Poisonous Animals

Yellow Bellied Sea Snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Yellow-bellied sea snake Pelamis platurus Description: Upper part of body is black or dark brown and lower part is bright yellow. Characteristics: A highly venomous snake belonging to the cobra family. This snake is truly of the pelagic species - it never leaves the water to come to shore. It…
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Poisonous Animals

Banded Sea Snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Banded sea snake Laticauda colubrina Description: Smooth-scaled snake that is a pale shade of blue with black bands. Its oarlike tail provides propulsion in swimming. Characteristics: Most active at night, swimming close to shore and at times entering tide pools. Its venom is a very strong neurotoxin. Its victims are…
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Poisonous Animals

Tiger Snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Tiger snake Notechis scutatus Description: Olive to dark brown above with yellowish or olive belly and crossbands. The subspecies in Tasmania and Victoria is uniformly black. Characteristics: It is the most dangerous snake in Australia. It is very common and bites many humans. It has a very potent neurotoxic venom…
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Poisonous Animals

Taipan Snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Taipan Oxyuranus scutellatus Description: Generally uniformly olive or dark brown, with a somewhat darker brown head. Characteristics: Considered one of the most deadly snakes. It has an aggressive disposition. When aroused, it can display a fearsome appearance by flattening its head, raising it off the ground, waving it back and…
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Poisonous Animals

Death Adder – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Death adder Acanthophis antarcticus Description: Reddish, yellowish, or brown color with distinct dark brown crossbands. The end of its tail is black, ending in a hard spine. Characteristics: When aroused, this highly dangerous snake will flatten its entire body, ready to strike over a short distance. It is nocturnal, hiding…
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Australian Copperhead Snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Australian copperhead Denisonia superba Description: Coloration is reddish brown to dark brown. A few from Queensland are black. Characteristics: Rather sluggish disposition but will bite if stepped on. When angry, rears its head a few inches from the ground with its neck slightly arched. Its venom is neurotoxic. Habitat: Swamps.…
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Poisonous Animals

All about the Tropical rattlesnake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Tropical rattlesnake Crotalus durissus or Crotalus terrificus Description: The Tropical Rattlesnake is also known as South American Rattlesnake or Neotropical Rattlesnake.  Coloration is light to dark brown with a series of darker rhombs or diamonds bordered by a buff color but can vary depending on the sub species.  Some sub…
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Poisonous Animals

All about the Fer-de-lance snake – the most feared snake on the planet – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Fer-de-lance Bothrops atrox or Bothrops lanceolatus The Fer-de-lance (also known as Lancehead) are several closely related species in this group. All are very considered to be very aggressive and dangerous to man and one of the most feared snakes on the planet. Description: Lancehead or Fer-de-lance snakes have highly variable…
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Poisonous Animals

All about the Jumping viper snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Jumping viper Bothrops nummifer (or Atropoides) Description: It has a stocky, thick body. Its ground color varies from grayish-brown to gray or reddish-brown with dark brown or black dorsal blotches.  It has no pattern on its head.  The head is large, with small eyes and broad, round snout. Characteristics: It…
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Poisonous Animals

All about the Eyelash pit viper snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Eyelash pit viper Bothrops schlegeli   Description: Eyelash pit vipers (also known as Eyelash Mountain Viper, Schlegel’s Palm Viper,Horned Palm Snake, and Eyelash Palmpitviper) are a venomous pit viper that may be identified by 2-3 sharp, spiny scales over each eye giving them the appearance of eyelashes. It it were…
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Poisonous Animals

All about the Coral snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Coral snake Micrurus fulvius Description: The Coral Snake is colorfully marked with rings that are bright blacks, reds, and yellows in color.  Some of the colored bands, particularly the red bands, may be speckled.  Other non-poisonous species have similar colors and markings including the Scarlet Snake and the Milk Snake. …
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Poisonous Animals

All about the Bushmaster snake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

Bushmaster Lachesis muta Description: The Bushmaster body color is pale brown or pinkish, with a series of large bold dark brown or black blotches extending along the body. It can grow to a length of 3 meters (10 feet), making it the longest viper snake in the world, and weighs…
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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

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

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

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

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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