Idaho is full and lush with wildlife, but that also means there are some not so nice and downright scary creatures big and small that could seriously harm, or even kill someone. Lets start with the big ones then get down to the creepy crawlies...

Bears - Black bears are the most common, but grizzlies can also be found in the gem state. Black bears will occasionally wander down from the mountains into town looking for food, typically in the fall. Grizzlies, thank goodness, tend to stick deep in the mountains and stay there. They also are up in northern Idaho so we don't see them down here. Black Bears usually leave humans alone, unless they are startled or with a cub.

Bison - Luckily not something down in the Treasure Valley area but they must be included because according to Go Out Local, They are the most dangerous of all the animals in Idaho. Bison attacks are fairly common. Just stay away. You most likely wont survive a bison attack.

Mountain Lions - Idaho Fish & Game takes the attacks very seriously and, according to an interview with KTVB Channel 7 News,  "While they normally avoid human contact and remain out of sight, young, healthy mountain lions sometimes become more willing to take risks. A mountain lion that is bold enough to attack a pet dog at its home is a mountain lion bold enough to at least consider attacking a human."

If you encounter a mountain lion:

  • Never turn your back on it or try to run away.
  • Look as large as possible at all times. Lift your arms up, stand on something to make yourself taller. Do not bend over to lift up a child to safety.
  • Make noise to intimidate, but deep yelling - do not scream or use a high pitched voice, as it might mistake you for a wounded animal.
  • Make sure to leave a path for it to run away. (hopefully)

The ones found in Idaho are the Great Basin rattlesnake, the Prairie rattlesnake, and the Northern Pacific rattlesnake. They are all bad. They are picky with temp so in spring and fall they are out in the warmest part of the day. In summer they are out most in morning and evening. Stay away, if you see one or hear one get away from it fast. If you a friend or a pet gets bitten by one, immediate medical attention is absolutely necessary. The faster the better. Rattlesnake venom is extremely toxic.

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Spiders - If I see six to eight legs I am running on my two legs pretty darn fast. There are three main venomous spiders in Idaho. Black Widows and Brown Recluses. Even though they have a bad rep, Hobo Spiders are not a threat to humans health. After a lot of research and evidence, as of 2017, the CDC no longer lists the hobo spider among venomous species. However the Black Widow and Brown Recluse, not so much. Sure a spider bite may not seem that bad but if conditions are right and if untreated it can lead to all kinds of awful issues. It is nice to know I wasn't able to find any deaths in Idaho due to spider bite.

Lets break these down a bit according to Wikipedia:
Black Widows - "These small spiders have an unusually potent venom containing the neurotoxin latrotoxin, which causes the condition latrodectism, both named after the genus. Female widow spiders have unusually large venom glands and their bite can be particularly harmful to large vertebrates, including humans. Only the bites of the females are dangerous to humans. Despite their notoriety, Latrodectus bites rarely cause death or produce serious complications."

Brown Recluse - "A recluse spider with a necrotic venom. Similar to other recluse spider bites, their bite sometimes requires medical attention. The brown recluse is one of three spiders (the others being the black widow and Loxosceles laeta, the Chilean recluse) with medically significant venom in North America." Not that you would want to get close enough but they say the eyes are the best way to identify, "While most spiders have eight eyes, recluse spiders have six eyes arranged in pairs."

Good luck out there. ;)


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