Alabama lies in the heart of the deep south, stretching from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico to the southern tip of Appalachia. This famously unique state offers incredible and underrated natural landscapes, along with a diverse array of wildlife.
However, there are a dangerous creatures in Alabama that visitors need to be aware of to stay safe while exploring the region. Read on as we put a few under the microscope.
What Is Alabama Known for?
One of the most famous things about Alabama is its colleges. The colleges aren’t renowned only for the academics, but for the football teams! Alabama and Auburn have been high-ranking teams over the past few decades and have a bitter rivalry.
Many throughout the south know Alabama as home to some of the country’s most underrated beaches. Destinations like Gulf Shores, Dauphin Island, Orange Beach, and more offer miles of gorgeous sand along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. These communities have a beach culture unlike anywhere else in the nation.
People also know Alabama for some of its dark histories, particularly as the home of major civil rights demonstrations. These included the famous bus boycott in Montgomery sparked by Rosa Parks’ arrest, Martin Luther King Jr.’s demonstrations in Birmingham, and the “Bloody Sunday” of Selma.
Today, history lovers and those who want to pay tribute to these incredible events and the people behind them can enjoy museums, tours, and other attractions commemorating this unpleasant but essential part of Alabama’s history.
Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for creepy critters while doing these 10 Unusual Things To Do in Alabama.
What Kind of Wildlife Is in Alabama?
As a relatively rural state, Alabama offers much space for wildlife to thrive. Add the numerous varied environments, and you have a recipe for many native species. Carnivores include bobcats, coyotes, and gray and red foxes.
Other familiar species include deer, various rabbits, rodents, opossums, armadillos, and more. And that’s only mammals! Alabama is also home to many popular fish species, from bass and trout to perch, along with many amphibians and reptiles.
However, arguably the biggest draw of any Alabama wildlife is the state’s birds. More than 400 species call the state home, including nearly 180 breeders and another 174 that spend the winter there. This fantastic diversity is matched by a few other parts of the United States, drawing dedicated birdwatchers from around the country and the world.
These are 5 Dangerous Creatures in Alabama to Look Out for
Alabama’s wild spaces may be teeming with life, but there are a few native critters worth avoiding. Here are some of the most unpleasant Alabama residents.
1. Black Widow Spiders
Black Widows are some of the most infamous spiders in America, for a good reason. Their venom contains a potent neurotoxin that can cause severe pain, nausea, weakness, and even death in rare cases. Children are particularly vulnerable to the toxin, but everyone should seek medical attention as soon as possible if they think a spider bit them.
Female Black Widows are the most easily identifiable as they’re larger and have the species’ trademark red hourglass markings on their underside. Most tend to live in rocky or leafy areas or stumps or debris, though some will make their homes closer to artificial structures.
2. Cottonmouth Snakes
Alabama is home to a half-dozen venomous snakes, but few are as dangerous as the cottonmouth. It earned its name from the white interior of its mouth. Cottonmouths grow to be more than six feet long and are typically dark in color.
You can find them throughout Alabama in wet areas or waterways. As the area’s only water-dwelling venomous snake, it can present a persistent threat to those who aren’t careful. Cottonmouth venom is a hemotoxin that can cause severe damage to the circulatory system.
Few of the thousands of people they bite yearly die, but the effects can include severe pain and long-term tissue damage.
3. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
On land, the snake to watch out for is the Eastern Diamondback. Like all rattlesnakes, it will alert you to its presence with the unmistakable rattle of its tail. Shorter than the Cottonmouth at four or five feet, it’s still the largest of its kind in the world and packs a powerful bite.
Rattlesnake bites cause pain, weakness, nausea, and sometimes even difficulty breathing. If you do not treat it, a bite can be deadly, so seek care as soon as possible.
4. Black Bears
Bears might not be the first thing you think of when you think of Alabama wildlife, but they’re a persistent presence in the state, primarily in the southwestern and northeastern regions. You should avoid bears and give them plenty of space. While black bears are smaller and less aggressive than their cousins, the Grizzly, they can still seriously injure or even kill a human if you provoke them. C
ampers should be particularly mindful of the presence of bears, securing their food in smell-proof containers or using a bear bag. This also goes for homeowners with a grill or smoker they keep outdoors. At five to six feet tall and weighing up to 450 pounds, a bear is an intruder you want to keep away from your home or campsite.
5. Wild Boars
We aren’t talking about Pumba from The Lion King—wild boars are no joke in Alabama or other parts of the south. These feral swine generally descend from pigs brought over by early European colonists, which have multiplied in incredible numbers.
These boars can be highly aggressive, seriously harming the environment by rooting and even menacing or attacking pets or people. They can inflict severe damage with their mighty tusks, so avoid them while in Alabama and anywhere else.
Are There Alligators in Alabama?
You will find alligators in Alabama, as you will in much of the coastal south. Most tend to live in the southern parts of the state, particularly in swampy or marshy areas. However, some people have spotted them in other waterways and reservoirs.
If you see one, give it plenty of space and let it move to other areas. Still, there’s no need to be too worried. Alligator attacks in Alabama are exceedingly rare, and there’s never been a recorded human death from a gator there, either.
Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for this Terrifying Shark That Overtakes Alabama Beach while swimming in Alabama.
Is Wildlife Observing in Alabama Recommended?
To be sure, wildlife watching isn’t for everyone. For some, it’s the equivalent of watching paint dry, but outdoors. Despite the positives, these folks obviously won’t find it worth it to spend time observing wildlife in Alabama.
But for those who love a diverse mix of environments and species, Alabama offers incredible opportunities you’ll find in few other states. So don’t be scared off because of a few sometimes dangerous creatures in Alabama. Most wildlife lovers encounter no severe issues, and knowing the risks can be half the battle!
Have you encountered any of the animals on this list? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
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