3 Critters you should know about when camping in the desert

Believe it or not, most animals, deadly or otherwise, would rather leave you alone. Most of them see you as a threat and don’t want to put themselves in danger. But every now and then you will come across critters who is either in a bad mood, just startled or defending its territory.

While camping in the desert, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these critters. Even if you’ve brought weapons to defend yourself, it’s better to give these animals some space. Here are three desert animals that you should especially watch out for.

Scorpions know how to survive. They can live off of a single meal for months, and even if they freeze overnight, they will jump back to life the very next day. There are over 2,000 varieties of scorpions worldwide, and all of them are poisonous.

These critters like to reside in the desert. One type of scorpion that has enough poison in its glands to kill a human is the Arizona Bark Scorpion. It’s one of the smallest varieties, but also the most poisonous scorpion in the United States – and yes, it resides in Arizona.

If you’ve ever been bitten by one you know how it feels – like you’re electrocuted and your skin is burning. You will probably only die from the bite if you’re a child or have a weakened immune system, but it’s still a good idea to see a doctor even if you’re a healthy adult. It can take up to 72 hours for the effects to wear off, if you survive.

What’s scary about rattlesnakes is that when they bite you, they can decide just how much venom they want to pump in your body. If the snake isn’t angry, it might not eject any venom at all. If you made it furious, he might kill you within the next 6 to 48 hours.

The critters are usually more afraid of you than you are of them, but it is advised to keep an eye out for them. If you step on them, you might piss them off.

Prairie dogs
They look like desert squirrels, and they aren’t especially dangerous to humans. But the bad news is that prairie dogs can carry the bubonic plague, which can be fatal if not treated.

Your chance of getting the disease is quite small, but there are still 10 to 20 cases reported in the U.S each year. The disease usually kills the prairie dog so quickly the chance of finding an infected one alive is pretty small – but we still advise against camping next to a prairie dog town.

If you develop a high fever and swollen glands after camping close to prairie dogs, we recommend you get it checked out by a doctor as fast as you can.