Beware of these venomous creatures in Arizona

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There are a handful of venomous creatures need to stay away from. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/ Stock Photo) There are a handful of venomous creatures need to stay away from. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/ Stock Photo)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Living in Arizona isn’t all relaxing by the pool or hiking in the mountains. Arizonans have to be careful about creepy creatures that lurk in the dark or even in their homes. And their bite or sting is nothing to mess with. Below are the top venomous animals that also call Arizona home.

Arizona bark scorpion

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When most people think of creepy critters in the Valley of the Sun, scorpions are the first that come to mind. The Arizona bark scorpion is the most venomous scorpion in North America. It is usually slenderer compared to other less toxic scorpions and smaller. Unfortunately, it’s also the best climber. While rare, fatalities due to scorpions occur in small animals, small children, senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems.


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The Grand Canyon State could also be known as the Rattlesnake State. Arizona is home to 13 different kinds of rattlesnakes, which is more than any other state. Four of them have special protection in the state. The Mohave rattlesnake is the most toxic, but it’s the Western diamond-backed rattlesnake that is responsible for more bites and deaths than any other rattlesnake. Less than 1 percent of rattlesnake bites are deadly but if you are bitten, go to the nearest hospital.

Gila monster

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The only venomous lizard native to the United States lives right here in Arizona. Pronounced Hee-la, Gila monsters are nocturnal creatures and can be up to 21.5 inches in length. Unlike snakes, Gila monsters bite hard and latch onto their victims and sometimes chew to get the venom moving. But they’re not very fast and usually only bite in self-defense. The bite is painful but not deadly to humans.

Africanized bees

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These insects are probably the smallest creature on the list but probably the deadliest. Not all bees are created equal, and Africanized bees are just mean. They’re so mean that they are better known by another name: killer bees. Every year, these bees attack in swarms and kill people, especially if they feel their hive is under attack. The only good part is that once they sting somebody, they die.

[GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Phoenix mom hospitalized after encounter with blister beetle]

[RELATED: Beekeeper works to 'rehabilitate' Africanized honeybees]

Black widow spider

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A lot of people fear spiders and the black widow has a powerful bite to be scared of. In fact, the female black widow is considered the most venomous spider in North America (males have a lot less venom). Their venom is said to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s. Despite the power, most people who are bitten don’t have serious injuries, according to National Geographic. Bites can be fatal to small children, the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. Side note, the females sometimes eat and kill the males after mating. Yikes.

Brown spider

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Since we’re on the topic of spiders, another spider to look out for is the Arizona brown spider. This eight-legged creature has markings that sort of resemble the shape of a violin but its bite is nothing to play around with. According to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the bite is very dangerous to humans as some have suffered amputations or even death. However, the most common reaction is a sore at the site of the bite, which sometimes takes eight hours after the bite to develop. If someone does get bitten, they need to see a doctor.

Desert centipede

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It has lots of legs and it’s a creepy crawly you don’t want near you. The desert centipede can grow up to eight inches in length. The bite from this creature is painful but usually doesn’t require a trip to the emergency room (unless the victim is allergic). Deaths are rare.

Kissing Bug

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This is one bug that deserves no love. The kissing bug got its name because it bites people around their lips and faces while they sleep.  Usually, people don’t wake up while being fed on. While they are not venomous, they defecate into the bite wounds, which contains a parasite that causes Chagas disease. Most of the time symptoms are minor but a study published last year says the infection increased the risk of death by two to three times.

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