What are the Most Dangerous Creatures on the Pacific Coast?
There are a lot of creatures on land and in the sea that are considered dangerous. Of course, you’ve probably thought of bears and great white sharks already.
But there are others you probably don’t know about! Let’s see if you can guess the others.
Let’s get started!
A Look at the Pacific Coast
Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California make up the US Pacific Coast. These four states border the Pacific Ocean. Some also include Hawaii because it’s a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean. However, we’re talking specifically about the continental United States’ western coast in this article.
The West Coast is home to many forests and wilderness areas. These habitats are home to many different species of animals. Some of these creatures are hunters that can take down their prey quickly and easily. Some creatures are smaller but with finely honed protective features that are quite deadly!
The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest ocean on Earth. For perspective, you could put all the landmasses on Earth together, and the Pacific is still larger.
The name Pacific means “calm,” but the life forms in this ocean are far from tranquil. Such a vast ocean has spawned many creatures, some of which are peaceful and tame. On the other hand, many are incredibly dangerous, if not deadly!
Dangerous Land Creatures of the Pacific Coast
#1 Mountain Lions
Mountain Lions are also known as pumas, panthers, and cougars. They’re solitary and territorial and require enormous swaths of land for hunting. Adult males can be over eight feet long and up to 150 pounds. In comparison, females can be seven feet and up to 95 pounds.
As humans encroach on their territory, attacks are on the rise. In Washington State in 2018, a mountain lion attacked a group of bicyclists, and one person died. If you do encounter a mountain lion, you should act big: raise your arms, stand tall, and shout.
#2 Black Bears
Black bears are omnivorous and large, with sharp teeth and claws. They live in the forests and love to be near streams and dams where they can fish. They tend to avoid humans for the most part.
They’re attracted by human food, though. Don’t leave food out when camping or hiking. If you’re in an area where bears are likely, make noise or use a bear bell. If you run into one, make yourself as big as possible and shout!
There are quite a few dangerous insects on the Pacific Coast. Bees, wasps, and hornets are a few. Their bites are painful and can cause a multitude of uncomfortable symptoms. They can also be deadly to anyone with an allergy. If you have an allergy, you might want to talk with your doctor about an epi-pen!
Black widows, brown recluses, and hobo spiders reside on the West coast. They like to hide in dark, sheltered spots such as woodpiles.
Hobo spiders mostly have painful bites that can cause nausea and fever. Brown recluses can be deadly to children, the elderly, and sick people if not immediately treated.
The female black widow is extremely venomous. It can cause severe pain, difficulty breathing, and muscle spasms. It’s vital to get medical treatment if any of these spiders bite you!
It might seem silly to include deer on this list. They’re herbivores that tend to shy away from humans. However, every year in Oregon, over 7000 traffic accidents are reported due to deer or elk. It’s good to drive slowly with high beams on in heavily forested areas.
Deer, and most animals, may also be dangerous and aggressive when injured. Mothers are very protective of their young. Back away slowly if you run into any of these situations. Don’t be afraid to make a lot of noise!
You might be wondering why dogs are on this list! Our furry friends and household pets are part of the family in many homes. But they’re also descendants of wild animals. They have protective instincts, and some dogs can have aggressive behaviors.
In the US, there are nearly 5 million dog bites every year. At least one-third of all dog bites get infected and cause complications. Everyone should ask a dog owner if their pet is friendly before petting a dog!
Dangerous Sea Creatures of the Pacific Coast
California morays are very common along the coast of California and other Pacific islands. They’re the apex predators in ocean reef systems and have a powerful bite. It’s rare for a California moray to bite a human, but it can happen if you get too close.
Their bite causes deep and painful puncture wounds. They can also infect you with a deadly bacterium, so it’s wise to avoid them! Seek medical help if you do get bitten.
We all know that great white sharks don’t hunt humans down like in Jaws. Yet they’re responsible for the largest number of unprovoked fatal shark attacks on humans. They live in all major oceans, including the cold waters of the Pacific.
Their appearance is terrifying, with rows of sharp serrated teeth. When they bite their prey, they shake their heads back and forth to saw off chunks of flesh. Great whites can even bite and sink boats!
Research shows they don’t like the taste of humans, though. Shark attacks on humans are usually a result of impaired senses. However, one great white shark bite is enough to kill. It’s always wise to heed shark sighting warnings!
Many types of jellyfish exist globally, and the Pacific Coast is home to one of the largest. The Lion’s Mane jellyfish can have hundreds of tentacle bundles. Each tentacle has nematocysts, which have tiny harpoons and venom. When the tentacles touch an object, it activates the harpoons and venom.
Their stings can be excruciating. They can cause rashes, muscle cramps, breathing problems, and occasional death. Jellyfish usually travel in groups and float inland with the tide. If you hear of a sighting, stay out of the water!
The round stingray is very true to its name! These circular fish thrive in the warm waters off California’s southern coast, and every year, they sting hundreds of swimmers. The stings are agonizing but not fatal. If you know you’re in stingray territory, it’s best to stay out of the water.
If you do get stung, resist the urge to pull out the stinger. It has barbs that can hook into your skin if pulled out. There is also the possibility of tissue death and bacterial infection. It’s always good to seek medical attention if you get barbed by a stingray!
The California Scorpionfish often swims in shallow waters along the California coast. It carries a dangerous venom in its spine. When you pull the fish from the water, it flares this spine and injects its poison. Some say it feels like a rattlesnake bite. It causes extreme pain, and the wound can lead to cyanosis and painful masses.
The venom can also cause heart problems, such as a rapid heart rate or inflammation. Scorpionfish are deep water creatures usually caught by fishermen. So listen to your guide if you charter a fishing boat!
What’s the Most Dangerous Creature on the Pacific Coast?
You might be surprised to find the most dangerous creatures on the Pacific Coast are humans! Or maybe you won’t.
Humans have caused more death and destruction than any of these creatures. Let’s look at a few examples.
People are very deadly to each other. Every year we assault, kill, and maim each other. Car accidents injure and kill humans and animals alike. But there are different ways that we’re dangerous.
We continue to pump massive levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This, in turn, makes the ocean more acidic and creates many hazards for sea life.
Humans also dump tons of garbage into our beautiful oceans. Scientists even found debris in the deepest point on Earth, the Pacific Ocean’s Marianna trench.
What’s more, doctors and researchers across the world are finding microplastics in our blood and studies show they’re capable of damaging our very DNA.
Keep Your Eyes Out for the Most Dangerous Creatures on the Pacific Coast
Many dangerous creatures live on the Pacific Coast. Bears, mountain lions, and sharks have deadly fangs and claws that can rip a human apart. Bees, scorpions, jellyfish, and stingrays can inject poison into us that causes pain and sometimes even death. But none of these creatures destroy the ecosystems that sustain them as humans do.
So, when you’re swimming in the Pacific or hiking the mountains, be aware of your surroundings and the creatures that might be in the area. And remember that it’s not always the ‘wild’ animals that are the most dangerous.
Were you surprised to find out what the most dangerous creatures are on the Pacific Coast?
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