Poisonous Animals

Ursini’s viper snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Ursini's viper Vipera ursinii Description: The common adder, long-nosed adder, and Ursini's viper basically have the same coloration and dorsal zigzag pattern. The exception among these adders is that the common adder and Ursini's viper lack the projection of tiny scales on the tip of the nose. Characteristics: These little…
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Poisonous Animals

Pallas’ viper snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Pallas' viper Agkistrodon halys Description: Coloration is gray, tan, or yellow, with markings similar to those of the American copperhead. Characteristics: This snake is timid and rarely strikes. Its venom is hemotoxic but rarely fatal. Habitat: Found in open fields, hillsides, and farming regions. Length: Average 45 centimeters (18 inches),…
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Poisonous Animals

Long-nosed adder snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Long-nosed adder Vipera ammodytes Description: Coloration is gray, brown, or reddish with a dark brown or black zigzag pattern running the length of its back. A dark stripe is usually found behind each eye. Characteristics: A small snake commonly found in much of its range. The term "long-nosed" comes from…
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Poisonous Animals

Common adder

Common adder Vipera berus Description: Its color is variable. Some adult specimens are completely black, while others have a dark zigzag pattern running along the back. Characteristics: The common adder is a small true viper that has a short temper and often strikes without hesitation. Its venom is hemotoxic, destroying…
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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

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

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

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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Edible Wild Plants

Wood sorrel – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.

Wood sorrel (Oxalis species) There are over 800 species in the Oxalis family.  Wood sorrel (also known as Woodsorrels, Yellow Sorrels, or Pink Sorrels) resembles shamrock or four-leaf clover, with a bell-shaped pink, yellow, or white flower.  The plants can grow up to 15 inches tall.  The leaves are divided…
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Edible Wild Plants

Wild pistachio – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.

Wild pistachio (Pistacia species) Wild Pistachio plants can grow as shrubs or trees up to a height of 7 meters (23 feet). It branches are spreading and form a dense crown.  The bark of the Wild Pistachio is typically ashen gray in color and deeply fissured often giving the tree…
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Edible Wild Plants

Wild grape vine – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.

Wild grape vine (Vitis species) The wild grapevine climbs with the aid of “tendrils” on stems that are hairy when young but grow into hairless vines. Its bark is twining.  The tendrils that are used for support grow opposite the leaves.  Most grapevines produce deeply lobed leaves, alternately arranged, broad…
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Edible Wild Plants

Wild fig – how to identify figs and prepare for food

Wild fig (Ficus species) Collectively known as “fig trees” or “figs”, there are nearly 1,000 species of Ficus ranging from woody trees to shrubs and vines.  Most are of the “strangler” variety, with aerial root systems, and hence easy to identify.  The sticky seeds are spread by birds to other…
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Edible Wild Plants

Wild crab apple or wild apple – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.

Wild crab apple or wild apple (Malus species) Wild apple, also known as Crab Apples or Crabs, are a tree that grow to 13-39 feet tall with a dense, twiggy crown.  Wild apple varieties are much smaller than cultivated kinds; the largest kinds usually do not exceed 5 to centimeters…
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Edible Wild Plants

Water plantain – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.

Water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica) The Water-plantain plant, also known as Mad-dog weed, has small, white flowers and heart-shaped leaves with pointed tips. It has a fibrous root and several long-stemmed leaves with a triangular shaped stem.  The leaves are clustered at the base of the plant.  The plant produces many…
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Edible Wild Plants

Walnut – the many uses of Walnut trees in survival situations (including of course, eating the walnuts)

Walnut (Juglans species) Walnuts grow on very large trees, often reaching 18 meters (54 feet) tall, with some growing as high as 40 meters (130 feet) tall. Walnut trees often have divided (split or forked) trunks with wide-spread crowns of foliage at the top of the tree.  Walnut trees have…
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Edible Wild Plants

Tree fern – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.

Tree fern (Various genera) Tree ferns are tall trees with long, slender trunks that often have a very rough, bark-like covering. The fronds unfold and are large and multiple-pinnate (feather like).  Large, lacy leaves uncoil from the top of the trunk.  The leaves may be covered in scales with spore…
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Edible Wild Plants

Thistle – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.

Thistle (Cirsium species) This plant may grow as high as meters (5 feet). It has erect stems, typically with spine-tipped wings, and greyish green leaves that are long-pointed, spear-shaped, deeply lobed, and prickly.  Disk flower heads grow at the end of the branches, on an enlarged, green spiny base, and…
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Edible Wild Plants

Strawberry – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.

Strawberry (Fragaria species) Strawberry is a small, low growing plant with a three-leaved growth pattern with coarsely serrated edges growing on short, scaly stalks.  The terminal tooth on the leaf will be smaller than the other serrated teeth.   It has small, white flowers, typically with 5-6 petals, growing solitary on…
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Edible Wild Plants

Sheep sorrel – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.

Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) Sheep Sorrel, also known as red sorrel, sour weed, and field sorrel, is a perennial weed that grows on an upright stem that is slender and reddish in color.  These plants are seldom more than 30 centimeters (12 inches) tall. They have alternate, arrow shaped leaves…
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