Louisiana is a beautiful state. It's home to a diverse culture that stems from the lively and celebratory nature of New Orleans and, just outside of that, are the surrounding areas of the bayou and city outskirts. Many of these smaller towns have remained unchanged for decades, still cookin' up traditional Southern cooking as it was intended, and attending gatherings with their neighbors who have been the same for generations. However, it's not the community or the culture of Louisiana that we're talking about today... It's everything else that slithers, crawls, or creeps around it.
The state is also home to some of the most venomous and dangerous creatures in the country, giving it somewhat of a reputation. This doesn't mean that one trip to Louisiana will result in an immediate confrontation with any of these insects or animals - but it does mean that they're always around, whether we realize it or not. Some are as small as a quarter and pack a punch that could land a person in the hospital in a matter of hours, while others are much larger but practice stealth as though their lives depend on it... because, in Louisiana, it does. These are the most dangerous creatures you can come across in the deep south.
The sound of a rattlesnake alone is enough to send a person into a panic, let alone the sight of one with its one-inch-long fangs. A common problem with these rattlesnakes is that they enjoy hiding among rocks and crevices, meaning they can be tough to spot along with their naturally camouflaging colors.
They can also reach lengths of up to eight feet (although rare) and the amount of venom each snake has is more than enough to kill a full-grown adult. Most commonly, cardiac failure is the result of a bite that goes untreated - along with intense and severe pain and swelling around the bite area itself. While the Eastern Diamondbacks are few and far between now, they still remain an unprotected species.
It's incredibly rare that a brown recluse bite will lead to hospitalization (three deaths have occurred over the last two decades, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers) but that doesn't mean a bite isn't painful and can't cause a reaction in some.
Contrary to popular belief, these spiders are not aggressive by nature; rather, it's their choice of hiding spot which gets them into trouble. Often found in dry, dark places, it's likely that a person will stick their hand behind a box or stick a foot into a shoe and end up with an unintentional warning in the form of a bite.
Louisiana is home to the most alligators in the entire country, according to Journeying the Globe, which means they make fairly common appearances. Alligators have been found in plenty of places they shouldn't be, which, in Louisiana, basically means to keep your eyes peeled.
The alligator also has the strongest bite on the planet which is how it's able to attack prey, lock its jaws around it, and drag it underwater, essentially depriving it of oxygen long enough to be overcome.
'Harlequin' Eastern Coral Snake
There is a long list of snakes in Louisiana and even those that aren't venomous are enough to make our skin crawl. However, in the case of the Eastern coral snake, which is easily recognizable due to its bright red coloring, venom is part of the problem.
One snake can have enough venom to take down up to five adults; however, not all of its venom can be injected in just one bite and it's estimated that 40% of bites contain no venom at all. Fatalities from this snake are rare and they're night hunters, and not aggressive by nature - with that being said, this still isn't a snake you'd want to tangle with.
The copperhead is actually a member of the pit viper family which is also why it's so hazardous to humans. These snakes are also relatively small so they can be a challenge to catch and remove (do not try this unless you are a trained professional).
The copperhead has a slightly different approach when it's in defense mode and since it resorts to freezing in place, it makes it more likely that the snake will go unnoticed by nearby humans, leading to unintentional interactions. Usually, the first bite from a copperhead has no venom, while the second always will - however, according to Journeying the Globe, the copperhead's venom is fairly mild with side effects that are worse than the actual bite.
Also known as Africanized bees, this species of the buzzing bug was a mistake entirely due to cross-breeding. When all was said and done, the bees made their debut in New Orleans where the first U.S. colony was established, and they've been in the country ever since.
They've also gained a reputation for being the most dangerous animal on the continent, thanks to the fact that their defenses if threatened, include an additional 10,000 bees stinging rather than just a few hundred. Since these bees will continue pursuing their prey for up to a quarter of a mile, and continuously sting for 24 hours following, the best bet is to just be wary and stay away from anything with wings.
If you thought the water wasn't safe due to alligators, think again - Louisiana is also home to water moccasins that can be found in or out of water. Similar to the copperhead, these snakes, also known as cottonmouths, are part of the pit viper family and pack a punch.
Their bite can be fatal and they're among some of the most venomous snakes that inhabit the coastline, including around lakes and docks, where there are plenty of dark places to hideout.
Buck Moth Caterpillar
Can you believe it? Even the caterpillars that call Louisiana home are venomous - at least, in the case of the buck moth caterpillar. This little guy might look cute but the hairs along it are actually hiding a toxin that's relatively unpleasant.
The 'hairs' are actually spines, and all it takes is one accidental brush-up to cause a reaction from them.