HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Alabama is home to some truly terrifying creatures like alligators, venomous snakes, and even sharks. However, which one of those creatures is the state’s most dangerous animal?
According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), the state is ranked among the best in the nation for overall biodiversity. That variety of environments can bring about multiple kinds of animals, including some that could be dangerous.
While interactions with the animals listed below aren’t always deadly, it’s better to avoid them in the wild.
At one time, black bears were common in the state of Alabama. Now those sightings are rare.
According to outdooralabama.com, black bears are mostly seen in areas just north of Mobile, though a small population has been popping up around Lookout Mountain, its surrounding counties, and the Talladega National Forest.
61 people have been killed by black bears in North America since 1900, according to bear.org. That’s less than one person every two years,
While black bears might not be inherently deadly, it’s still wise to avoid them in the wild. When alarmed or threatened, a black bear will often assume an aggressive pose by lowering its head and raising its hackles, or the hair on its back. They might also snarl, show their teeth, and salivate.
If you think you can outrun a black bear… think again. ADCNR reports they can run over 30 miles per hour for a short distance.
Six species of venomous snakes live in Alabama. Those six species include copperheads, cottonmouths, timber rattlesnakes, pigmy rattlesnakes, eastern coral snakes, and the largest one of all, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
Knowing how to identify those venomous species when compared to a common garter snake could potentially save your life.
Learn how to identify the venomous snakes found in Alabama here.
Across the nation, anywhere from 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Just about five of those bites result in a fatality.
There are several venomous spider species living in Alabama. Those include: the black widow, the northern black widow, the Chilean recluse spider, Mediterranean recluse spider, and the most famous, the brown reclus spider.
According to a-z-animals.com, spider bites cause 7 to 11 deaths per year.
While most people don’t die from spider bites, symptoms from the bite can be severe. The CDC states those symptoms can include rashes, blisters, nausea, fever, and high blood pressure. Learn how to administer first aid for a spider bite here.
Alligator sightings often make the news, especially when they’re on the highway in South Huntsville.
In Alabama, gators can be found in freshwater swamps, marshes, rivers, lakes, and streams from Virginia down the east coast and all the way to Texas. While Alabama does have alligators in some of its waters, the state of Florida holds the distinction for the most alligators in the United States.
In this decade, just six people have died as a result of an alligator attack. All of those attacks happened in southern states, notably one in South Carolina where the gator pulled the victim into a pond.
Cougar sightings are somewhat common in Alabama, but ADCNR says most of those are likely domesticated dogs and cats, as well as coyotes or bobcats. The closest self-sustaining wild population of cougars, sometimes known as mountain lions or pumas, is in Florida.
While an actual sighting can be rare, cougars are still here.
The creatures can be found primarily in rocky, upland woods or remote mountainous areas where they can avoid human contact.
In the last 100 years, 126 people have been attacked by cougars with 27 of those attacks proving to be fatal. Fatal attacks are rare, even rarer than snake bites, lightning strikes, or deadly bee stings.
What Alabama critter do you think is the state’s most dangerous animal? Let us know by submitting your pick to firstname.lastname@example.org!