50 Bad Ways to Die

Wild hogs get a lot of press for being big, bad and abundant. They deserve the hype, and are equipped to put a "hurtin' on ya"--as they say in wild pig country.
There are more than 1,500 species of scorpion worldwide. Not so many are in the U.S., but they pack a wallop of a sting and are of the stuff of nightmares.
Black bear numbers have surged in recent years, and they are currently in a woodlot near you. One recently was discovered only a few miles from New York City.
Other shark species get more press, but bull sharks are big, abundant and are certified man-eaters.
The American alligator has a much larger population distribution than many people believe, extending from Mexico along the Gulf Coast states up through the Carolinas. Everywhere they are a potential hazard, as any toothy lizard that grows to half a ton would be.
Rattlesnakes have a much larger range than many people realize. Some variety of rattlesnake is found in almost every state, and in Canadian provinces as well. Watch your step!
The brown recluse spider is a bad dude that doesn't get nearly enough press. Its bite eats away human flesh, and can take many weeks to recover from. The spider is commonly found in cabins and older homes, places where people live. Shake your clothes out before putting them on, and don't reach into dark cabin corners.
Portuguese man-of-war are beautiful and commonly wash up on U.S. beaches. Their long tentacles are poisonous, however, and can make a day at the beach a real pain.
The cottonmouth water moccasin is one of the more aggressive venomous snakes in the U.S. Abundant throughout the Southeast--living near lakes and rivers, creeks, bogs and marshes--the moccasin is a fearsome snake.
The America bison isn't common, but in places like Yellowstone National Park, the animals injure more people annually than bears. Death is not uncommon when tourists having a Kodak moment get too close to a one-ton bull.
Coastal fishermen commonly catch stingrays while fishing bait on bottom. Most are easily released by cutting the fishing line, but watch that tail. The stinger is large and the tail extremely flexible. The sting is excruciatingly painful, but can be quickly neutralized by pouring hot water into the wound. On a boat, the water jet outflow from an outboard is a serviceable hot water antidote.
African bees have invaded much of the Southern U.S., pushing out native honeybees. They're extremely aggressive, attack in large swarms and can be deadly.
The woolly, pussycat-like appearance of the puss caterpillar belies the numerous sharp, venom-laden spines hidden beneath its luxuriant coat of soft hairs. Because these caterpillars appear as innocuous pieces of fluff, children and adults are easily tempted to pick them up. These innocent-looking critters have the power to make grown men cry in agony. Its sting can trigger an immediate onset of excruciating, unrelenting pain, radiating to the lymph nodes in the armpit or groin, and then to the chest. Though only rarely representing a true medical emergency, these symptoms have the feel of a genuine, serious, life-threatening event. As a result, it is common for victims of puss caterpillar stings to seek medical assistance at hospital emergency rooms.
Although revered almost everywhere they thrive, a bull moose weighing a ton or more is nothing to mess with. Hikers and fishermen commonly encounter moose, and while rarely does danger ensue, do not get between a bull and a cow, or between a cow and a calf. Keep your distance.
Rare is the U.S. citizen who encounters a great white shark, but one bite can ruin your day. This famed star from the movie Jaws is a showstopper, with weights pushing two tons and lengths three times the height of a man.
Copperheads account for more than one-third of all venomous snake bites in the U.S., but the odds of dying from a copperhead bite is only one in about 5,000. Still, beware of this beautifully colored reptile, found from Mexico to Illinois, New York to Florida.
Every outdoorsman tangles with mosquitoes, but be warned that they are responsible for more deaths worldwide than any other bug or animal. In the U.S., disease is rarely spread by mosquitoes. Still, West Nile virus, encephalitis and other deadly diseases are transmitted to humans via mosquito bites.
Gila monster bites are rare, occurring mostly in very arid states of the Southwest. But the rugged-looking lizards have neurotoxic venom--like a cobra's--and that's nothing to fool around with.
The smeared dagger moth caterpillar has an ominous name, and it packs a painful sting in its hairs. It can vary in color, but look for yellow patches along each side and raised red spots on its back. The smeared dagger moth caterpillar is known as the smartweed caterpillar, for one of its preferred host plants. It inhabits beaches and marshes from Florida to Texas to California.
Thankfully the American crocodile has a limited range, primarily wild areas in South Florida. They're extremely aggressive, and in Everglades National Park have been known to steal and eat sportfish hooked and played by anglers.
Several varieties of coral snake inhabit the U.S., mostly in extreme southern climates. Bites are rare but dangerous--the neurotoxic venom is the same as a cobra's.
Ticks are common almost everywhere in the U.S., and their bites are a nuisance, and can spread dreaded diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
No predator is more fearsome-looking than a hammerhead shark. This proven man-eater is unpredictable, abundant and grows huge, commonly weighing up to 1,000 pounds and growing 15 feet or more.
Aahhhh, the little coyote. Chilling to hear at dawn and dusk as they yodel and chase deer. But in big packs, at night, if you're camped outdoors--well--watch your back.
The io moth caterpillar is another little bugger full of stingers that can be a real pain. Allergic reactions can occur, and medical attention needed. It's commonly found from Florida and Texas and up to Canada. It feeds on a wide variety of trees, plants and grass. Leave it alone!
Every farmer will tell you to "stay outta the bees." They make delicious honey, but have the potential to swarm, sting and send you to an early grave.
Wasps of various types are common throughout America, and they sting people daily. Because big nests are common, and are often found in old buildings, boat dock areas and cabins, potential for multiple stings is very real and very dangerous.
While the spines from almost any catfish can cause a nasty, painful wound, the marine gafftopsail catfish has especially venomous dorsal and pectoral fin spines. Fishermen often catch "gafftops", and handling them is not advised. Some people who cut lines and have the fish land on a dock or boat kick them back into the water, but a fish spine can penetrate their shoe and result in a painful sting. Medical treatment is sometimes needed, and an allergic reaction can occur.
Raccoons have that cute face and cuddly look, but trust them not. In many regions, especially Florida and the Deep South, the vast majority of raccoons are rabid, and in urban areas they are unafraid of man. Watch your pets, too, as a big coon can make quick work of most dogs and, of course, cats. They are tough, fast and have a mouth full of bad teeth.
Fire ants are tiny wingless wasps that have a potent venomous stinger and mandibles with poison, too. One ant is a pain, but they swarm fast and bite often. Allergic reactions are common, and deaths have resulted, with some cases showing victims with more than 3,000 stings.
The botfly is so small, it uses a common house fly as a larval host. But they stick to people, too, and are plenty yucky when discovered emerging through your hide. They won't likely kill you, but you may want to die when having one extracted.
The stinging rose caterpillar is commonly found on rose, apple, cherry, oak, hickory and dogwood trees from New York to Illinois, Texas to Florida. Its black-tipped spines have poison glands at their base, and when touched cause pain described as some of the most severe from caterpillars in North America. Colors vary from yellow to red.
Walk carefully in grizzly country. Sows and cubs are out-and-about throughout much of the northern Rocky Mountains during summer. Steer clear of them. Click here to view the aftermath of some of the Deadliest Bugs >>