Overviews

How to identify and avoid poisonous snakes and lizards

Introduction – All About Snakes Regarding snakes, you should know: Their habits. How to identify the dangerous kinds. Precautions to take to prevent snakebite. What actions to take in case of snakebite. Nearly all snakes avoid man if possible. A few—the king cobra of Southeast Asia, the bushmaster and tropical…
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Poisonous Animals

Tick – the dangers of tick bites, how to avoid them, and how to treat

Description: Ticks are in the same family as spiders and hence share some characteristics with them ( like spiders, Ticks have eight legs).  They are parasites living on the blood of other animals a practice which makes them vectors (carriers) of several diseases including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted…
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Poisonous Animals

All about wasps and hornets – their habitat, sting, treatment, and how to avoid their bite.

Wasps and hornets Description: The Wasp, or Hornet (also known as Dirt Daubers, Mud Daubers, Potter Wasps, Velvet Ants, Yellowjackets, Fairyflies), is a rather generic suborder of insects.  A Wasp generally a smooth-bodied, slender stinging insects. Like a Bee, Wasps have two pairs of wings, a stinger (only the female…
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Poisonous Animals

All about bees – their habitat, sting, and how to avoid being attacked

Bee Description: Bees are flying insects with brown or black, hairy, fuzz-covered bodies (the hair on their body is used to collect pollen). The bee’s body typically has 3 or 5 dark, black and yellow or orangish, colored hair bands around their body and lack the “thin” abdomen found in…
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Poisonous Animals

All about the Centipede – their habitat, sting, treatment, and how to avoid their bite.

Centipede Description: Centipedes have multi-jointed body, each segment having a pair of legs, growing to 30 centimeters (12 inches) long, with each pair slightly longer than the pair in front of it. Centipedes are typically dull orange, red to brown (species that live underground may have no color pigmentation), with…
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Poisonous Animals

All about the Black Widow Spider or Widow Spider – their habitat, sting, treatment, and how to avoid their bite.

Black Widow spider Latrodectus species Description: Black Widow Spiders are dark, usually black, medium sized spiders with light red or orange markings (typically in the shape of an hourglass) on female's abdomen (underneath the spider’s body).  Black Widow Spiders (or Widow Spiders) have dark, glossy, globular bodies about 1/2 inch…
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Poisonous Animals

All about the tarantulas – their habitat, sting, treatment, and how to avoid their bite.

Tarantula Theraphosidae and Lycosa species Description: Very large, brown, black, reddish, hairy spiders. Tarantula size ranges from 1-4 inches with legs as long as 12 inches.  Most tarantulas are brown.  Tarantulas have eight legs and two additional appendages that they use to grip prey.  Large fangs that fold much like…
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Poisonous Animals

All about the funnelweb spider – their habitat, sting, treatment, and how to avoid one the most dangerous spiders in the world.

Funnelweb spider Atrax species (A. robustus, A. formidablis) Description: The Funnelweb spider, also known as Funnel Web spider, Australian funnel-web spider, and Sydney funnel-web spider, are medium to large, brown or black, bulky spiders. The front part of the body is glossy and hairless.  They are aggressive when disturbed and…
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Poisonous Animals

Brown recluse spider – how to identify, avoid, and treat brown recluse bites.

Brown house spider or brown recluse spider Loxosceles reclusa Description: The Brown Recluse spider, also known as fiddleback spider, brown fiddler, or violin spider, may be cream colored, blackish gray, or brown to black with obvious "fiddle" on back of head and thorax. The darker violin shape is located on…
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Poisonous Animals

Scorpion – how to identify, avoid, and treat scorpion stings.

Scorpion Scorpionidae order Description: Scorpions are dull brown, yellow, or black (the most common is the brown Striped Bark Scorpion).  Their color often camouflages them and makes it difficult to see amongst rocks and dirt.  They have eight legs and distinctive to 20-centimeter long (3- to 8-inch long) lobster-like pincers…
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Poisonous Plants

Water hemlock or spotted cowbane – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Water hemlock or spotted cowbane Cicuta maculata Parsley (Apiaceae) Family Description: The Water Hemlock, also known as spotted water hemlock, spotted parsley, spotted cowbane, and the suicide root, is perennial herb in the carrot family.  It is very difficult to distinguish it from other, similar looking plants.  Water Hemlock may…
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Poisonous Plants

Trumpet vine or trumpet creeper – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Trumpet vine or trumpet creeper Campsis radicans Trumpet creeper (Bignoniaceae) Family Description: The large, vigorous, woody Trumpet Vine or Trumpet Creeper may climb to 15 meters (45 feet) high.  It has pea-like fruit capsules. The oval leaves are pinnately compound, growing opposite to each other, 8 to 12 sharply toothed…
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Poisonous Plants

Strychnine tree – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Strychnine tree Strychnos nux-vomica Logania (Loganiaceae) Family Description: The strychnine tree is a medium-sized evergreen tree with a short, thick crooked trunk, reaching a height of about 12 meters (36 feet).  The wood of the Strychnine tree is white and dense and durable with irregular branches covered with a smooth,…
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Poisonous Plants

Rosary pea or crab’s eyes – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Rosary pea or crab's eyes Abrus precatorius Leguminosae (Fabaceae) Family Description: The Rosary Pea plant (also known as Jequirity, Crab's Eye, Rosary Pea, John Crow Bead, Precatory bean,Indian Licorice, Akar Saga, Giddee Giddee or Jumbie Bead) is a small, slender, high-climbing vine that twines around trees, shrubs, and hedges.  It…
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Poisonous Plants

Poison Sumac – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Poison sumac Toxicodendron vernix Cashew (Anacardiacese) Family Description: Poison sumac is a woody shrub or small tree that grows to meters (28 feet) tall with rough, scaly bark. It has alternate, pinnately compound leafstalks with 7 to 13 smooth edged leaflets per leaf.  The leaflets are oval to oblong, taper…
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Poisonous Plants

Poison Ivy and Poison Oak – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Poison ivy and poison oak Toxicodendron radicans and Toxicodendron diversilobum (previously Toxicodendron diversibba) Cashew (Anacardiacese) Family Description: These two plants are quite similar in appearance and will often crossbreed to make a hybrid. Both have alternate, compound leaves with three leaflets.  The oil in the plants is the primary culprit…
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Poisonous Plants

Poison hemlock, fool’s parsley – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Poison hemlock, fool's parsley Conium maculatum Parsley (Apiaceae) Family Description: The poison hemlock plant (also known as Beaver Poison, Herb Bennet, Musquash Root, Poison Parsley, Spotted Corobane, and Spotted Hemlock) is a biennial herb that may grow to meters (8 feet) high. The smooth, hollow green stem may or may…
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Poisonous Plants

Physic nut or Jatropha – tropical plant typically used as a poison has medicinal uses too

Physic nut Jatropha curcas Spurge (Euphoriaceae) Family Description: The Physic nut, or Jatropha plant, is a shrub or small tree found in the American tropics.  Also known as Barbados Nut, Purging Nut, Black Vomit Nut, Physic Nut, or JCL, the plant can reach a height of 6 meters (20 feet)…
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Poisonous Plants

Pangi – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Pangi or Keluak Pangium edule Pangi Family Description: The Pangi tree, also known as Keluak, Keluwak, or Keypayang, is a tall tree often reaching heights of 18 meters (54 feet).  The tree has large, glossy heart-shaped leaves in spirals each typically with three lobes.  Its large flowers grow in spikes,…
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Poisonous Plants

Oleander – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Oleander Nerium oleander Dogbane (Apocynaceae) Family Description: The poisonous Oleander shrub (or small tree) grows to about 9 meters (27 feet), with alternate, very straight, thick, leathery, dark green, long (2-8 inches), narrow (1 inch), lance-shaped leaves. Leaves typically grow in pairs or whorls of three.  Mature plants have grayish…
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Poisonous Plants

Manchineel – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Manchineel Hippomane mancinella Spurge (Euphorbiaceae) Family Description: The deadly Manchineel tree (sometimes written “manchioneel”) is a flowering tree reaching up to 15 meters (45 feet) high with greyish or brown, scaly or fissured bark and alternate, shiny green leaves and spikes of small greenish flowers. The Manchineel tree’s glossy leaves…
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Poisonous Plants

Lantana – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Lantana Lantana camara Vervain (Verbenaceae) Family Description: The poisonous Lantana plant, also known as Spanish Flag, Big Sage, Blacksage, Wild Sage, Prickly Lantana, or West Indian Lantana, is a low erect, shrub-like plant that may grow up to 45 centimeters (18 inches) high. It has opposite, round to oval shaped…
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Poisonous Plants

Poisonous Death camas (death lily) plant looks like an onion

Death camas, death lily All of the Zigadenus species Lily (Liliaceae) Family Description: The poisonous Death Camas (or Meadow Deathcamas) plant arises from a bulb and may be mistaken for an onion plant. Its leaves are long and grass-like. The bulbs look like onions but do not smell like onions. …
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Poisonous Plants

Cowhage, cowage, cowitch – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Cowhage, cowage, cowitch Mucuna pruritum  (Mucuna pruriens) Leguminosae (Fabaceae) Family Description: Cowhage, also known as velvet bean or cowitch, is a vine-like plant that is known for its ability to cause extreme itchiness.  The plant is a climbing shrub with oval leaflets in groups of three growing off of short…
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