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Adventure Dangers

If you are planning on hiking into the U.S. wilderness, biking across the states or whitewater rafting on one of the wild rivers, you should be aware of the dangers you might encounter. There are some dangerous plants and animals common to the U.S. that you may not find in your home country. Some of them may only cause temporary inconvenience or discomfort, while others can be painful or life threatening.

Poison Ivy is a common plant in the U.S. that causes an allergic reaction in many people. The rash from poison ivy is seldom life threatening but is often painful and irritating.

Skunk © Corel
Skunks defend themselves by lifting their tails and spraying a very unpleasant smelling musk.

Poisonous snakes can pose a danger to hikers and wilderness adventurers. There are several varieties of venomous snakes common to various regions of the U.S. Learn to recognize the dangerous ones and know what to do if bitten.

Skunks are cute animals that sometimes pay nighttime visits to campsites and seem completely unafraid of humans. When alarmed, they will spray you with a powerful noxious musk that may cause your camping companions to move their tents at least 200 meters upwind from you.

Bears are ironically more dangerous close to civilization than they are in the wilderness. Giant Grizzly bears, and to a lesser extent, Black Bears are potentially dangerous in the wild, but they usually avoid humans. Unfortunately, when bears come in contact with civilization and learn to beg or steal food from humans, they become real nuisances and often a real danger.

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Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection spread through tick bites. It can result in a prolonged illness that is often difficult to diagnose. When hiking in certain parts of the US, it is wise to take precautions to avoid infection.

Giardiasis protozoa are parasites transmitted to the ground water through wild animal feces in certain parts of the US. They can cause severe intestinal illness. Wilderness adventurers should always purify water from springs and streams before drinking.

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Michelle Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: Hikers stop to take in the view from a mountain ridge in Montana.