bears in the United States.

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Fortunately, there haven’t been many deaths reported lately, due in large part to the fact that local residents are cautious and very careful when out in the wilderness. However, knowing that a bear could appear out of nowhere still gives us the creeps. 

Deer – Wisconsin

Deer generally aren’t aggressive toward humans, and it’s not deer attacks that make them a dangerous animal in Wisconsin. We are 100% sure that you have seen animals crossing the road. In Wisconsin, deer are so plentiful that, when they cross the road, they regularly cause car accidents. 

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In 2017, the state recorded nine deaths resulting from car accidents involving deer. The state has its fair share of bears, wolves, cougars, mosquitoes, and ticks. However, none of these creatures come close to the danger a deer can impose without even meaning to harm anyone. 

Dogs – Virginia

Though most of us know dogs as loyal and lovable creatures who adore playing fetch, these animals can cause injuries. Whether or not dogs become dangerous depends on a combination of factors, including their breed, their owners, and their training.

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Indeed, looks can be deceiving. People in Virginia have had unfortunate experiences, with a high number of fatal dog attacks on small children. As a result, Virginia has passed a strict statute that holds dog owners responsible. Humans need just as much training as their dogs do to ensure they know how to handle their animals.

Deer Ticks – Vermont

We have no desire to ever deal with ticks. The mere thought of our dogs being infested with ticks sends shivers up our spines. How much worse would it be to find them burrowing into your skin? We’d be ready to unleash havoc if that ever happened.

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Vermont is known for more than just its delicious food and fresh produce. They’re also known for deer ticks – a venomous insect that may transmit Lyme disease to humans and animals such as dogs. The state has the highest incidents of Lyme disease in the United States. So, before you fly to Vermont, make sure you take all of the necessary precautions.

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Brown Recluse – Tennessee

Here’s a bit of friendly advice: Don’t move to Tennessee if you are scared of spiders. We aren’t fans of being close to spiders, and being in Tennessee seems like a risk we are not willing to take. 

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This brown recluse spider is widely known to be infesting the state. It’s safe to say that they live in or around every home in the area. The likelihood of seeing one face to face is pretty high, which is a big no from us! Its bite will not kill you, but it’s undoubtedly painful. 

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Bison – South Dakota

Have you ever watched the animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender? Why are we asking? If you don’t know, Aang and his friends’ mode of transportation is a Bison. Appa is a friendly bison who loves to sleep and enjoys eating hay.

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We wish we could say the same about the bison of South Dakota. However, this US state is famous for its not-so-friendly Bison population. These majestic creatures are responsible for numerous attacks in Custer State Park. However, we can’t blame the bison for everything. Their attacks generally result from people getting too close. Lesson: Give bison their personal space, and everything will be fine.

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Wasps – South Carolina

Wasps do many things in the environment that some of us probably didn’t know about. One of the things they do is help balance the ecosystem, which is essential. Without them, more insects could lurk around us, waiting for the perfect time to disturb us.

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They aren’t all rainbows and butterflies, though. You’d undoubtedly hear a lot of complaints about wasps if you questioned someone in South Carolina. We can’t blame them; wasps and hornets are responsible for most of the state’s animal-related deaths. If you ever find yourself in South Carolina, stay clear of wasp nests.

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Black Widow Spiders – Rhode Island

Rhode Island has many different spiders, but the state’s most deadly arachnid is the infamous black widow. Be careful with them, especially the female widow. Though the black widow spider is a rare find, it is not one to be taken lightly.

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The female widow is much more dangerous because of its venom. If you see one, keep a safe distance as they will bite you if they feel threatened. If you are bitten, you’ll typically feel very sick. Black widow venom can cause discomfort, fever, chills, muscle cramps, and headaches. You’ll need immediate medical attention if this happens.

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Dogs – Pennsylvania

Here’s another shocking inclusion on the list. Seriously, what are these people doing with their dogs? First Virginia and now Pennsylvania. We still believe in the saying that dogs are a person’s best friend. That saying wouldn’t exist if they were all this dangerous.

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We acknowledge that dogs, regardless of breed, require training and that any aggressive behavior displayed by pets should be addressed so that they do not harm society. If you have a dog, train it yourself or get someone to do it for you.

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Stinging Insects – Oregon

Similar to West Virginia, Oregon is full of stinging insects. Small, agile, and lethal, these critters can cause some serious damage. If you visit Oregon and encounter wasps, bees, or yellow-jackets, please leave immediately and stay as far away from the area as you can.

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The reason these insects are deadly is that many people who live in the area are allergic to their venom. If you have the same allergies, we suggest avoiding areas prone to these insects and carrying the appropriate medication with you just in case.

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Tigers – Oklahoma

We’re all aware of the threat posed by tigers. Though they look like big, beautiful kitty-cats, they are nature’s killing machines. Their molars are incredibly sharp, and they are many times faster and more agile than humans. They’re better than us at climbing trees, so if one is after you, your chances of survival are slim.

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Oklahoma faces the unique problem of tigers escaping from zoos and getting out into the wild, leading to some bizarre (and often fatal) encounters with humans. In one instance, a tiger got out of its cage because the fence was not properly secured. 

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Dogs – Ohio

We feel so sad knowing that this is the third dog entry on our list of the most dangerous animals in each American State. We always think of dogs, regardless of the breed, as loving companions. So, hearing about attacks that result in severe injuries or death is somewhat shocking.

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In Ohio, most dog-related deaths are due to pit bulls, but other dog breeds cause injuries to humans as well. Before you label all pit bulls as a menace, remember that a dog’s bad behavior is directly related to the owner’s neglect or lack of training.

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Fire Ants – North Carolina

Venomous arthropods were rated the most dangerous animal in two states, North Carolina being one of them. While fire ant bites are rarely fatal, they do have the ability to put the person into shock, which can be lethal.

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The sting of <em>Solenopsis invicta</em>, the Red Imported Fire Ant, is well known to many in the southern United States, but immunotherapy is possible.

What’s worse is that these tiny but deadly fire ants currently infest the state of North Carolina. The odds of being bitten are surprisingly high, which is crazy considering that their stings can be excruciating. Fire ant bites are known to cause swelling, redness, and even blisters.

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Deer – New Mexico

New Mexico is known for its diverse landscape. You may expect this state to have a problem with dangerous snakes and scorpions. The truth is that deer are responsible for most of the animal-related deaths and injuries recorded in the state.

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Interestingly, accidents spike in June every year. In 2016, the number of deer-related deaths climbed by 9%. We may not know the reason behind it, but if you’re heading to New Mexico, be extra careful on the roads, especially in June.

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Yellow Jackets – Washington

Yellow jackets are pretty common in the state of Washington. They are a type of wasp that like to live inside wooden structures, houses, and buildings. These insects usually bother people after a painful bite which can trigger an allergic reaction. 

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We advise you to stay away from these critters because they are dangerous. In general, stinging insects continue to be a problem in Washington. Of course, the state of Washington is a fantastic travel destination, so don’t let this put you off. Just take precautions to protect yourself from insects.

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Bison – North Dakota

If you think Bison only hang out in South Dakota, you’re wrong. They are also present in North Dakota. Seeing one in a photograph just does not do justice to how massive and muscular they are. Would you know what to do if you encountered a herd in the wild? 

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You’ll probably think they are slow runners if you look at their bulky heads and bodies. But don’t get too comfortable. Bison can move quickly when they need to. If one charges at you, it has the strength to flip you in the air like a paper plane. So, treat Bison (and all wild animals) with respect, and maintain a healthy distance.

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Coyotes – New Jersey

Coyotes have been a massive problem for people living in New Jersey. They are the most dangerous animal in the state, with numerous coyote-related injuries recorded. Never treat them like dogs, as they are very different in behavior.

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If you happen to visit New Jersey, we encourage you to be aware of the coyotes. These animals are intelligent, and they can easily hunt you in a group, so be mindful of your surroundings, and never let your guard down.

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Deer Mice – Nevada

These mice are dangerous parasites​ in Nevada. Infected deer mice can pass the hantavirus to other animals, including humans. They do so through their urine and saliva. This disease is found in many different parts of the globe, but fatal cases have been recorded in Nevada.

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If you are visiting Nevada or any state with disease-carrying rodents, be extra careful as the viruses they transmit can progress rapidly. These mice look cute, tiny, and completely harmless, but don’t be fooled. As the saying goes, looks can be deceiving.

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Cows – Nebraska

You may be surprised to learn how dangerous cows are in Nebraska. Of course, Nebraskan cows aren’t stalking people through the woods and hunting them down. The deaths and serious injuries tend to occur from blunt-force trauma. Nebraska has a considerable proportion of the nation’s cattle, which is why deadly incidents with cows are more common.

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If you are a non-native resident and come across cows, stay away. They can be aggressive and may charge you if they feel threatened. A piece of advice: bring your mud boots if you intend to visit Nebraska!

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Grizzly Bears – Montana

Yep! Bears again. If we saw a grizzly bear in the wild, we would want to flee as quickly as possible. However, the usual advice is to stand your ground. In Montana, the giant grizzly bear has undoubtedly made its presence felt.

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One of the most fearful attacks ever recorded was in 1967, when two young women were killed by two grizzly bears within a few miles of each other. Grizzly bears in Montana are not afraid of human beings. This lack of fear began when humans began feeding them, causing them to lose any worries they may have had about humans and start approaching us in search of food.

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Deer – Utah

While most deer-related deaths in Wisconsin happened because they unintentionally crash into vehicles, deers in Utah are a little more, shall we say, aggressive. Several reports have surfaced of deer chasing after or charging at hunters.

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If you happen to see one in the wild in Utah, we advise you to run in the opposite direction as fast as possible. If you don’t run, the deer may attack you and cause severe damage to your body. We don’t want anyone to get hurt, so be careful around deer in Utah.

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Dogs – New York

Here’s the thing: A dog’s behavior reflects how its owner treats it. Some dogs are aggressive, others are friendly, and the latter would never dream of doing anything to harm you. Sadly, New York City has plenty of dogs that have been raised to be aggressive.

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Dog bites are responsible for most animal deaths in New York State. It’s not a surprise, though, given the density of New York City and the number of people with enormous dogs stuck in their small homes. We just hope they are treated well so they have better behavior in the future.

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Snakes – Missouri

The state of Missouri is home to not only one or two but five species of venomous snakes. We can clearly see why these animals are the deadliest in Missouri. No further questions – we’ll leave it at that.

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We all know how frightening a snake can be, not only for children but for anyone who encounters them in the wild. Coming across one on a stroll is more than terrifying, especially when you don’t know which species of snake it is. If you sustain a bite in Missouri or anywhere else, make sure to go directly to the hospital.

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Fire Ants – Texas

Ants may be tiny, but one bite from the fire ant might send you straight to the ER. They have a very painful venom that causes allergic reactions and rashes, so they are responsible for numerous annual emergency room visits.

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The nickname “fire ant” is given to them because of the burning sensation caused by their bites. Unfortunately, fire ant infestations in Texas are becoming worse over time. If you’re living in this area, be careful you don’t step on a nest as the results could be disastrous.

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Cicada Killers – Massachusetts

The two-inch-long cicada killer is one of the many stinging insect species found in Massachusetts. Its sting can lead to allergic reactions for some people. However, most locals simply hope they won’t be unlucky enough to be stung by one.

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If you find one that looks like this, kindly leave it alone. Their nests are usually well concealed, so your best bet is to just avoid poking around where you don’t belong! Fail to mind your own business, and you’ll be in for a world of pain. 

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Bees – Maryland

When most people think of Maryland, their minds automatically go to the state’s famous Blue Crabs. However, they are also famous for having bees. No one seems to be immune to the stinging insects, especially those allergic to their venom. It’s best not to disturb them. However, some people just don’t understand the concept of minding their own business, so they get their kicks out of kicking beehives.

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Bees are most active from late afternoon to late evening. During this time, try to stay as far away from them as possible. If you have allergies and wish to go walking in wooded areas, ensure you have the appropriate medication with you. 

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Dogs – New Hampshire

By now, we’re getting used to seeing dogs on this list. We’re assuming that the owners didn’t properly train their dogs, and as a result, they’ve turned into vicious beasts that attack people out of nowhere. We won’t give up hope on our kind and loving pets, and we can’t think of anyone to blame but the owners.

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In New Hampshire, dogs are responsible for more fatal injuries than any other animal. Due to this, the state has passed laws to cover the victims of attacks. All we ask is that dog owners learn how to properly train and care for their pets.

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Moose – Maine

Let us start by saying the height of a moose is actually pretty terrifying. Moose are common in Maine, particularly in rural areas where there are lots of trees and plants. Luckily, they won’t harm you unless they feel threatened by you.

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As with most of the animals on this list, if you leave moose be, they will not harm you. At this point, we can say that people are more terrifying than animals because we are the ones disturbing their peaceful lives. If you see a wild moose, get out of the scene and let it live its life.

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Hornets – Louisiana

In Louisiana, hornets and other stinging insects are the most deadly animals. Hornets are particularly frightening because, unlike bees, they can continue to attack their victims without losing their stingers. They are small but dangerous.

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If you see one, don’t think of making a joke – it may sting you before you can get to the punchline. You may not even know you’re stung until the pain sets in, so get out of the area, and warn others of their presence. If you’re stung by a wasp and have any serious allergic reactions or skin issues, go straight to the ER!

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Black Bears – Kentucky

They are cute and cuddly, but they are also quite dangerous, especially when they are protecting their cubs. Black bears are usually shy and avoid humans, but they can be very aggressive when they attack. So if you’re in Kentucky, prepare yourself for worst-case scenarios.

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Black bears in Kentucky are quite a nuisance since they frequently raid gardens and restaurants. However, they’re generally not aggressive towards people. On the contrary, they are quite shy and avoid people when possible. If you see one, don’t start running as you may look like prey. Instead, back away slowly, keeping your eye on the bear. 

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Cows – Kansas

Just like in Nebraska, cows are the most dangerous animals in Kansas. Kansas is another state that has plenty of cattle. Accidents sometimes happen when workers get too close to the animals. This might be because they feel threatened and want to protect themselves, but it’s often a simple matter of the animals following the herd.

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Though they don’t look like the kind of animal that would kill people, always remember that cows are pretty heavy. So, if they charge you, you could get crushed. This is really horrifying, isn’t it? Just don’t do anything that may threaten them. 

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Deer – Mississippi

Another deer on our list. Oh, Deer! If you don’t know, Mississippi is home to many black bears. Out of black bears and deer, you might think black bears pose more danger to human beings. Apparently not! Of course, most deer-related incidents happen unintentionally.

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In this case, it’s not the deer’s fault. Accidents occur because hunters set up their deer-hunting stands high in the trees and fall, resulting in severe injuries or death. Hunting accidents happen frequently in Mississippi. Simply put, these events are due to human error.

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Dogs – Michigan

Dogs are one of the most common animals on our list, which surprised us at first, but by now, it has become an accepted reality. As we often repeat, dogs aren’t all prone to inflicting serious injury or even death in accidents. If that was their nature, they wouldn’t be called a human’s best friend, would they?

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Still, dog attacks are quite common in Michigan. We encourage dog owners to train their dogs, care for them as members of their families, and help them learn good behavior. Also, kindly ask permission from the owner when you want to pet a dog – it could save you from trouble.

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Cows – Iowa

We are not kidding with the fact that cows are indeed the most dangerous animals in some states. Cows aren’t considered aggressive animals like lions and wolves, but they can be pretty dangerous if they’re mad. Why? Because they’re heavy.

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Just like Nebraska, Iowa is home to a huge percentage of the nation’s cattle. Working with livestock can be pretty dangerous, and it is not uncommon for workers to suffer injuries. Cows can be aggressive, but many injuries occur accidentally when herding them through corrals.

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Deer – Minnesota

Deer have been another surprising repeat offender on our list of the most deadly animals. There are quite a lot of them in Minnesota, but they don’t look like they can kill anyone. They look so innocent and harmless. But like we’ve always said, you can never judge an animal by its adorable appearance!

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When visibility is at its lowest, deer come rushing down and are active at dawn and dusk. They also enjoy crossing roads late at night. Due to the reduced visibility and the fact that deer are often stunned by headlights, accidents occur. 

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Zombie Coyotes – Illinois

They aren’t called zombie coyotes for nothing. There’s a reason they call them that, and being listed here is not a surprise. Zombie coyotes are sadly sick. Because they seem like they’re in trouble, people often get close to them in hopes of helping them, but it turns out to be a mistake. 

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It’s undeniable how these animals earned their name: they approach you and begin acting like they are dying. They walk slowly, but make sure you don’t run because they will soon drop the act and chase after you.  Illinois is also home to some of the most dangerous snakes, but it’s the sick coyotes you really have to look out for.

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Bears – Idaho

Just as we suspected – bears! They come in third place on our list of most deadly animals in the US. Bears can be extremely dangerous, especially when protecting their cubs or food sources. It’s not surprising to see them making so many appearances on our list.

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Idaho has plenty of bears, so as we’ve warned you before, prepare for a worst-case scenario. Bears can be aggressive for many reasons, but it’s important to remember that when you go out into nature, you’re in their territory. Be cautious, be respectful, and if one gets close, use bear spray to deter it. Bear spray is far more effective than guns at preventing bear attacks. 

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Tiger Sharks – Hawaii

Are you planning to swim at any of the beaches of Hawaii? You’re probably aware that you should avoid swimming when the weather is rough and stormy. However, in Hawaii, there are other dangers to keep an eye out for.

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How can tiger sharks be dangerous? They like to swim in shallow water, so they can sometimes come across people splashing around the shoreline and attack them. Contrary to popular belief, the tiger shark, not the great white shark, is the most dangerous animal in Hawaii.

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Snakes – Georgia

There are a lot of different types of snakes in Georgia. The deadliest include the copperhead, cottonmouth, and coral snake, which contribute to most of the state’s animal-related deaths. It’s too scary to even think about seeing one of them up-close.

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The number of snake bites in Georgia jumped by 40% in 2017, most likely owing to the shorter, milder winters. It’s not the only state with snakes, but it’s a pretty dangerous one, so be careful. If you’re bitten, make sure to visit the nearest hospital as soon as possible.

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Deer – Indiana

If you encounter a deer in Indiana, don’t be surprised; they’re everywhere. They are part of America’s wildlife, but we have to admit that they look so adorable we have the urge to pamper them like pets.

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Of course, it’s essential to resist that urge and to stay away from them as much as possible. Many people get injured or even die in car accidents with deer. Injuries in cars are widespread as a result of a mix of driver and animal misjudgments. Deer attacks are rare, but when they do occur, it’s usually because people have been interacting with them and feeding them.

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Mosquitoes – Florida

Can you believe these little insects are Florida’s most hazardous creatures? The state has alligators and snakes that are significantly creepier, but mosquitoes are the most dangerous creatures. This only makes sense when you learn that Floridian mosquitoes transmit fatal diseases like the West Nile Virus.

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Worse, they travel for free from one location to another and from one country to another. They have the ability to bring diseases from any country. Unfortunately, Florida is a hub for them. If you live in the state or plan to visit, make sure you have plenty of mosquito repellent on hand.

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Coyotes – Delaware

Coyote attacks are common in many states, including Delaware. Coyotes appear to have expanded their territory into suburban areas, resulting in pet assaults and a lack of fear of humans.

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If you plan to go hiking in Delaware, it’s a good idea to have a friend or two with you since coyotes are more likely to attack lone travelers. Even if they don’t attack you, they might pose a danger to you, and they may hang around to steal your food when an opportune moment arises.

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Bobcats – Connecticut

Just like the coyotes of Delaware, bobcats roam freely around the suburban areas of Connecticut. One look at the bobcat below, and you can see why they’re on this list. Usually, bobcats do not pose a threat to humans and prefer to stay out of the way, but under the right circumstances, they may attack and cause harm.

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To be honest, bobcats look like an animal you don’t want to mess with. They are fierce and so perfectly camouflaged that they’re hard to spot when they get close to you. Even if you do spot one, you have no chance of outrunning them. The trick is to make yourself look as large as you can and back away slowly. Don’t make direct eye contact, but don’t let the bobcat out of your sight. Loud noises can also scare them off. 

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Cougars – Colorado

Colorado has its fair share of dangerous animals lurking around the state. They have ticks, spiders, snakes, and many other creatures. However, cougars are by far the scariest animals in the state.

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Cougars are big cats, and once they launch their attacks, they’re unstoppable. We don’t wish anyone to get attacked by cougars, so we recommend staying far away if you see one. Making yourself look large and creating a lot of noise can also keep them at bay. Whatever you do, don’t run, and don’t let it out of your sight until you’re safe. 

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Rattlesnake – California

If there’s one thing we don’t want to see on this list, it’s the rattlesnake. We know how deadly this animal can be, so even seeing a picture of one is creepy. Rattlesnakes are a dangerous mix of aggression and deadly venom. If you see one, keep your distance.

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If you’re ever bitten by a rattlesnake, it’s a severe danger that can be fatal; luckily, anti-venom can save your life. Before heading out into the wilds of California, we recommend that you prepare for the possibility of meeting a rattlesnake.

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Black Bears – Arkansas

In Arkansas, black bears are the most common creatures involved in animal-related attacks. They don’t usually attack humans, but it’ll be severe if they do. That’s why you have to do your best not to get close to them as much as possible.

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If you happen to see one, don’t approach it – you don’t know what state it’s in or what it might do. Black bears might look like big, peaceful animals, and many of them eat almost exclusively vegetarian diets, but that’s just one side of them. They can also be very dangerous.

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Dogs – Arizona

Dogs again? Sigh. We’ve come to understand that dogs can be dangerous animals, and there are many reasons why this is the case. However, the central factor is whether they (and their owners) are appropriately trained. It’s extremely unlikely that a well-trained dog with caring owners who know how to handle them will attack. 

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As we mentioned before, dogs can be aggressive toward humans, so it’s important not to approach dogs you don’t know. If you get attacked by one, it could result in severe injuries that could even end your life. Therefore, we recommend that people keep their dogs on a leash and understand that just because your dog is gentle with you doesn’t mean it will be with strangers.

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Moose – Alaska

Moose are wild animals that can harm humans if provoked or mistreated. As a result, you must understand how to avoid them in Alaska. Although moose usually avoid humans and attacks are uncommon, anything is possible if you’re being a jerk to wild animals. 

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Another sad issue with these massive beasts is that they are often struck by cars on the highway. Collisions can result in a lot of damage, and many moose and humans don’t survive these tragic accidents. If you’re heading to Alaska, be careful on the roads and respectful of any wildlife you encounter.

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Dogs – Alabama

Dog attacks are the number one animal-related issue in Alabama. A poorly trained dog can be as dangerous as a wild bear, and if you get attacked by one, it will be bad news for both you and the dog. We’ve said it before, but we’ll repeat it – train your dogs!

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Pet owners need to understand that having a dog is a major commitment. Both you and the dog must be trained to ensure you don’t put your family or members of your community in danger. Please consider if you really have the time and money to dedicate to their training and care. If not, then we respectfully ask that you reconsider adopting a dog.

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