• Weird Nature

12 Of The Most Nightmarish Creatures You Might Encounter In Arizona

Arizona is a beautiful place, but it also happens to be hot, dry, and full of animals that want to take your life. Besides the obvious mountain lions and bears, there are many dangerous Arizona animals, some of which are venomous or poisonous. There are still other weird animals that live in Arizona that are definitely creepy, even if they're not actually harmful to us. However, given how many deadly animals there are roaming this state, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference. 

For one thing, some of the scariest animals in Arizona are insects or arachnids. They may be small, but some of them can pack a real wallop if they choose to. Other Arizona creatures that can kill you tend to be in the reptile or amphibian category, and those can lead to even more vicious ways to go. Other creatures on this list are only seriously deadly to other animals, thankfully.

Whether you're an Arizona native and you've accepted these odd and deadly critters as a part of your life or you're just a curious visitor who wants to avoid an accident, learning more about these strange and frightening animals is bound to leave you fascinated, frightened, or both.

  • Photo: Josh Olander / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0

    The Gila monster is a large lizard that lives in Arizona, and can grow to an intimidating two feet long in some cases. Its often bright colors may be entrancing, but it's best to stay back, because these guys are actually venomous. Like many snakes, the Gila monster's bite releases a neurotoxin that can attack your body and can cause swelling, irritation, and in more extreme cases, paralysis and even death.

    Luckily, death from these critters is incredibly rare, but there can still be damage to your limbs or organs, so if one bites you, it's time to get to the hospital. They also live underground for 95% of their lives, so you're probably safe from them... for now.

  • Photo: Jeffrey W. Lotz / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    You might be wondering, what exactly is an Africanized bee? Well, they are a hybrid of Western honey bees and African honey bees, and they tend to be far more aggressive than your average honey bee. In fact, you might know them by a different name: Killer Bees. These guys have been known to chase people, in swarms, for over a quarter of a mile, and they kill people every single year.

    Because they attack in swarms, it does not matter if you have a bee allergy - the sheer amount and force of the bee venom can be enough to send your system into shock. In Arizona, it is now assumed that all bees you come across are some form of Africanized bee and are therefore best to keep away from.

  • Don't Lick The Sonoran Desert Toads

    You really have to go out of your way to get into trouble when it comes to the Sonoran Desert Toad, but people do still find ways to manage it. These toads secrete a strong toxin from their glands that can coat their skin. For dogs, this can often be a death sentence, as even sniffing or picking up the toad in its mouth can cause the toxin to get into their system. However, because humans generally don't tend to sniff random frogs and toads we find, that shouldn't be an issue, right?

    Unfortunately, the toad also secretes a pretty potent psychedelic substance from its venom sacs, called 5-MeO-DMT. By licking the toad, a person can supposedly get pretty high, but too much can still cause sickness or even death. So keep it simple and safe; don't lick toads.

  • They're Called Blister Beetles For A Reason

    These little bugs can be very pretty, especially those that live in Arizona. However, touching one could end up being a very nasty, itchy, painful time for you. When frightened or angry, these beetles can secrete a smelly, yellowish goo that is actually their blood. If it comes in contact with your skin, it can make you blister wherever the stuff touches. While this tends to be annoying and painful, rather than lethal, these beetles do pose a serious problem for horse owners.

    The beetles may end up living in their feed or may get killed while processing the feed, and if a horse eats enough of them, it can grow sick and even die. If, somehow, we ate a bunch of these bugs, we could potentially die as well.