Georgia is known for so many cozy things, including peaches (yes, the fruit), classic Southern hospitality, eye-catching state parks, and subtropical climates that suit every summer and winter-loving individual. Oh, and the great Martin Luther King, too.
One could say that Georgia is one of the best states in the US, but of course, that’s as subjective as subjective can be. As the nation’s leading provider of peanuts, peaches, Vidalia onions, and the classic sweet tea, Georgia is a prime state where you can enjoy nature and urban areas. Let’s not even get started about its rich history that contributed heavily to American history and the civil war.
But more than all of the great things we’ve come to love about the Peach State, it also has a wild side. And by the wild side, a menagerie of animals and creatures we should all look out for, and yet, we can also look forward to. Georgia’s diverse flora and fauna brought about diverse animal species. With the Appalachian mountains, the Brasstown Bald, the Atlantic Ocean, and a part of the Mississippi River, you’re bound to encounter the top 10 dangerous animals in the empire state of the South.
Not only is the Bobcat the official mascot of Georgia College and State University, but these wild felines are also the only wild cat species native to the Empire State of the South. Much like any other feline friend, Bobcats are curious animals. However, you’ll find that they are incredibly bigger than your usual household companion. Bobcats can grow to 40 pounds; males are usually heavier than females. However, female Bobcats tend to attack more.
The Bobcat, a yellowish-brown cat, does not attack humans too often. However, cases of rabid Bobcat attacks have been rising, especially when humans find their offspring cute enough to touch or caress. Never make the mistake of approaching a Bobcat, especially when it is hungry, nursing, or protecting its young, or you might just end up in the nearest emergency room.
Eastern Coral Snake
Georgia is also best known for their bodies of water. The Peach State’s various lake and beach selections are among the hardest decisions you’ll face when making your itinerary. If you love to sunbathe under the Georgian sun or take a dip into the refreshing waters of Georgia, you should keep an eye out for the Eastern Coral Snake.
The Eastern Coral Snake is often confused with the Scarlet King Snake. Although both snakes are dangerous, it’s best to keep in mind that the yellow rings immediately border the Eastern Coral Snake’s red rings. And if you’re asking, yes, the Eastern Coral Snake is also more aggressive than the Scarlet King Snake, hence, landing the second spot on our list.
This snake species usually frequents areas with water, especially small bodies such as marshes and damp wooden areas. One Eastern Coral Snake bite can seem like nothing, but you’ll likely experience intense pain later on, leading to blurred vision, slurred speech, muscle paralysis, and even death. So dress accordingly to your chosen Georgian adventure and always keep an eye out.
Here’s yet another snake species that loves to take dips into various bodies of water in Georgia. The Pigmy Snake is named that way because of its smaller build than any other snake you’ll encounter on Georgian soil (and water). Having varying colors, Pigmy Snakes can come in lavender, tan, or gray bodies with black spots. Swamps, creeks, forests, and sandhills are where you’ll find these small slithering creatures, and they are not friendly in any way.
Pigmy Snakes eat mammals that can fit into their small mouths, such as birds, frogs, and lizards, to name a few. Its venom is best known for its characteristic that destroys red blood cells, causing severe pain, muscle paralysis, blurred vision, and in some cases, loss of breath. Pigmy Snakes usually camouflage nicely into whatever habitat they choose to stay in. If you see one, remember not to poke or provoke it, or you might end up with excruciating pain.
By now, you can probably tell that Georgia must be a member of the House of Slytherin (hi, Potterheads!). Its abundance of slithering creatures includes the Copperhead Snake. However, remember not to underestimate this one because a Copperhead Snake can grow up to 3 feet. This snake has a very distinct reddish-brown to brown saddlebag-shaped pattern on its skin.
Unlike the other snakes above that love water-filled areas, the Copperhead Snake is one sneaky pit viper. One of its jaw-dropping characteristics is that it can adapt very impressively to whatever environment it ends up in. That said, you’ll be able to find Copperhead Snakes in both urban and rural areas, generating screams from unsuspecting individuals.
Copperhead Snakes account for more than 500 deaths in all of America. It’s best to keep in mind that this kind of snake is usually nocturnal. So if you’re planning a night out into the woods or the city, better to keep an eye out.
Georgian lands apparently make great habitats for a special type of bear: the American Black Bear. This seemingly cute and cuddly giant can grow up to 5 feet tall and weigh up to 660 pounds! (males).
American Black Bears frequent the forest areas of Georgia, although sometimes you might see them crossing highways and roads along with their cute little young ones.
If you ever get attacked (hopefully not), go to the nearest hospital immediately to prevent any diseases the bears might have transmitted to you.
Red Foxes are the species of foxes most rampant in the state of Georgia. Do not mistake these creatures for being the same as your cute dog. Red Foxes carry various diseases and rabies that can easily be passed on to humans the moment you touch them. In some cases, Red Foxes bite almost immediately, especially if you’re giving them food. Do not give them food to eat.
These red furry four-legged animals are carnivorous, eating small mammals such as rabbits and rodents. Red Foxes can grow up to 2 feet and weigh between 8 to 18 pounds. They usually appear and hunt at night, but occasionally, you’ll see them strolling around forests and even some urban areas during the daytime. Remember, do not approach Red Foxes, and do not pet them, ever. If you find Red Foxes cute, it’s better to just admire them from afar.
Black Widow Spider
The Black Widow Spider has become famous throughout the years because of its shiny body, the red hourglass shape on its tummy, and because of Scarlett Johansson, too. These little deadly creatures are common in Georgia, especially in woodlands, where they can bask in the abundance of prey that can get caught in their web or be struck by their venom.
It’s easy to avoid Black Widow Spiders. Just walk past them and you’re good to go. However, in the cases that this eight-legged friend gets provoked, Black Widow Spiders can excrete venom that can cause muscle cramps, spasms, high blood pressure, headache, severe chest pain, and even death in extreme cases. Just like every dangerous animal you’ve read on this list, it’s best to appreciate their beauty from afar.
Brown Recluse Spider
Joining this list is this scary-looking eight-legged not-so-friend called the Brown Recluse Spider. Just as Georgia has an abundance of various resources and natural beauty, the Peach State also has an abundance of scary critters that can keep you awake at night.
The Brown Recluse Spider is the not-so-cute counterpart of the Black Widow Spider. Unlike the Black Widow, the Brown Recluse Spider keeps tucked away in whatever area it has deemed worthy of its presence. That being said, this little critter doesn’t just attack immediately. It only secretes its deadly venom when it is provoked. The Brown Recluse Spider’s venom is known to cause necrosis or cell death, resulting in various problems, including organ failure. If the Brown Recluse Spider bites you, seek immediate medical attention.
Have you ever heard of dangerous ants? Ants used to be little creatures we kept in boxes where their ant colonies could thrive, and we’d also be able to observe them. The Fire Ants aren’t the kind of ants you can keep in a little glass box, although possible. You’d never want your skin to be bitten, let alone touched by these little crawling critters.
The Fire Ants originated from South America. Yet through the years, they managed to crawl all over the United States and colonize most of America. Although they are seemingly harmless, don’t be fooled by their tiny stature. Fire Ants contain the kind of venom that can cause necrosis leading to organ failure and even transfer Lyme disease. Unsurprisingly, the Fire Ant is also a part of the top 10 most dangerous ants in the world.
With a diverse range of flora and fauna comes a diverse range of insects. The Kissing Bugs made its way into Georgia and, luckily, haven’t kissed a lot of Georgians that much. These bugs can range from the tiniest to as big as the palm of your hand. If it isn’t obvious enough, Kissing Bugs are well-known for being great kissers. They love to land on faces and take a small bite out of them.
However, don’t be fooled by the seemingly painless bite of Kissing Bugs. These insects carry a chemical in their saliva that carries Chagas disease, characterized by diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and general fatigue. While these symptoms seem harmless and can be cured by over-the-counter medication, some victims may develop an enlarged heart that may cause heart failure.
As scary as these four and eight-legged (or more) friends may seem, they all contribute equally to the beauty of the Empire State of The South. That’s the consequence of having such lush forests, vast lakes and beaches, and even small bodies of water such as marshes, rivers, and more. As impossible as it may seem, the top 10 dangerous animals in Georgia are sometimes a part of the experience that the Peach State has to offer.
Now remember, when going on different adventures in Georgia, always wear the appropriate clothing and avoid areas that might be dangerous, undiscovered, or paths that are not well-trodden. And most importantly, try not to bother these cute and scary animals and insects leading their version of peaceful lives. Welcome to the Red Land!
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