Many people don’t like regular bugs and spiders all that much, so the poison-sporting kinds are a hard pass, thankyouverymuch. While most of us know that we want to steer clear of them, it’s not uncommon for people to misunderstand the very real difference between “poisonous” and “venomous.” Venomous creatures are the kind that bite, sting or otherwise pierce your person to do their damage. Poisonous creatures contain poison, but they don’t do the attacking -- for someone to come in contact with the offensive poison they’d have to touch or bite into them.
Poisonous or venomous creatures don’t exactly corner the market on creepy, however. There once was an insect called the “griffinfly,” which was basically a giant ancient dragonfly that boasted a wingspan of up to 2.5 feet (0.8 meters). Fortunately, they exited stage left long before humans burst on the scene, otherwise the bug spray industry would have really had its work cut out for it. One bad boy you do have to watch out for today (if you’re in New Zealand, anyway), is the “giant weta,” which can weigh more than a pound, and is described as “a cricket-like beast.”
These guys keep good company because by some estimates, there are 10 quintillion insects on the planet, and many are venomous. And although the vast majority of spiders are the do-no-harm variety, there are still plenty of the dangerous sort. Australia alone sports 50 to 100 species of venomous bad boys! Now that you’re sufficiently creeped out, take this quiz and test your knowledge about the poisonous/venomous creepy-crawlies of the world!
Some people say it hurts more than being shot by a gun.
By some estimates, one sting by these ants might hurt as much as 30 by other insects, such as wasps.
It's a cousin of the black widow and reactions to its poison can be severe.
The foot-long bugs are indeed poisonous, but they don't often kill people.
It's an African scorpion that can sting or spray its venom.
These bees are insanely aggressive and can swarm creatures as large as horses.
Centipedes are carnivorous creatures … and there are more than 8,000 species.
They are powerful and poisonous creatures.
And the chemical cocktail is an alarm to other hornets, calling them to attack you as well.
A feared species of this spider is often found within 60 or so miles of Sydney.
Yes, that includes humans; these spiders are among the most dangerous you can encounter.
Male spiders of this species tend to have more potent venom, and they will bite multiple times.
They are not only venomous, but they are also aggressive and attack in groups.
Sometimes they infect people with trypanosomal Chagas disease, which can kill.
The spider typically conserves its venom, meaning you have a good chance of experiencing no real side effects from an otherwise toxic spider.
These poisonous spiders are typically found in the western and southern U.S.
Fortunately, this tiny spider rarely bites, and when it does it injects very little venom.
This Middle Eastern scorpion is thought to be the world's most dangerous.
It is considered one of the top two most painful insect stings in the world.
But that may be the longest three minutes of your life.
They're often found hanging out on banana leaves and are known as one of the deadliest spiders around.
These fearless insects have stings that can cause severe allergic reactions.
The sting is also incredibly painful, making these encounters more than a little scary.
The aggressive stance is enough to inspire arachnophobia in just about anyone.
The insect's blue-black body and rust-colored wings give it an ominous appearance.
If you're stung by any of them, the poison may leave you writhing on the ground in pain.
Recluse bites definitely hurt, but they don't rate at the top of the scale.
These small scorpions are most dangerous to the very young, old and ill.
The poison can cause scary reactions but these spiders rarely cause serious harm.
Better have a car handy; their aggressiveness means they don't give up the chase easily.